U.S. Trotting Champs Crowned

Published: December 16, 2014 01:45 pm EST

The fastest trotter of all time and the richest Standardbred of the year were among the six trotters to receive divisional honours in Dan Patch Award voting announced Tuesday (December 16) by the United States Harness Writers Association.

Divisional honours for pacers will be revealed Wednesday (December 17), followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, playmeadowlands.com.

Sebastian K, an eight-year-old that won in 1:49 in June to become the fastest trotter in history, was voted harness racing’s best older male trotter of 2014. Father Patrick, who earned $1.69 million this season to lead all Standardbreds, was named the sport’s best three-year-old male trotter.

Father Patrick is from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, who also conditioned Pinkman, the Dan Patch Award winner for best two-year-old male trotter, and Shake It Cerry, who was one vote shy of being the unanimous selection for best three-year-old female trotter.

Shake It Cerry and Father Patrick also were honoured last year at age two.

Completing the list of this year’s award winners were two-year-old female trotter Mission Brief and older female trotter Classic Martine.

A total of 157 ballots were returned. Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Sebastian K joined Shake It Cerry in exceeding 89 per cent of the vote in their respective divisions. Father Patrick received 60 per cent and Classic Martine garnered 58 per cent.

Yannick Gingras was the primary driver for three of the trotters to receive Dan Patch honours: Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Father Patrick.

Classic Martine won nine of 18 races this year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equalling performance.

Trained by Chris Oakes and driven primarily by Tim Tetrick, Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold.

No harness racing horse earned more money this year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories included the Breeders Crown for three-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic, Beal Memorial, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, American-National Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.

His 1:50.2 win in the Beal Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by any three-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track.

Father Patrick joins Lucky Chucky, Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe, and Donato Hanover as male trotters in the last 10 years to receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages two and three.

Mission Brief trotted the fastest mile ever by any two-year-old, stopping the clock in 1:50.3 in winning her division of the International Stallion Stakes on October 2 at the Red Mile. It was the third time Mission Brief either equalled or lowered the world record. She finished her campaign by winning the Breeders Crown for two-year-old filly trotters in a stakes record 1:51.4.

For the year, Mission Brief won nine of 13 races – she went off stride in all four losses – and earned $591,070 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won eight of her starts by at least three lengths and had a combined margin of victory of 65 and three-quarter lengths – an average of more than seven lengths per triumph.

In addition to the Breeders Crown, her wins included the Merrie Annabelle Stakes and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship.

Pinkman, who was entered in November’s Standardbred Horse Sale’s Mixed Sale before Takter reconsidered, won six of eight races and earned $566,960 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Named after a character from the television series, ‘Breaking Bad,’ the gelding’s victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equalling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes.

Takter-trained horses have been named best two-year-old male trotter three times in five years, with Pinkman following Father Patrick in 2013 and Pastor Stephen in 2010.

Sebastian K arrived in the U.S. this season after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born horse trotted a world-record-equalling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands Racetrack and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his 1:49 triumph at Pocono Downs.

Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Sebastian K was driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt and finished the year with eight wins in 13 races and $663,853 in purses. His victories included the Cashman Memorial, Crawford Farms Open Trot, and Cutler Memorial.

Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig’s Racing Partners ownership group and driver Ron Pierce.

The Takter-trained filly finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes and track-record 1:52.4 over a ‘good’ surface at Dover Downs; the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2, and equalled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage.

Both of Shake It Cerry’s parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age three in 2007 and Solveig was voted best two-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honour of his mother.

Shake It Cerry joins Passionate Glide and Pampered Princess, both also trained by Takter, and Check Me Out as female trotters to receive Dan Patch Awards at ages two and three.

Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement.


PINKMAN (144 of 157 votes)
Explosive Matter – Margie Seelster – Angus Hall
Yearling Price: $77,000, under the name ‘Traffic Jam’ at the Lexington Selected Sale
Breeder: O Narutac Equine Nursery
Owners: Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, Herb Liverman
Trainer: Jimmy Takter
Driver: Yannick Gingras, Sylvain Filion
Races: 8-6-1-0
Purses: $566,960
Mark: 1:53.2 at the Meadowlands Racetrack
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown, $463,690 Valley Victory


MISSION BRIEF (150 votes)
Muscle Hill – Southwind Serena – Varenne
Yearling Price: $150,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale
Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc.
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 13-9-0-0
Purses: $591,070
Mark: 1:50.3 at the Red Mile (world record)
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle.


Cantab Hall – Gala Dream – Enjoy Lavec
Yearling Price: $105,000, under the name ‘Royal Press’ at the Lexington Selected Sale
Breeder: Brittany Farms
Owner: Father Patrick Stable
Trainer: Jimmy Takter
Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 17-12-3-0
Purses: $1.69 million
Mark: 1:50.2 at Pocono Downs (world record)
Top wins: $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $500,000 Breeders Crown, $500,000 Beal Memorial.


SHAKE IT CERRY (156 votes)
Donato Hanover – Solveig – Yankee Glide
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeder: Solveig’s Breeders
Owner: Solveig’s Racing Partners
Trainer: Jimmy Takter
Driver: Ron Pierce
Races: 17-15-0-1
Purses: $1.23 million
Mark: 1:51.2 at the Red Mile
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown, $368,100 Elegantimage, $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity


SEBASTIAN K (141 votes)
Korean – Gabriella K – Probe
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeder: Knutsson Trotting AB
Owner: Knutsson Trotting Inc.
Trainer: Ake Svanstedt
Driver: Ake Svanstedt
Races: 13-8-2-0
Purses: $663,853
Mark: 1:49 at Pocono Downs (world record)
Top wins: $300,650 Cashman Memorial, $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot, $175,000 Cutler Memorial.


Classic Photo – Drinking Days – Andover Hall
Yearling Price: None (sold privately at age three)
Breeders: Todd Schadel, Christine Schadel
Owners: Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold
Trainer: Chris Oakes
Driver: Tim Tetrick
Races: 18-9-5-2
Purses: $438,912
Mark: 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands Racetrack
Top wins: $244,720 Armbro Flight, $121,500 Miss Versatility.

(USHWA; photo courtesy USTA)

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