Zeron Reflects On Award-Winning Season

Tactical Approach wins the 2023 Hambletonian
Published: February 26, 2024 04:05 pm EST

Scott Zeron became just the third Canadian-born driver over the past two decades to be honoured with the U.S. Driver of the Year title, accepting the award for a standout 2023 season at the Dan Patch Awards banquet on Sunday evening, Feb. 25.

Zeron, 34, joins the elite company of Canadian-born drivers Yannick Gingras (2014, 2017) and John Campbell (2006), both U.S. Hall of Fame inductees, to achieve the feat with 107 ballots in his name.

Based in the U.S. fulltime for the past decade after starting his driving career in his native Ontario, Zeron put together his first $10 million season in 2023 and topped the $100 million mark in lifetime earnings.

While accepting the award, the career winner of more than 4,400 races noted the honour is a culmination of more than just his one year of work on the racetrack.

"It's a pretty crazy experience. I might be the Driver of the Year, but it almost feels like a lifetime achievement award," said Zeron, whose potential was recognized back in 2012 with the U.S. Rising Star Award prior to his move stateside. "You don't realize [it takes] racing in over 30,000 races to get to this point, to learn so many things to win some of these races."

Zeron, known as “The Money Man,” overcame unlucky post 10 draws when the big money was on the line in the $1 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands and $672,000 Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park with the Nancy Takter-trained Tactical Approach, who was named U.S. Trotter of the Year.

Among his 215 highlights in 2023, he also drove Its My Show to victories in the $1 million North America Cup back in Canada and the $850,000 Little Brown Jug, with the latter completing a sweep of the Delaware Fair classics for trainer Linda Toscano after taking the Jugette with Ucandoit Blue Chip the day prior.

Zeron thanked the United States Harness Writers Association voters for the award as well as the many trainers and owners that backed him in 2023 and beyond.

"I'm obviously going to thank two people in this room, which would be Nancy Takter for given me Tactical Approach to really get those major victories and, obviously, Linda Toscano, she's been honestly an absolute pleasure to drive for, we have such a great relationship and will continue going forward.

"But it can't just be just a few people. You know, there's hundreds of trainers and owners that have given me so many opportunities to get these learning experiences to just be in these major events and be fortunate enough to win them."

Zeron also acknowledged his family's support as they joined him on stage for the award presentation.

"I definitely want to thank the people behind me because even when I'm not accepting an award, or the rail doesn't open up in the Hambletonian, they still love me and tell me I'm the best driver."

(Standardbred Canada)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.