ORLANDO, Fla. — A mare foaled in Hanover, Pa. has been named harness racing’s Horse of the Year while all the divisional honorees were either foaled in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or New York or sired by stallions residing in those sates.
Hannelore Hanover, born at Hanover Shoe Farms, 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 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 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.
Previously, 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, of Fredericktown, Pa., 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, who was foaled in Walkill, N.Y., 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.
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; by Muscle Hill, who now stands in New Jersey but stood in Pennsylvania; Fourth Dimension, 2-year-old male trotter by Chapter Seven, who stands in New York; New Jersey’s Standardbred of the Year, Ariana G, 3-year-old female trotter by Muscle Hill; What The Hill, 3-year-old male trotter by Muscle Hill; Marion Marauder, older male trotter, also by Muscle Hill; Youaremycandygirl, 2-year-old female pacer by American Ideal, who stands in New York; Lost In Time, 2-year-old male pacer foaled in Pennsylvania and sired by A Rocknroll Dance; Blazin Britches, 3-year-old female pacer by Rocknroll Heaven, who stands in New York; Pure Country, older female pacer, foaled in Pennsylvania and sired by Somebeachsomewhere; and Keystone Velocity, older male pacer, bred in Pennsylvania and sire by Western Hanover.
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