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Keystone USHWA Names Award Winners

Published: March 19, 2019 1:34 pm ET

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Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred racehorse of all time with $7,635,588 and now retired from the racetrack, caused a sensation at the recent Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., when the now 15-year-old actually showed up at the fancy dinner to accept the Stan Bergstein Proximity Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) for outstanding contributions to the sport.

And Foiled Again is now receiving another award: the Mary Lib Miller Award, the highest honour given by the Keystone Chapter of USHWA, for his unmatched career as racehorse and ambassador.

It’s not like Foiled Again has never been honoured before by Keystone USHWA – he was the journalists’ Pennsylvania-Sired Horse of the Year from 2011 to 2013, the same three years he was voted the national divisional champion for older pacers. But the group thought to mark the retirement of the evergreen pacer, whose last campaign was a barnstorming Farewell Tour which took him to 19 different racetracks, by voting him its highest award, especially an award named after the ever-present and gracious mate of “Mr. Harness Racing” himself, Hall of Famer Delvin Miller.

McWicked, the 1:46.2 pacer who was 2018’s Harness Horse of the Year and led all competitors with seasonal earnings exceeding $1.6 million, got the nod for Pennsylvania-Sired Horse of the Year as well, four years after earning joint Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horse of the Year honours. The breeders of McWicked, the Prushnok family of Andray Farms in western Pennsylvania, will receive the Pennsylvania Breeder of the Year award for having producing harness racing’s top 2018 performer.

The only two Pennsylvania Sire Stakes performers who led their divisions in preliminary point accumulation and then went on to win their respective finals, three-year-old males Dorsoduro Hanover (pace) and Crystal Fashion (trot), were picked as the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Horses of the Year for their respective gaits. The duo were two of the top four money winners in harness racing last year, and Dorsoduro Hanover also won his Breeders Crown event at Pocono en route to being named divisional champion.

For Pennsylvania Harness Horse of the Year honours (at least 50 per cent of starts within Pennsylvania), Homicide Hunter was the consensus champion. Homicide Hunter, who trotted the fastest mile in harness racing history by virtue of a 1:48.4 performance at The Red Mile, won his Breeders Crown at Pocono in addition four legs of the Great Northeast Open Series before setting a world record over 1-1/4 miles in the series final.

In a close race between former honourees, George Napolitano Jr. edged out Aaron Merriman for Pennsylvania Driver of the Year. Merriman was named 2018 North American Driver of the Year for being the first driver to post over 1,000 victories in two years, but Aaron won only 262 of those races in Pennsylvania. Napolitano, meanwhile, won 637 times within the confines of the Keystone State, taking his fifth straight crown at Harrah’s Philadelphia and his seventh consecutive title at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

The Schadel brothers, Todd and Tony, both earned places in the spotlight during 2018. Todd was the leading trainer and driver at the Pennsylvania fairs by a wide margin to earn election as Pennsylvania Fair Horseman of the Year and also captured a North American title with the highest UDR in the 300-499 starts class. Tony was driver and co-owner of the two-year-old Aflame Hanover, whose Fair Championship clocking of 1:51.4 was the fastest ever in a Pennsylvania Fair Championship, even faster than any three-year-old. For that milestone, Aflame Hanover was voted a Special Achievement Award.

These honourees will be presented their trophies by members of Keystone USHWA during trackside ceremonies at their respective ovals, or when they come to Pennsylvania, within the next couple of months.

(USHWA Keystone Chapter)

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