Monday, December 22, 2014


USHWA Writers Name Takter Trainer of the Year, Gingras Top Driver


From Ken Weingartner, USTA

For the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career, Jimmy Takter is the Trainer of the Year as voted upon by the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA).

Also voted a Dan Patch Award, as Driver of the Year, was Yannick Gingras, who led all drivers in purses this season with more than $17 million.

Takter received 84 of 140 votes for Trainer of the Year, finishing ahead of Ron Burke, who got 56 votes. Gingras was the only driver nominated for Driver of the Year by USHWA’s chapters.

Despite starting horses only 729 times through Dec. 21, Takter’s stable earned a career-best $13.35 million, for an average of more than $18,300 per start.

Takter, 54, won this year’s Hambletonian with Trixton, a horse he also drove to the victory, and the Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit. Takter became only the second trainer to win both races in the same year, joining Jan Johnson from 1988.

The Hambletonian was the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown and Takter-trained Nuncio swept the remaining two legs, the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot.

In addition, Takter won three Breeders Crown trophies, with 2-year-old male trotter Pinkman, 3-year-old male trotter Father Patrick, and 3-year-old female trotter Shake It Cerry.

Shake It Cerry was named the Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year while Pinkman and Father Patrick received divisional honors.

Takter dominated the 3-year-old trotting ranks, as he had the top three money-earning colts (Father Patrick, $1.69 million, Nuncio, $1.45 million and Trixton, $893,370) and the top two money-earning fillies (Shake It Cerry, $1.23 million and Lifetime Pursuit, $795,216).

Father Patrick and Nuncio made Takter the first trainer in history to have two million-dollar trotters in the same division in the same year.

Among Takter’s top pacers were 3-year-old male stakes-winners Lyonssomewhere, who captured the Cane Pace, Somewhere In L A and Tellitlikeitis, along with 3-year-old filly stakes-winner Uffizi Hanover.

Takter’s previous Trainer of the Year honors came in 2010, 2000 and 1996.

The 35-year-old Gingras has established career highs in purses, with $17.29 million, and wins, with 555.

His earnings led all drivers in North America and were more than $5 million ahead of second place. Never in history has a driver finished at least $5 million in front of his nearest competitor. In addition, Gingras’ purses were fourth highest in history for a driver.

Gingras won four Breeders Crown titles, victories that were among 15 triumphs worth more than $300,000 this year. Those 15 lucrative wins came with nine different horses and included the Canadian Trotting Classic, Hambletonian Oaks, Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace.

A native of Quebec, Gingras was USHWA’s 2003 Rising Star Award winner.

Takter and Gingras will receive their awards at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, to be held Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando at Sea World.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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