United States Harness Writers Association
Dan Patch Awards at Rosen Shingle Creek-reservations now available
Book your rooms now for the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s 2019 Dan Patch Awards banquet.
Please click here for USHWA’s exclusive reservation link!
USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards banquet returns to Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday (Feb. 24) and room reservations are now available. The USHWA link to the hotel’s reservation page can be found below.
The 2018 Dan Patch Awards banquet was held for the first time at Rosen Shingle Creek and because of the tremendous positive response to the site and overall experience, USHWA decided to return for an unprecedented second year in a row.
“Last year’s event was so well received by many of the attendees and USHWA members that it was an easy decision to return for another year,” said USHWA President Shawn Wiles. “Rosen Shingle Creek is a first-class venue that offers many amenities for its guests, we look forward to another excellent event.”
Located just off Universal Boulevard, within 10 minutes of the Orlando International Airport and minutes from the many area attractions, the 1,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek is a five-star property that is ranked a top-20 U.S. meeting hotel by Cvent.
The stunning 230-acre property includes four swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball, basketball, a spa that includes nine treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer redesigned golf course. There are also 15 restaurants/lounges, including the upscale steakhouse A Land Remembered, the fine-dining bistro Cala Bella, Café Osceola, Tobias Burgers and Brews, Banrai Sushi, Mi Casa Tequila and Taquiera, and a 24-hour deli.
Dinner ticket prices and menu will be announced later, with a reduced price available for children 12 and under. All attendees will receive a 10 percent discount at all of the above-mentioned restaurants, a 10 percent discount at the Spa at Shingle Creek, and a green fees discount at the Shingle Creek Golf Club.
Rosen Shingle Creek offers complimentary shuttles to area theme parks and Orlando Premium Outlets.
The Dan Patch Awards banquet annually honors the best and brightest performers, both human and equine, of the previous season. The award winners are selected by USHWA, with all winners announced in advance except for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year, which will be revealed at the conclusion of the banquet. USHWA will hold its annual directors meeting on Saturday (Feb. 23) and its general membership meeting the morning of the banquet.
All standard rooms under the USHWA block are $199 nightly (plus applicable taxes). For room reservations, please click here for USHWA’s dedicated link. More details will be made available here and through trade media as they become available.
To inquire about several sponsorship opportunities for the weekend, including live video streaming, the Red Carpet reception and live feed hosted by Heather Vitale and Heather Wilder, please contact USHWA President Wiles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations open for Caretaker of the Year
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Caretaker of the Year. The award, in its fourth year of sponsorship by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association, recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport — the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis.
Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA’s Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe Farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by HRRNP and USHWA.
The HRRNP Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500, a trophy, and transportation costs to the USHWA Dan Patch Awards banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening (Feb. 24), where he or she will be recognized. The winner will also enjoy a two-night stay at Rosen Shingle Creek, host hotel for the USHWA activities, as well as two complimentary dinner tickets.
“Caretakers are the day-to-day unsung heroes of the industry, long before and after the spotlight of the grandstand lights,” said USHWA president Shawn Wiles. “This cadre toil in anonymity, not looking for a pat on the back, but always looking out for the best interests of their charges’ health and welfare. We are fortunate to have many outstanding caretakers in our industry to look after our equine athletes.”
Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker.
The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles.
All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday (Jan. 7) and sent to chairman Bojarski at email@example.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, NY 14001.
Dan Patch dinner seeking silent auction items
Solicitation of donations for the Silent Auction to be held in conjunction with the Dan Patch Dinner on February 24, 2019 is now underway. Do you have, or know someone, who might have artwork, unused vacation packages, unique harness racing memorabilia or other items?
“The auction adds a touch of charity to the awards dinner,” explained USHWA President Shawn Wiles. “Proceeds support not only our Clyde Hirt activities for sports journalism students, but also the great efforts of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. It is important that USHWA members put forth effort to ensure the auction has high-quality items in order for us to provide assistance.”
Anyone who has something to donate or a contact for someone who might should contact Ellen Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Shawn Wiles (email@example.com).
USHWA to live stream divisional horse honor announcements
The United States Harness Writers Association will present a live stream announcement of the 2018 Dan Patch Award divisional horse winners for both genders and gaits in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association over a two-day period in mid-December.
On Wednesday (Dec. 19) the trotters will be revealed and on Thursday (Dec. 20) the pacers will be named. Both days the live stream broadcasts will begin at noon and will be carried on both the USHWA and USTA Facebook pages.
USTA Social Media and Public Relations coordinator Michael Carter will be the host of these programs.
Balloting for the equine divisional honors begins early this week.
The announcement of the Trotter, Pacer and Horse of the Year will once again be made at the conclusion of the 2019 Dan Patch Awards Banquet which will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday (Feb. 24). There will be no advance announcement of these three winners.
You may book your room now for this event by visiting www.ushwa.org and clicking on the USHWA-only reservation portal on the top of the homepage. A limited number of specially priced rooms are currently available, but are selling fast. It is recommended you book early as last year’s block of rooms sold out fast.
Ticket information for the 2019 Dan Patch Awards Banquet will be forthcoming.
COMMUNICATORS HALL OF FAMER MARV BACHRAD, 82, dies
Marvin Bachrad, a member of harness racing’s Communicators Hall of Fame, a former president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) with 35 years as a director of the association, and such an influence on generations of harness journalists that he won the Harness Horse Youth Foundation Service To Youth Award, passed away on Friday evening in Phoenix AZ at the age of 82.
Born to the late Max and Freda (Lipow) Bachrad on December 28, 1935, Bachrad was already doing sports journalism while at Norristown (PA) High School, into whose Hall of Fame he was inducted in 2015 – he gained fame by entering sports trivia contests and acquiring a massive collection of sporting equipment. After graduation, he served his country as director of the Armed Forces Radio Services camp station in Fort Jackson SC. He also worked in commercial radio, starting in Beckley WV then gravitating back to his native Philadelphia area, initially his hometown of Norristown, where he conducted the first sports call-in show.
Two contacts proved important in Philadelphia: Tommy Roberts, owner of a radio station in Camden NJ (near Garden State Park) and a thoroughbred broadcaster who was an influence on Bachrad’s being “double-gaited” in his horse racing knowledge (he had no family connections to racing); and the sports staff of Philadelphia’s KYW Newsradio, where he quickly made his talents evident and covered the city’s major sporting events for over 40 years, with a 1982 induction into the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Bachrad worked as an announcer at Liberty Bell Park and as assistant publicist to the legendary “Colonel” Dave Herman at Brandywine, and upon Herman’s retirement after the 1979 season became the track’s director of publicity. Working with the Electronic Race Patrol of Sid Alpert and his son Mark, with whom he worked while doing thoroughbred publicity at Garden State Park, Bachrad was a pioneer of pre-race handicapping on tracks’ closed-circuit TV system, and an innovator in doing attractive and detailed video profiles of horses and horsemen competing at Brandywine.
Marvin later worked at TIMES: in harness, the Harrisburg PA publication that was the first major entry into the electronic reporting of harness racing news. He then was summoned back to the outskirts of his Delaware Valley roots when the state of Delaware passed slot machine gaming. He became publicity director at Dover Downs, a track that so profited from the new gaming that its late 1995 Invitational purse in three successive weeks was $2000-$5000-$9000, and which rose from 55th of 57 harness tracks in terms of purses to second a couple of years later. Bachrad served as publicity director for over two decades at the capital city track, using the combination of innovation, hard work, and attention to the needs of the fans that had hallmarked his career.
Bachrad also gave back to the sport on a national level. He was president of USHWA in 1992-1993, and at the time of his passing, his 35 years of being a director for the organization was tops among living directors of USHWA. He was a president of the Harness Publicists Association, winning that group’s Golden Pen Award.
With such ability and success of course came many awards, with the crown his 1997 election to the Communicators Hall of Fame. His 1988 Service To Youth Award meant very much to him, being a mentor to many of harness racing’s “next generations” of media – three of which have followed him into the Communicators Hall of Fame. He was the winner of Harness Tracks of America’s Dan Patch Award for excellence in communications in 2005, and received a 2010 Special Appreciation Award from the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, in addition to the other tributes mentioned above.
Marv was also a harness horse owner for over 40 years, from the early days of Liberty Bell, where a newcomer named Herve Filion was the trainer/driver of his horses, right up to July of this year, when his sophomore trotting filly Star Sapphire won a $100,000 Delaware Standardbred Race Fund Championship at the State Fair in Harrington. He possessed a detailed knowledge of pedigrees.
Bachrad leaves behind two brothers, Allen (Marci) of Phoenix AZ and Ronald (Eileen) of Boca Raton FL; a bachelor, he also leaves behind four nieces/nephews and six grandnieces/grandnephews. His “extended” family, a lifetime of colleagues and friends, will also greatly miss his sagacity and kindness.
There will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Road, Jenkintown PA 19046.
Donations in his honor may be made at your discretion or to the Mitzvah Circle, 1561 Gehman Road, Harleysville PA 19438.
USHWA President Shawn’s Fall Newsletter
Welcome to the 2019 Hall of Famers
This year’s incoming Hall of Fame class is not lacking in quantity or quality as we welcome six new members: Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Linda Toscano, Ted Wing and Jerry Silverman.
Blair Burgess now becomes a Hall of Fame member in both the United States and Canada. In his career he has campaigned such horses as Triple Crown winner Glidemaster, Hambletonian winner Amigo Hall, Horse of the Year Real Desire and Little Brown Jug winner Tell All.
Ted Gewertz has been a longtime patron and owner of the sport. He has co owned three Hambletonian winners: Triple Crown winner Windsong’s Legacy along with Giant Victory and Deweycheatumnhowe. Recipient of the 2004 USHWA Owner of the Year, Gewertz also serves as a Director of the Hambletonian Society and trustee of the Harness Racing Museum.
Joe Holloway, a Delaware native, made a name for himself on the Grand Circuit as a top conditioner of colts and fillies, such as three-time Breeders Crown winner Jenna's Beach Boy, She's A Great Lady, Shebestingin, Somwherovrarainbow, Rainbow Room, Divine Caroline, and Badlands Hanover. Joe also trained Always B Miki in his two- and three-year-old form.
Linda Toscano learned her trade on the Roosevelt /Yonkers circuit under the apprenticeship of famed conditioner Buddy Regan. Toscano was the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian, with Market Share; in that year of 2012 she was voted trainer of the year by USHWA. A frequent face on the Grand Circuit and New York Sire Stakes trail, she has trained such notables as Walner, Market Share, Chapter Seven and Heston Blue Chip.
Ted Wing is a member of the New England Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Wing honed his driving skills in New England, winning numerous driving titles along the way. He then settled in on Roosevelt/Yonkers circuit and was a foundation driver at the Meadowlands, enjoying much success at each venue. Wing was associated with such stars as pacers Gallo Blue Chip, Skip By Night, Butler GB and the top trotter Calvert.
Jerry Silverman was a top trainer on the Grand Circuit for over five decades. Silverman conditioned such standouts as Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover, Die Laughing, Hilarion, Rodine Hanover, Masquerade, Hit Parade, Rule The Wind and Glowing Report.
… and to the Communicators Hall of Famers
Mark Hall and Dave Little will be entering the Communicators Hall of Fame. Mark Hall, a 35-year employee of the USTA and six-time winner of the George Smallsreed Award, is known throughout the industry on both sides of the Atlantic for his spectacular work behind the lens. Dave Little was the longtime Racing Editor of the New York Daily News and is now a TV host and handicapper for the Meadowlands. They will both be inducted, along with the six Hall of Famers, on Sunday, July 7, 2019 at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, NY.
Committees and Committee Chairs
With Feb. 24, 2019 getting closer every day, various Committees and Committee Chairs will become more active. For all of the Committee members that want to get involved in USHWA, now is the time! -- become active in your Committees! Reach out to your Committee Chair if you have any questions. The list of Committee chairs and members is on the USHWA website, under the By-Laws section
You should all be in receipt of the USHWA Membership Directory. Kudos to Kim Rinker for handling this project! Any questions, Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter Presidents should be scheduling a meeting in the very near future to discuss the various year-end Equine & Human awards nominations, and their Chapter Director (see below).
The Chapter nominations for human awards will be due on Wednesday, November 28. The categories for which chapters should be submitting human nominations are:
Proximity (250-500 word bio; all others 100-300 words)
* - The criteria for the Rising Star Award were changed in Orlando in two ways: 1) it is now for those aged 30 or younger (some versions of bylaws do not have this correct; we are correcting official records), and 2) this is the only one of these awards for which Chapters can have two nominees.
CHAPTERS PLEASE NOTE:
The Officers of USHWA have found that the bylaw passed at the 2018 meeting (now By-Law IV, section 5), which reduces the number of Chapter Directors on the National Board from two to one and requires the Chapter’s action naming that Chapter national director to the officers 30 days before the national meeting, is causing some logistical issues. The proposers of this bylaw passed at the last meeting are amenable to having the “30 days” altered to “90 days,” and such language will be ratified at the 2019 directors meeting. The Officers are putting the 90-day declaration into operative effect.
This means that EVERY CHAPTER has to declare their ONE CHAPTER DIRECTOR to the secretary 90 days before the 2019 national meetings; this date works out to MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2018.
The Officers strongly suggest that this selection of a Chapter Director be a part of the Chapter meetings that most every chapter is going to have in the next month, traditionally a forum where the national award winners, especially human, are discussed. Your co-operation is appreciated.
Budget Committee Chairman Tom Hicks continues to provide current and accurate statements of USHWA’s Budget and Finances. The bottom line is that the bar is raised higher every year for the amount of Fundraising and Sponsorships revenue we need to obtain – and the line is thin between black and red. To continue to showcase our marquee event, The Dan Patch Awards Banquet, it is imperative to the financial wellbeing of the organization that we continue to raise escalated amount of Sponsorship donations. If we are unable to raise the required funding, certain aspects of the dinner may need to be cut back. With six 2019 Hall of Fame inductees and two Communicators Hall of Fame inductees, we should be able to garner additional Journal and ticket sales.
We ALL must sell Ads & Tickets for the dinner!
I cannot stress this point enough.
Silent Auction - Raffle Items
Chairperson Ellen Taylor has already started planning for the 2019 Silent Auction and will be scheduling a conference call to all committee members after the Breeders Crown. This is a very important fundraiser for USWHA and HHYF, an area that considerably helps the bottom line for both organizations. We need items!
Every member is strongly urged to secure a suitable donation item!
The Breeders Crown - Divisional Honors
With the conclusion of the $6 Million Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the USHWA tempo will quicken as the process for voting year-end Honors, both equine and human and other awards will begin.
Former national USHWA President Ed Palladino dies
Edward A. Palladino Jr., 84, died Oct. 25, 2018, at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Born Nov. 19, 1933, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he was the son of the late Edward A. and Nancy (Guido) Palladino Sr. A graduate of the Mt. Carmel Elementary School and Pougkeepsie High School Class of 1951, he played baseball and basketball and began his career as a sports writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal following graduation from Poughkeepsie High.
His sports writing career was interrupted in 1952 when he served in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Sergeant during the Korean War. He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Republic of Korea Service Medal. After his service to our country he returned to the Poughkeepsie Journal for two years until 1957 when he moved to Kingston.
In 1957 he began working at the Daily Freeman as a sports writer. From 1957 to 1974, he held several different positions at the Freeman such as the assistant city editor, city editor and managing editor. For the following ten years, from 1975 to 1985, he took his sports writing talents to the Capital District to work for the Albany Times Union, where he was awarded “Outstanding Harness Writer in the Northeast” only to return to the Daily Freeman from 1985 through 1996. During this time he championed the renovation at Dietz Stadium to convert it to an all-purpose field and won “Most Popular Area Columnist.” In 1997 he took the position as the first press box manager for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, retiring in 2000.
He was the first chairman of the Dietz Stadium Commission and a charter member, president and vice president of the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. He was a life member of both the Joyce Shirick VFW Post #1386 and the American Legion Post #150 in Kingston, a commissioner of the Kingston Housing Authority, and past president of Brigham Seniors. A former national director, president, first & second vice president of the United States Harness Writers Association, commander of the Dutchess County Catholic War Veterans, vice president of the Saratoga Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, vice chair of the City of Kingston Democratic Committee. He is also a former member of the Democratic Committee and Italian Center in Poughkeepsie, Ulster County Office for the Aging Advisory Council, Hudson Valley Football, Baseball, Basketball Officials Organizations. He was an inductee to both the Dutchess County Softball and the Harness Racing Hall of Fames.
Surviving are daughters, Tracie (Wayne) Short and Nancy (Mark) Griffin; grandsons, Zachary Short, Avery Short and Brady Short; nephew, Scott; cousins, Frank Guido and Carmen Guido; and a brother-in-law, Joe Rosso. He was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia Rosso.
Cremation and memorial arrangements are under the guidance of the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc. 27 Smith Avenue, Kingston. Friends will be received at the funeral home on Sunday (Oct. 28) from 1-6 p.m. The American Legion Post #150 will hold a ritual at 5:30 p.m. and prayers will be held at 6 p.m. Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers may be made in the form of contributions to Ulster County Veterans Emergency Fund, 5 Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401.
USHWA Names First Three Members in new "Youth" Category
The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) is the world’s oldest organization for harness racing communicators, but it’s always open to new ideas and new members.
At their 2018 annual meetings in Orlando, FL, USHWA directors approved the introduction of a Youth Membership category. This non-voting category was designed for aspiring harness racing media members, 21 years of age and younger.
USHWA Youth Membership Committee Chair Melissa Keith is pleased to welcome the first three youth members. The organization’s three newest members were nominated by their local USHWA chapters.
Nathan Bain was nominated by the Canada chapter. One of the youngest racecallers in North America, he handles social media at Ontario’s Leamington Raceway. Bain joined Dresden Raceway as an on-track host, handicapper, and social media co-ordinator this year.
Jessica Hallett was nominated by the Florida chapter. She is a writer who has contributed to the Harnesslink site for nearly a year; chapter president Steve Wolf notes that one of her articles even went national. Hallett is also a member of the U.S. Trotting Association’s Youth Committee.
Ryder Skinner was nominated by the Delaware Valley chapter. He was the first applicant for youth membership in USHWA. Chapter president Matt Sparacino says, “He is always eager to engage racing participants and is no doubt a true fan of the game, who is very likely a future member of the harness racing workforce in some capacity.”
USHWA will offer one year of complimentary youth membership dues to Bain, Hallett, and Skinner, thanks to the generosity of Tim Konkle (2017 Dan Patch USHWAn of the Year; editor of Midwest Harness Report).
USHWA Youth Membership is an ongoing pilot project for the media organization. Future plans involve learning more about the goals of the inaugural trio of youth members; developing ways for chapters to support their youth members’ aspirations in the sport; and making the Youth Membership category a helpful resource for tomorrow’s racing media.
For further information, visit www.ushwa.net, or contact committee chair Melissa Keith (email@example.com or via @USHWACanada on Twitter).
Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg inducted to HOF
Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg took different roads to success as harness racing breeders and owners, but those paths merged Sunday when they were inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies on the grounds of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.
Siegel, a retired pharmacist who operated a chain of drug stores before turning his full attention to harness racing, owns Pennsylvania’s Fashion Farms. Siegel and his late wife Arlene owned 1995 Hambletonian Stakes winner Tagliabue. Other successes have included eight divisional champion horses and five victories in the Breeders Crown.
|Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg were inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame at the Harness Racing Museum on Sunday evening.|
Wallenius-Kleberg, the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as the First Lady of International Trotting. She owns Menhammar Stuteri, the renowned breeding farm that has led Sweden in purses each of the past 11 years. The farm was purchased by her father, shipping magnate Olof Wallenius, in 1947 and has produced an impressive list of notable trotters.
She was introduced by USTA President Russell Williams, who spoke first in Swedish and then in English.
"Being here tonight is the result of a fantastic combination of American and Swedish friends and partnerships through the years," Wallenius-Kleberg said. "I do hope I can fulfill what is expected of me as a Hall of Famer. And as the first woman with this title, I hope I can be inspiration to all girls and young women out there."
Also honored Sunday were the late horseman Hakan Wallner, who was inducted into the Hall of Immortals; writer Dave Briggs and announcer Carl Becker, who were inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame; horses Cantab Hall, Western Ideal, Gala Dream, and Sweet Future; and amateur driving champion Hannah Miller.
Siegel was steered into harness racing by his wife Arlene, a retired nurse whom Jules has called “the real inspiration” for a retirement spent with horses. The couple worked together at Fashion Farms, with Arlene among those who guided Jules through the early years of the farm’s operation, even getting him to assist with mares when foals were born.
“This honor is by far one of the most unbelievable experiences of my 90 years," Siegel said. “First, mostly John Campbell was my go-to guy in the beginning. I was amazed at his consistent ability to make good horses into great winners. Jim Campbell, my trainer, taught me how the horse business works. How in the world can I ever reward him for all he’s done for me?
“The one person who is responsible for my standing here is my wife Arlene who made all this possible. She told me ‘dear, I will not let you retire to nothing.’”
The Siegels received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 2002 and 2009 and Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s. Other honors included being named the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
Tagliabue was the first of the Siegels’ Dan Patch Award-winning horses, followed by two-time recipient Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, Possess The Will, and two-time honoree Broadway Donna.
Broadway Schooner, a daughter of Broadway Hall bred by the Siegels, won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and is the dam of Broadway Donna.
Wallenius-Kleberg was one of the first people to recognize the importance of international bonds among trotting breeders and regulators. She created a North American-European comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by stallions Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee.
Zoot Suit was Sweden’s top sire for six consecutive years, 1991-96, and was preceded at the top of the list by Smokin Yankee in 1990. Menhammar Stuteri also was home to two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell.
One of Menhammar’s earliest stars was Big Noon, who was Scandinavia’s version of American’s early 20th century star Dan Patch. Among the horses bred by the farm are 2014 Prix d’Amerique winner Maharajah, 2013 Elitloppet winner From Above, and 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy.
|USTA/Mark Hall photos|
|Becker and Briggs entered the Communicators Hall of Fame on Sunday.|
Beginning this year, Menhammar Stuteri stands recently retired Nuncio, who was a star in North America and Europe. Nuncio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot, and Elitloppet.
After Wallenius-Kleberg’s purchase of Zoot Suit from Woolworth, the two trotting devotees developed a bond that opened doors in North America for her burgeoning interests in trotting. Wallenius-Kleberg began keeping and breeding mares in the U.S. and having fillies trained and raced in North America before they entered the Menhammar broodmare band.
By the 1980s, Wallenius-Kleberg was a familiar figure at the Hambletonian, the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile, and the Hall of Fame weekend in Goshen. She also traveled to Florida regularly to see her young horses in training.
Concurrently she was developing contacts and friendships throughout Europe so that she could broaden the Menhammar influence on the continent. She was a regular at the Prix d’Amerique in Paris and cultivated contacts among French horsemen and breeders.
Recognizing the importance of sustaining the trotting sport, Margareta has assisted and encouraged many young people in racing. She always insisted on the highest standards in the horses she acquired and used her business skills to operate successfully.
Already a member of Sweden’s Trotting Hall of Fame, Wallenius-Kleberg has held numerous positions in organizations related to the sport in her native country and abroad and worked to promote harness racing on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a Hambletonian Society director and received the Harness Racing Museum’s Pinnacle Award in 2011.
Wallner, too, was a globe-trotting pioneer who raised the bar of Swedish racing and breeding to an international level. Wallner, who won the Elitloppet and Prix d’Amerique in Europe, was convinced he could succeed in the U.S. as a trainer of trotters and in a short amount of time he was competing at the highest level and affecting every facet of harness racing from the yearling sales to the Grand Circuit.
With Jan Johnson and Berndt Lindstedt he founded Continental Farm, which counted among its many accomplishments winning the first-ever Breeders Crown race with Workaholic in 1984. The stable was a force in the series, winning four trophies and $2.85 million in the first eight years of the Breeders Crown. Its $3.94 million in purses overall in the event remain No. 6 among all trainers in history.
Continental Farm also won the Hambletonian in 1988 with Armbro Goal and multiple editions of the Hambletonian Oaks.
Wallner led the way for other Scandinavian and European horsemen to move to the U.S. and compete at the sport’s highest level. The list includes Soren and Jan Nordin, Jimmy Takter, Per Eriksson, Per Henrikson, Stefan Melander, Mario Zuanetti and Pekka Korpi. Collectively that group has nine Hambletonian winners.
Wallner died Jan. 20, 2001, in Treviso, Italy. He was inducted to the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame in 2015.
USHWA CONTRIBUTES $5000 TO HOF/HRM
At its annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Sunday, July 1, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame was a recipient of a check for $5000 from the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport’s leading media organization.
Two years ago, the Directors of USHWA made a change in the organization’s rules and regulations of operation, mandating a $5000 contribution to the Hall and Museum. USHWA has been entrusted with conducting the annual elections for the sport’s highest honor, acceptance into the Hall of Fame, with its membership joining with present Hall of Famers in voting to honor the best of the best. The organization is proud of the work of the Hall and the Museum, and is glad to contribute to ongoing operations.
Shawn Wiles, president of USHWA, is also Manager of Racing Operations at nearby Monticello Raceway; in fact, his USHWA chapter is named the Monticello-Goshen Chapter, and he is very aware of the importance of and the ongoing good work done by his “backyard neighbor.” Noted Wiles, “The preservation and promotion of the achievements of the sport’s greatest participants who have been honored by election to the Hall would be enough for many organizations. But the Hall/Museum also serves as the sport’s main repository of history for today’s racing fans, and often is on the road with exhibits, furthering exposure for the sport; it also has a component that tries to encourage the fans of tomorrow, to introduce them to harness racing at a young age.”
The Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame is open 361 days a year in Goshen NY; their website’s address is www.harnessmuseum.com.
USHWA donates $2,500 to horsemen affected by Mount Hope fire
The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport’s leading group of Standardbred journalists, has announced that it will be donating $2500 to the unfortunate horsemen who lost more than two dozen horses and their associated equipment – basically, their means of livelihood -- in a barn fire at the Mount Hope Training Center in Otisville, Orange County NY during the morning of June 2.
“Even the mere mention of the word FIRE sends shivers down the spine of every horseman, every track executive, every shedrow in the world,” notes Shawn Wiles, president of USHWA, executive director of racing at New York’s Monticello Raceway, and a former caretaker. “Any loss of equine life is horrific.
“It is during catastrophes such as this that the industry comes together and rallies behind those who have lost everything. The U.S. Harness Writers Association makes this donation in an effort to help horsemen get back on their feet and get their lives together again.”
A GoFundMe page, for others who want to help these devastated horsemen, has been set up jointly by North American Harness Update Picks and Post Time with Mike & Mike, and it has now raised over $10,000. The website for making donations is www.gofundme.com/MtHopeFire.
Florida USHWA Chapter debuts new website
The Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has debuted their new website at www.ushwa-florida.com.
The Florida Chapter has also developed a Facebook page at facebook.com/floridachapterushwa/.
“The Florida Chapter has dedicated this year to working harder than ever to help promote the sport of harness racing in Florida and across the nation,” said Florida USHWA Chapter president Steve Wolf. “The debut of our website and our new Facebook page is just the start of our 2018 program.
“The harness racing industry, especially in Florida, needs to have more exposure to the general masses. We will be doing more stories on owners, trainers, drivers, caretakers and the many training/breeding farms throughout the state, working on special events in the local communities, and hopefully help educating new fans to this great sport through our chapter.
“Our Chapter’s treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks, created and developed the website and did a super job.”
The Florida Chapter of USHWA was formed in 1964 following the opening of the Pompano Park racetrack. Over the many years the Chapter has worked with racetrack management and the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association in helping promote the sport both locally and nationally.
The Chapter annually hosts the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame banquet, has given out tens of thousands of dollars through the Allen J. Finkelson Scholarship for Florida residents studying journalism or equine related majors, and provides special funding for Florida horsemen and women in need due to poor health, accidents and/or dire financial situations through the Aime Choquette Sunshine Fund.
Hannelore Hanover is harness racing's Horse of the Year
The connections of Hannelore Hanover need to make room for several more trophies.
Hannelore Hanover, who last year at age 5 produced the fastest mile in history by a female trotter and defeated male rivals in both the Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot, received three Dan Patch Awards on Sunday (Feb. 25) including the night’s grand prize, Horse of the Year.
In addition to being named Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, Hannelore Hanover got trophies for Trotter of the Year and best older female trotter during the Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek resort.
|Hannelore Hanover's connections celebrate her Horse of the Year trophy.|
Hannelore Hanover was named Horse of the Year on 95 ballots, outdistancing 3-year-old filly trotter Ariana G, with 15 votes, and 2-year-old filly trotter Manchego, with 12.
Downbytheseaside, a 3-year-old colt who was named Pacer of the Year, had eight votes for Horse of the Year.
In balloting for Trotter of the Year, Hannelore Hanover had 100 votes, while Ariana G had 16 and Manchego 15.
Earlier this month, Hannelore Hanover received the O’Brien Award for Canada’s Horse of the Year in addition to getting her second consecutive award as best trotting mare.
Hannelore Hanover is the first trotting mare to be named the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year since Moni Maker in 1999. She is the first Horse of the Year Award winner for trainer Ron Burke and the Burke Brigade.
“Since 1954, I’ve been walking around picking up papers, trying to find something,” an emotional Mickey Burke Sr., the patriarch of the Burke Stable, told the crowd at the awards banquet. “I found it. The winner for the fastest trotting mare that ever lived. I’m so proud of her.
“She’s just a dream horse.”
Hannelore Hanover, a daughter of Swan For All out of the mare High Sobriety, won 10 of 17 races last season and earned $1.04 million. She became the fastest female trotter in history when she won the Allerage Farms Open Trot in 1:49.2 at Lexington’s Red Mile and was the first mare to beat the boys in the Breeders Crown Open Trot since Moni Maker in 1998.
Other wins included the Maple Leaf Trot and Armbro Flight Stakes. She is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. Yannick Gingras was her regular driver.
“She’s just an amazing mare,” Mickey Burke Jr. said. “You don’t get many of these.”
Downbytheseaside was named Pacer of the Year with 93 votes. Youaremycandygirl, a filly who was a 2-year-old last year, finished second with 23 votes while 3-year-old colt Fear The Dragonwas third with seven. A total of eight pacers received at least one vote.
|USTA/Mark Hall photos|
|Downbytheseaside was named Pacer of the Year with 93 votes.|
Retired to stallion duty at the end of last season, Downbytheseaside finished his 3-year-old campaign with a four-race win streak on his way to leading the sport with $1.60 million in purses. The colt’s victories included the Messenger Stakes, Progress Pace, Carl Milstein Memorial, and Art Rooney Pace.
He was trained by Brian Brown and owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing. Chris Page, Brian Sears, and David Miller all guided the horse to stakes wins.
“We loved this horse as a 2-year-old,” Brown said. “When he got to race and we really started to find out what he was, for him to come back this year and prove it again, and overcome all the adversity he went through was special.
“And for all the owners, it was so much fun when this horse did well. His last race, he won, but you’re kind of disappointed it’s all over. After his last race we sat and reminisced about the whole year. It’s so good that all those owners got to experience this.”
Other honorees Sunday included Brown, for Trainer of the Year and Good Guy Award winner; Gingras for Driver of the Year; Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm for Owner of the Year; and Hanover Shoe Farms for Breeder of the Year.
Horses recognized in addition to Hannelore Hanover and Downbytheseaside were divisional champions Manchego, 2-year-old female trotter; Fourth Dimension, 2-year-old male trotter; Ariana G, 3-year-old female trotter; What The Hill, 3-year-old male trotter; Marion Marauder, older male trotter; Youaremycandygirl, 2-year-old female pacer; Lost In Time, 2-year-old male pacer; Blazin Britches, 3-year-old female pacer; Pure Country, older female pacer; and Keystone Velocity, older male pacer.
For additional information about the divisional champions, click here.
Watch the 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet
The 2018 Dan Patch Awards Banquet was streamed live the night of the event. Now you can relive the whole event and watch it here courtesy of the United States Trotting Association.
Ohio USHWA chapter names 2017 award winners
The Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association will hand out its annual awards at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association banquet on Saturday (Jan. 13) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Columbus (Worthington).
The Ohio Chapter has voted Brian Brown as the recipient of the Winner’s Circle Award for the Ohioan who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past year; Cameron McCown as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner as the young Ohioan who is an “up-and-coming” star among harness horsemen; Joe Adamsky into the Immortal Hall of Fame; Feelin Friskie into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and Ed Mullinax as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades.
Brown, 53, enjoyed a career year as he conditioned three of the top pacers in the country; Downbytheseaside ($1,602,452 in seasonal earnings), Fear The Dragon ($1,350,146), and filly Blazin Britches ($540,424). The Brown Stable earned $5.8 million this season and secured a .402 UTR and was selected as the “Trainer of the Year” by the United States Harness Writers Association.
McCown is a 29-year-old resident of Ostrander, Ohio. McCown had 86 wins and his drives earned $330,892 in purse money. McCown started driving in 2014 and earned an impressive .379 UDRS this season.
Adamsky was one of the top drivers in Ohio during the 1980s and 1990s. For his career he posted 2,707 victories and more than $11.4 million in purses. The native of Rochester, Michigan, won 12 Ohio Sires Stakes finals, including four with Ohio Standardbred Hall of Fame member, Majestic Osborne. Adamsky received the Achievement award from the Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association in 2002 and was the first Jerry Kaltenbach Trophy winner, awarded to the top driver in the Ohio Sire Stakes series.
Feelin Friskie earned $784,210 during his racing career, but the son of Artiscape left his mark on Ohio racing in the breeding shed. Owned by Wayne Whebby and Midland Acres, Feelin Friskie sired winners of $12.9 million and 78 foals in 1:55, including Igotafeelinfran ($569,650), Noble Finesse ($415,886) and Feelin Lika Winner ($344,996).
Mullinax, is a successful breeder and owner of Standardbreds, including P Forty Seven, winner of the 2005 Little Brown Jug, and Dragon Again, winner of $2.3 million and a successful stallion, who fathered the sports richest performer, Foiled Again ($7.5 million). Mullinax is a supporter and sponsor of many industry events including the Hambletonian, the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and the Breeders Crown.
Schnittker and friends cheered at Monticello-Goshen banquet
Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Ray Schnittker said, “If I had ten dollars for every person in this room that I had a drink with, I would be a billionaire!”
More than 200 horse people enjoyed the Monticello-Goshen USHWA chapter’s 59th annual awards banquet at the Fountains at Wallkill Golf Club on Sunday (Dec. 3). Those in attendance listened carefully as the Goshen Historic Track-based trainer/driver was thankful for all the friends and memories he has made throughout his many decades of success in the harness racing industry.
Having been a fixture around Goshen Historic Track and wherever top harness horses are raced, “Rockin’ Ray” and his Grand Circuit stable have amassed more than $37 million in purse earnings since calling the Cradle of the Trotter home.
Of course Schnittker may be best known for his work with Deweycheatumnhowe, the $3 million-winning Hambletonian champion, but this year his star 3-year-old pacer Huntsville earned more than $1 million and won both the Meadowlands Pace and the Cane Pace at the Meadowlands while battling with some of the best colts in the country.
Dave Hanson, the driving force behind the development of the Morrisville State College’s Equine Program and Standardbred yearling auction received the chapter’s Excelsior Award for his dedication and selfless contributions of time, talent and energy to the improvement and integrity of harness racing in the State of New York.
Now as the general manager of Leatherstocking Veterinary Services, he noted that he “missed managing a farm while at Morrisville.” In retrospect, however, Hanson said that teaching students at the equine institute was one of the highlights of his career as a breeding specialist and stallion manager.
Herbie Burns, the affable vet that everyone calls their buddy, made the crowd roar with tales of his trials and tribulations and stories from yesteryear. It was easy to see why he was this year’s John Gilmour Good Guy Award honoree.
Starting out as a trainer/driver at Pocono, Burns graduated from U. Penn and then learned the ropes from local icon “Doc” Gill. Over time Dr. Herbert Burns continued to develop Pine Bush Equine into a state-of-the-art vet clinic, while simultaneously serving as the staff veterinarian for Blue Chip Farms.
For decades, Stephen Crevani, recipient of the Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award, balanced a demanding career as a high-rise builder with his interest in breeding and racing harness horses.
Now that he is retired, the 75-year-old has been able to focus all of his attention on the horse business and is reaping greater rewards as a result. Crevani always has a small but sincere group of horses in training and handful of broodmares at the family farm in Bullville, N.Y. All of his horses bear the “Bullville” moniker, and many compete at Goshen Historic Track with Steve in the sulky.
Tim Masters was this year’s recipient of the Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award, presented for his hard work and dedication to improvements at Goshen Historic Track. The facility has undergone sequential renovation to the 100-plus-year-old grandstand. Masters oversaw the replacement of all the seats and the floors and will address the steel beams and the girders next.
This year amateur driver “Yankee” Joe Lee has garnered 15 wins in 87 starts and more than $87,000 in purse earnings. His current UDR of .281 is bolstered by an additional 11 seconds and 10 thirds, including copping the Billings Gold Final at Yonkers. In fact, in the last two years he has tripled the amount of wins he had the previous two years, earning him the Amateur Driver of the Year Award honors.
Brandon Parker, son of Monticello Raceway’s all-time leading driver, Billy “Zeke” Parker Jr., enthusiastically received the Rising Star Award. “Lil Zeke” has had logged an unparalleled 448 starts in his first year of driving. Capturing 42 wins, 56 seconds and 57 thirds, a UDR of .206 and earnings of $218,881, his rocket-launch debut is probably a starts record for a rookie reinsman. Even more remarkable is the fact that Parker just got his “P” license in May, and therefore accomplished this feat in just over six months of active driving.
Knowledgeable about simulcasting from the bottom up, Carole Macedonio has been a lead cashier, evening simulcast manager and been responsible for converting the handle figures into revenue for as long as anyone can remember. Long considered a “lifer” at the Mighty M, she also administers and moderates the Monticello Raceway Memorabilia Facebook page, a popular destination for cyber-space nostalgia.
A long tenured, devoted employee, there is no part of the wagering product that she is unfamiliar with or has not had some experience in helping manage. A backbone of the simulcasting department, Carole Macedonio received an Award of Appreciation for her more than three decades of service to Monticello Raceway.
The event marked another huge success for the Monticello-Goshen chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association that donates more than $8,000 to industry causes annually, most notably the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, as well as Goshen Historic Track.
Five elected to Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame
Four men instrumental in the growth and sustaining of harness racing’s pre-eminent position in the state of Pennsylvania – Walter “Boots” Dunn, Roger Hammer, Harry Harvey, and Jim Simpson – have been selected by the Keystone Chapter of the U. S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) as the second group of inductees into the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Along with this quartet, a Veterans Committee of Keystone USHWA has selected “Judge” Joe McGraw for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Hall.
These men join the first Pennsylvania Harness Hall’s inaugural class – Bowman Brown Sr., Max C. Hempt, Roger Huston, Delvin Miller, Dave Palone, Ed Ryan, Lawrence Sheppard, John Simpson Sr. and Paul E. Spears, plus Veteran selection Mary McCune.
Walter “Boots” Dunn was a positive factor in every area of the sport in which he participated; as the longtime Chairman on the USTA’s Board of Directors representing Pennsylvania; as a horsemen, breeding and training generations of champions and setting a record with 1179 victories as an amateur driver; as consultant to one and all, especially on his beloved county fair circuit, where he oversaw the racing at the Crawford County Fair in Meadville; and as a friend, sounding board, and invaluable sharer of advice.
Roger Hammer has won the national title for his category of the Universal Driver Rating (UDR, similar to a baseball players’ batting average) eight times, tying for the all-time lead with the immortal horseman Stanley Dancer. He campaigned Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo and many other fine racehorses, notably the “Keystone” horses of his fellow PA Hall of Famer Max Hempt, and to this day he continues as an annual major factor on the Pennsylvania fair circuit. Fearless, impervious to injury or fatigue – always driving to be first.
Harry Harvey worked for Pennsylvania’s #1 horseman, Delvin Miller, for many years, and drove the Miller-trained filly Helicopter to victory in the sport’s premier race, the Hambletonian. He then took over the day-to-day operation of Miller’s Meadow Lands Farms, and became so adept at that facet of the sport that he wrote a chapter on farm management in the seminal book Care and Training of the Trotter and Pacer. He also gave early lessons to the star pacer Albatross, and trained and drove him in his two-year-old form.
Jim Simpson has a noble a personal pedigree as a person can have in harness racing – his father, John Simpson Sr., is already in the Pennsylvania Harness Hall. Jim had success on the racetrack for many years, then followed his father into management at the world-famous Hanover Shoe Farms, the sport’s leading nursery, and under his able leadership the farm has maintained its place in the industry, changing with the times and reinvesting in both top stallions and broodmares. Like Harry Harvey, he is a member of harness racing’s National Hall of Fame.
Joe McGraw started his career working with the harness horses in southwest Pennsylvania, but his work led him to such occupations as handicapper, timer, and most notably judge, from whence he got his nickname. He worked the Grand Circuit of harness racing for nearly half a century, and earned the respect of both colleagues and horsemen alike. He also was an innovator, designing a method for starting races just before the starting gate was introduced, and he also was one of the first to use claiming races in filling cards. He was elected as a national Hall Immortal in 1975.
Pictures of and further biographical information about the members of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Hall of Fame can soon be found at the Keystone/USHWA website, www.keystonechapter.com; the new electees are being added at press time. To contact the Keystone/USHWA chapter, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siegel, Wallenius-Kleberg to Hall of Fame
Longtime Pennsylvania owner and breeder Jules Siegel, less than two months short of his 90th birthday, joins Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, one of the driving forces of harness racing in her native Sweden and a leader in European-American harness connections, as members of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame after their election by a joint polling of the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association, the sport’s leading media organization, and elected members of the Hall of Fame.
Elected as members of the Harness Racing Communicators Hall of Fame by a vote of USHWA members were Carl Becker, veteran announcer-pedigree expert-auctioneer based in his native Midwest, and Dave Briggs, whose nine Hervey Awards for outstanding writing have set the standard for quality harness racing journalism in recent years.
In both cases, nominations were made by chapters of the harness writers and then winnowed down to these four by blue-ribbon panels of veteran journalists. Each nominee needed 75 percent of the yes-no votes cast by eligible electors to gain the sport’s ultimate honor.
Irrepressible Siegel enters Hall; Wallenius-Kleberg first female inductee
Jules Siegel was at Pocono a couple of weeks ago when his Fashionwoodchopper (carrying the name of his Fashion Farms) won a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. And it is safe to say that of the large group in and near the winner’s circle, no one was more excited than
the soon-to-be nonagenarian.
Siegel and his late wife Arlene established Fashion Farms in eastern Pennsylvania for their own pleasure, but when the college pharmacy major sold his successful chain of drugstores and retired in 1995, Arlene insisted “you cannot retire to nothing,” so the Siegels acquired first-rate broodmares, bred them to top sires to achieve successful racehorses, then retained the females for future breeding and built success upon success, lasting to this day.
Tagliabue, the Hambletonian winner in Siegel’s retirement year of 1995, was the first of his eight Dan Patch Award seasonal champions. He has five Breeders Crown winners to his credit as well, two of them homebreds:
Broadway Schooner in 2009 and Broadway Schooner’s daughter, Broadway Donna, last year.Siegel and his wife were twice named Owner of the Year by USHWA, in 2002 and 2009, and Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s.
Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, the first woman elected to the Hall of Fame, is the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, a breeding farm which has been in her family for 70 years and has been the leading breeder in her native Sweden for the last nine years. Wallenius-Kleberg created a North America-Europe comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by stallions Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee. The farm also stood two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell.
A tireless worker for the sport, Wallenius-Kleberg is a director of the Hambletonian Society in the U.S., and in 2011 received the Pinnacle Award for the promotion of the sport. In Sweden, she was the former chair of the Swedish Breeders Association and of the organization operating Solvalla Racetrack, home of the famous Elitlopp, and is an honorary lifetime member of these two organizations and of the Swedish Trotting Association.
Becker, Briggs take different paths to Communicators Hall of Fame
One, though a good writer, made his mark on harness racing through announcing and presentation of pedigrees at auction; the other, though an intelligent and glib speaker, has set the standard for writing excellence through his domination of the Hervey Awards. But Carl Becker and Dave Briggs share the characteristics of clarity, class, exhaustive knowledge, and insight, and thus both have risen to the top of their professions and a place in the Communicators Hall.
Carl Becker, a native of Illinois, began his career in harness racing announcing in 1963, traveling 300 miles to a matinee in Iowa where he worked without pay just to gain experience. Soon, major tracks were seeking him out to provide his insightful calls and commentary, most notably Du Quoin, Ill., where he called the Hambletonian and World Trotting Derby;
The Red Mile in Lexington, where he announced Niatross’ historic 1:49.1 time-trial; and Louisville Downs.
Becker helped to transform the job of auctioneer and pedigree reader with his prodigious knowledge of breeding, family achievement, and “nicks,” combining these with his enthusiastic announcing style to “draw out” the assembled bidders, pointing out a tidbit that might keep an auction going. In this capacity, he worked the sport’s two major sales, Harrisburg and Lexington (and later both when two companies offered at Lexington),
as well as for Garden State Sales and Blooded Horse Sales.
Dave Briggs, a native of western Ontario, achieved most of his early journalistic success through a series of increasingly responsible roles at the venerable Canadian Sportsman magazine, while also writing for other top trade journals. In the last couple of years, Dave has been in charge of the reborn Harness Racing Update online newsletter, which provides coverage of the sport’s major events along with commentary examining trends on the current harness scene.
With this workload have come awards -- lots of them. Before Briggs, the most USHWA Dan Patch journalism awards won had been five, achieved by the late Hall of Famer Phil Pines. Briggs has shattered this standard by winning nine John Hervey awards, including an award in each of the last five years -- and in 2012-2015, for four different publications. He has an equally long list of Canadian and international awards for journalism to his credit.
The new Hall of Famers will first be feted at USHWA’s Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday (Feb. 25) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, in conjunction with USHWA’s annual meetings. The new Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted during 2018’s Hall of Fame ceremony on July 1 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y.
United States Harness Writers Association
The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the world's largest organization for industry communicators.
The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 220 members committed to the chronicling of harness racing through the print and electronic media. It was founded in 1947 by New York City area sportswriters who were covering harness racing at Roosevelt Raceway. It remains the only media organization in harness racing with a membership of newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, ad agency, publicists and others involved in racing communications. With most of USHWA's members allied to one of 12 regional chapters, the association strives to bring about a closer relationship among the media, racetracks and horsemen to promote a centuries-old American-bred sport.
USHWA members, in annual voting, choose harness racing's most prestigious awards, such as the Living Hall of Fame and the Horse of the Year. Its Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award is one of the sport's most cherished honors. It also recognizes top divisional winners and leading drivers and trainers at its annual awards dinner, which began in 1948.
The association is governed by a member board of directors, which represents the chapters and at-large members (those living or working in regions where there is no chapter). Also serving are seven national officers and past presidents.
USHWA, with input from the American Harness Racing Secretaries and logistic expertise provided by the United States Trotting Association, determines the Horse of the Year and other equine and human awards. USHWA also presents the John Hervey Awards for excellence in writing and broadcasting. Its members choose Hall of Famers, so the association also works closely with the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Goshen, New York. A number of chapters hold annual awards or recognition dinners to salute the leading horses and drivers in their areas. Some chapters also raise money for local charities.
Contact USHWA at email@example.com