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Brown Voted US Trainer Of The Year

Published: December 27, 2017 12:36 pm ET

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The United States Harness Writers Association has announced that conditioner Brian Brown has been voted as the 2017 Trainer of the Year and ‘Good Guy Award’ recipient south of the border. Additionally, USHWA has voted Bruce Trogdon of Emerald Highlands Farm as Owner of the Year in the US.

Brian Brown, who trains at the fairgrounds in the Little Brown Jug’s hometown of Delaware, Ohio and had been steadily making a bigger mark among North American conditioners over the last couple of years, had another solid season in 2017, as he trained a pair of three-year-old pacing colts that were the leaders of their division much of the year and who were 1-2 in seasonal earnings, along with a star age/gait counterpart filly.

Brown’s achievements have earned him the Trainer of the Year Award in the United States, as voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Brown has also been voted USHWA’s Good Guy Award winner for ‘consistent, intelligent cooperation with the sport’s media.’

The 53-year-old Brown saw his two top sophomore colts earn $2.95M (US) between them. Downbytheseaside ($1,602,452 US), whose late-season heroics included a win in the Breeders Crown and being named divisional champion, and Fear The Dragon ($1,350,146), who had ranked #1 in the weekly pools for much of the summer into the fall after major stakes wins throughout North America.

Joining Downbytheseaside as a Breeders Crown winner and divisional champion was three-year-old pacing filly Blazin Britches, an $800,000+ (US) earner. And the rest of the Brown barn contributed earnings in the vicinity of $2 million, thus giving Brown a lifetime seasonal-high bankroll of over $5.7M (US), despite starting fewer than 550 horses (he had a .402 UTR).

There were many highs during the campaigns of Brown’s three top horses, but there were also the inevitable dips in form and bouts with minor illnesses that virtually all racehorses experience. Whether in the winners circle, puzzling over an off performance, or pondering his charges’ upcoming races, Brown kept up an honest, informational stream of conversation (with consistent praise for the members of ‘Team Brown’) to a media whose readers wanted to know more about these equine stars. If Brown was elated by a horse’s top effort to win a big stakes event, there was no mistaking his enjoyment. Similarly, if a horse’s form was ‘rollercoastering’ a bit, you felt like you were on the up-and-down ride with Brown, awaiting the next turn in the journey. His intelligent candor enabled Brown to be selected for the Good Guy award, along with his Trainer of the Year honours.

Brown’s adept handling of Fear The Dragon and Blazin Britches brought out one solid performance after another from those talented horses, with their biggest cheerleader – owner Bruce Trogdon of Emerald Highlands Farm – usually present to share in the glory. Trogdon was also the breeder of Blazin Britches, and he bought the dam of Fear The Dragon with him in utero (already carrying the embryo), so Trogdon has been there from the literal very beginning of their lives through their two seasons of racing, including the successes of 2017. Thus the former newspaperman celebrated the 25th year of existence of his Emerald Highlands operation in the most successful way imaginable, capped by his winning the Owner of the Year award in the US. Trogdon’s former ‘small operation,’ Emerald Highlands, now has 37 broodmares, and likely a future champion or two maturing as they traverse the farm’s mid-Ohio fields.

Brown, as both Trainer of the Year and the Good Guy Award winner, and owner Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm, will be honoured at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, February 25 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL.

(With files from USHWA)

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