Monday, February 23, 2015


Undefeated Juvenile Filly Is Harness Horse of the Year


By Ken Weingartner

Orlando, FL --- As she traveled from New Jersey to Florida for Sunday night’s Dan Patch Awards tribute, trainer Nancy Johansson passed time on her flight by reading a Hoof Beats magazine story about her Horse of the Year winner JK She’salady.

JK She’salady, bred and owned by 3 Brothers Stables, was undefeated in 12 races last season and became the first 2-year-old female pacer in harness racing history to be named Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. She was honored Sunday at USHWA’s Dan Patch Awards Night of Champions Banquet at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel at SeaWorld.

“When I was reading that story it really sunk in more, like, wow, this is what we’re coming all the way to Florida for,” Johansson said. “It’s very exciting. It’s something that I think everybody works for, and it’s nice to be able to accomplish that. It’s really sunk in more now.”

JK She’salady is the fourth 2-year-old to receive Horse of the Year, joining pacer Niatross (1979), trotter Nevele Pride (1967) and pacer Bret Hanover (1964). The three previous 2-year-old winners were colts.

She is the first female pacer to be voted Horse of the Year since Rainbow Blue in 2004 and the fourth female pacer overall to receive the honor. The others were Bunny Lake in 2001 and Fan Hanover in 1981.

“It’s unbelievable,” Johansson said at the time of the Horse of the Year announcement in December. “The hard work paid off. She’s just such a special horse.

“She’s as perfect as they come, and I guess finishing off with Horse of the Year exemplifies how perfect she is.”Harness Racing Communications/USTA

In addition to joining the connections of JK She’salady in picking up the Horse of the Year trophy, the 33-year-old Johansson received the Rising Star Award from USHWA.

“It’s nice that somebody appreciates your ability and your hard work,” Johansson said. “Not everyone might admit it, but I think all people like to be recognized. It’s very gratifying.”

The trip to Orlando was gratifying for reasons other than picking up awards. Johansson and her husband, trainer-driver Marcus Johansson, got to enjoy some vacation time with children Ella and Marcus Jr.

“Marcus is a huge part of everything that goes on,” Johansson said. “He’s just as qualified to be Rising Star as I am. It’s a lot of fun (to be together). It’s great that it happened to be in Orlando this year and we got to have a couple of days away (from work) and my kids got to have a little fun. They sacrifice a lot because we work crazy hours and we’re always running around.”

Older female trotter Shake It Cerry, trained by Johansson’s father, Jimmy Takter, received the Trotter of the Year award and older male pacer Sweet Lou, trained by Ron Burke, received the Pacer of the Year trophy. Takter received the Trainer of the Year honor.

In addition to owning JK She’salady, 3 Brothers Stables – Alan, Ronald and Steven Katz – was named Breeder of the Year and shared Owner of the Year with John Fielding.

Other honorees included Hall of Fame inductee Joe Thomson, Communicators Hall of Fame inductees Bob Marks and Kathy Parker, Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award winner Russell Williams, Breakthrough Award winner Emily Gaskin and Driver of the Year winner Yannick Gingras.

Horses receiving awards for division honors -- in addition to JK She’salady, Shake It Cerry and Sweet Lou -- were 2-year-old male trotter Pinkman, 2-year-old female trotter Mission Brief, 3-year-old male trotter Father Patrick, older male trotter Sebastian K, older female trotter Classic Martine, 2-year-old male pacer Artspeak, 3-year-old male pacer McWicked, 3-year-old female pacer Color’s A Virgin, and older female pacers Anndrovette and Rocklamation (tie).

USTA

Written by HRI Publisher of Harness Racing Update

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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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Thursday, November 20, 2014


Breeders’ Crown Wagering Format


East Rutherford, NJ - The two night Breeders Crown format features 12 Breeders Crown races and all 12 of the Championship races will be a part of a guaranteed pool.

On Friday with Breeders Crown races covering races 7 through 10, the standard Meadowlands wagering format will be in play. It includes:

$30,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 (Races 1 through 5)
$25,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Early Pick 4 (Races 3 through 6)
$50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Late Pick 4 (Races 7 through 10)


The Saturday Breeders Crown Program offers 8 Breeders Crown races that cover races 4 through 11. All Breeders Crown races are included in the Early and Late Pick 4 wagers and the guaranteed pools are enhanced as well. The Saturday guaranteed pool are as follows:

$30,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 (Races 1 through 5)
$50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Early Pick 4 (Races 4 through 7)
$100,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Late Pick 4 (Races 8 through 11)

Both racing programs include a $.20 Cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 with the low 8% takeout in the 13th and final race. The carryover into the Friday Program is $8,879.77.


Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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