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The Richest Pacer Of All Time?


Published: May 4, 2011 7:45 am ET

Last Comment: May 5, 2011 12:17 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

When seven-year-old pacer Won The West returns to the races this year -- beginning with the upcoming Graduate at the Meadowlands -- he will be doing more than pursuing wins. He will be chasing history.

In a nutshell, Won The West will be seeking to join Hall of Famer Rambling Willie as the only pacers to win three consecutive Dan Patch Awards for best older pacer, as well as surpass Gallo Blue Chip as the richest pacer in North American harness racing history. He trails Gallo Blue Chip’s $4.26 million (USD) by $773,935.

Last year, Won The West earned $1.36 million, which was his first million-dollar season. If he tops $1 million again, he will be the only pacer in history to reach that level twice after the age of five.

Trainer Ron Burke says West’s accomplishments are the results of the money to be made in the business right now, as well as “his ability to go get some every year.”

Won The West has won 33 of 89 career races and earned $3.48 million despite missing his two-year-old campaign. His earnings have increased annually, from $650,374 in 2007 to $683,147 in 2008 to $785,415 in 2009 and to more than a million in 2010.

The only other pacer to win more than $1 million in a season after the age of five was Maltese Artist, who earned $1.05 million in 2007 at the age of six.

Maltese Artist also was a member of the Burke Stable.

“That’s pretty neat,” Burke said. “That was like Maltese’s ultimate year. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the best of West. I think still he gets better every time. When Maltese did that, he was as good as he’d ever be.”

Won The West last year won his second consecutive Breeders Crown trophy (no horse has ever won three in the open pace division) as well as the Canadian Pacing Derby, Molson Pace, Indiana Pacing Derby and a division of the U.S. Pacing Championship. He was second to Shark Gesture in the Graduate. He finished the season with seven wins in 19 starts, 18 on-the-board finishes and grabbed divisional honours both in the United States and Canada winning the Dan Patch Award as well as the O'Brien for Aged Pacing Horse.

2010 Breeders Crown - Older Pacers

In his career, he also has won three American-National Stakes titles, the Bobby Quillen Memorial, and the Dan Patch Invitational.

“He’s always around, no matter what,” Burke said. “His greatest ability is his ability. He’s a wonderfully talented horse that might have the perfect build for a standardbred. He’s very powerful and his conformation is basically flawless. It makes it easier for him to get over the ground and cover the ground. He’s big and wide; everything about him is based on power.”

Won The West will return for 2011 beginning with the Graduate. Eliminations, if necessary, will be May 7 and the $200,000 (est.) final is May 14. He prepped for the campaign with two qualifiers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He won both, the most recent on April 28 in 1:52.3.

“He’s super,” Burke said. “He was excellent in both qualifiers and came out of them good.”

Burke admitted there was a little pressure to see Won The West do well and make history. He also said the support of the horse’s owners -- the Kantzer family’s Strollin Stable, James Koehler’s Country Club Acres, and William Robinson -- made it easier to succeed.

“We have owners that allow you to do what’s best for the horse; race him when he’s ready and know when he’s not ready,” Burke said. “We’ve always done what’s best for West and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ll just hope that gets us to where we want to go.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

May 5, 2011 - 12:17 pmJust checked the Australian

Norman Hall SAID...

Just checked the Australian site. Blacks A Fake has made $4,465,000 which puts him at about $4.2 million US based on the exchange rates when he made his money.

May 4, 2011 - 10:47 amAs anyone who follows

Reg Smith SAID...

As anyone who follows harness racing should know, the champion Australian pacer Blacks A Fake has lifetime earnings of approximately 4,600,000 Australian Dollars which converts to approximately 5,200,000 American Dollars at current exchange rates. Thus he is the richest pacer of all time by a wide margin.

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