Jack Flanigen and Sherri Holliday have been named driver and trainer of the year in Western New York for 2011 by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association
Flanigen, a hometown favourite, laid over his driving competition this year while posting career numbers for wins and purses. His (to date) 302 victories and $1.5 million in earnings were far superior to his nearest competitor and were also the most impressive statistics he has put up during his 28-year career. After a bad racing accident which sidelined him for most of 2008, Flanigen has set the Batavia/Buffalo circuit on fire. In just the last two years he has won over 600 races and just under $3 million in purses. His career numbers are just as impressive, boasting 3,806 wins and $10.3 million in purses.
Holliday, an Ohio conditioning transplant, also posted career-high totals in 2011 with (to date) 163 wins and $775,000 in purses. Although Holliday is sitting fifth in trainer standings for the current Batavia Downs meet, she wowed her peers earlier this year at Buffalo Raceway with 122 wins, 65 ahead of her nearest competitor. She has been the leading trainer at both Batavia and Buffalo meets for the last two years.
Flanigen and Holliday both won these same titles in 2010.
Whereas the driver’s title for the Batavia meet has already been locked up, the top trainer accolade is another story. There are currently four conditioners within three wins of each other with only three nights of racing left. Alex Giuliani leads the pack with 42 wins, Jim Graham is second with 40 and Bobbi Martin and John Mungillo are tied for third with 39 each. This race will go down to the wire Saturday night before a clear winner is determined.
Flanigen and Holliday, as well as all the other award winners, will receive their trophies in the winner’s circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday, December 3 during UNY USHWA’s 'Night of Distinction.'