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More Dan Patch Winners Unveiled

Published: December 22, 2015 1:23 pm ET

Last Comment: December 22, 2015 9:26 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Tuesday, December 22, the United States Harness Writers Association announced more Dan Patch Award winners for their accomplishments during the 2015 racing season.

Montrell Teague is the recipient of the organization’s Rising Star Award. The Breakthrough Award has been given to Gabe Prewitt, while the Good Guy Award has been awarded to Joann Looney-King. The Unsung Hero Award has gone to Joanne Young, while the Breeder of the Year Award has been awarded to Hanover Shoe Farms. Additionally, the Dan Patch for Trotting Broodmare of the Year has been awarded to Margie Seelster, while the Pacing Broodmare of the Year hardware has been awarded to Mozzi Hanover

Some of the honourees have various relationships with the people and horses that were announced as Dan Patch Award winners on Monday: Bergstein Proximity Award winner Jim Simpson, Owner of the Year George Teague Jr., Trainer of the Year Jimmy Takter, and Driver of the Year David Miller.

Simpson has received two additional pieces of good news, as his Hanover Shoe Farms has been voted the Breeder of the Year – its lead the industry tables in money won by its graduates for the 67th straight year, which is ever since records started to be kept. And with Aaron Merriman now in control of the drivers’ ‘dash-winning derby,’ the last major statistical race of the year focuses squarely on Hanover and the record books in relation to the calendar – Hanover ‘offspring’ had earned $29,920,074 this season through Sunday, December 20, which is only $92,135 shy of its own all-time one-year record of $30,016,209, which was set in 2012. Granted, this is not ‘prime time’ for racing opportunities, but Hanover could still rewrite the record – especially seeing as though its ‘produce’ earned $88,595 between this past Thursday and Sunday.

Hanover was also the seller of Pacing Broodmare of the Year Mozzi Hanover as a yearling. The daughter of Jennas Beach Boy – Movie Star Laag was purchased by a partnership that included George Teague Jr., who campaigned her successfully as a racehorse. In the summer of 2012, Teague went back and purchased ‘Mozzi’ with a suckling colt at her side – that baby, of course, turned out to be Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015’s Harness Horse of the Year in the U.S. that was a winner of over $2 million in 2015 with a mark of 1:47.4.

As much as George delights in his ‘equine family’ members ‘Mozzi’ and ‘Wiggle,’ his warmest family feelings are for his son, Montrell, who has won the Rising Star Award, which is for trainer/drivers 35 years of age or less. Montrell, who will turn 25 the day after New Year’s, went into 2015 with fewer than 700 lifetime wins. However, in the ultimate ‘pressure cooker’ of weekly being the driver of the horse to beat in a major stakes event, his handling of Wiggle It Jiggleit, by turns aggressive and temporizing as needed, marked him as a star – right now, let alone ‘Rising’ – no doubt with an occasional word of guidance from his dad. Montrell also showed a level-headedness in handling whatever racing fortunes were thrown at him, and was friendly and cooperative with the media despite its blazing spotlight on him all year.

When Wiggle It Jiggleit won a qualifier at the Teagues’ home base of Harrington Raceway on April 22, the one that finished second in that race was a fellow sophomore named Wakizashi Hanover, who is trained by Joanne Looney-King. ‘Wakizashi’ would go on to win $1.15 million in 2015. He won the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack over his chief foe and gave Wiggle It Jiggleit all he wanted on several other occasions. Through it all, Looney-King, a pioneering female driver who now focuses on training, maintained delight in her horse’s performances, a warm nature which was conveyed to the media throughout the season, and which earned her the Harness Writers’ ‘Good (GAL) Award.’

Jimmy Takter and David Miller have been both selected for harness racing’s highest honour: induction into the sport’s Living Hall of Fame. The hall, which is located in Goshen, NY, near Monticello Raceway and north of New York City, benefits from having a staff of knowledgeable, resourceful people – among whom Joanne Young ranks at the very top of the list. The director of development for the museum, Young’s primary responsibilities (she can do most any job there) include overseeing membership, and the sale of the bricks and pavers that are a unique feature of the entrance to the museum. For basically contacting people to request money from them, doing so with a smile, and never getting turned down for a request, Young is truly an unsung hero in the continued success of the hall/museum, and thus was voted the Unsung Hero Award by USHWA.

Takter and Miller had their fair share of success this season during Grand Circuit action at Lexington’s Red Mile, where this year’s Breakthrough Award winner Gabe Prewitt serves as the announcer during the fall meet and in several managerial capacities during the Grand Circuit meet. At 32, the multi-talented Prewitt has already served as a horsemen’s representative, media representative, and ‘manager of post times’ (an important job in this simulcasting era), and is currently employed as the announcer at Pompano Park in addition to the Red Mile.

Finally, Takter also figured prominently in the election of the Trotting Broodmare of the Year, Margie Seelster, a daughter of Angus Hall – Meadowbranch Gal. Like her pacing counterpart Mozzi Hanover, Margie Seelster struck it big with her first foal – Pinkman, this past season’s Trotter of the Year in the U.S., a winner of $2.4 million lifetime with a mark of 1:51, and the Hambletonian winner, all under the tutelage of trainer Takter. An ownership combine of ‘Team Takter’ has since purchased Margie Seelster.

All of the winners will be presented their awards during the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, which will be held on Sunday, March 6 at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale FL.

(With files from USHWA)

December 22, 2015 - 9:26 pmCongratulations to Joanne

Bob Boyd SAID...

Congratulations to Joanne (Momma) Looney-King.
There's not a more deserving recipient than Joanne.

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