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Handicapper Blog

Posted by Ken Warkentin on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:17 PM

Dan Patch Award Picks 

  

The 2012 Dan Patch Awards for the top equine stars in harness racing had a couple of common denominators, Tim Tetrick and Linda Toscano. 

The Bionic Man drove no less than six serious candidates, and hence, is a favorite for Driver of the Year. 

Toscano, a virtual slam dunk to become the first female Trainer of the Year, sent out three division standouts, plus a no-brainer for Trotter of the Year and likely Horse of the Year. 

New Jersey owned, trained, driven and bred stock figure prominently among this year’s honorees.   

  

The Two Year Old Filly Trotter category boiled down to a pair of New Jersey-breds from both sides of the border.  The Ontario-based Bee A Magician handed To Dream On her only career loss in the Peaceful Way, yet somehow got off to a slow start as the favorite in the Breeders Crown and had to settle for third behind her rival.  To Dream On was able to gain a measure of revenge and seal her division title with a stakes record equaling 1:54.4 at Woodbine.  The daughter of Credit Winner, bred by New Jersey’s Valley High Stables, was one of three Crown trophies for Yannick Gingras, and was part of a grand slam for trainer Jimmy Takter.  The $200,000 yearling has banked $727,320 for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.  To Dream On won her first five starts, including a 1:54 Meadowlands track record in the Merrie Annabelle.  Takter won this division three years in a row with Solvieg, Passionate Glide and Pampered Princess.    

  

There have been three undefeated freshman trotters in the past 11 years, Broadway Hall, Cantab Hall and Deweycheatumnhowe, and only the latter managed to keep the string alive while winning the Hambletonian.  Like Broadway Hall, Ontario sensation Wheeling N Dealin went nine-for-nine, albeit with a less-than-dominant win in the Breeders Crown.  After Sylvain Filion got away with a :57.4 half, the son of Cantab Hall held on in 1:56.  The victory gave breeder William Weaver (Valley High Stable of Freehold, NJ) a Crown double.  The $100,000 yearling, trained by Justin Jones and owned by Ecurie Synergie of Montreal, Quebec, also notched major wins in the Champlain and William Wellwood Memorial.  Filion and Jones teamed up to send out a 2012 Hambletonian finalist Prestidigitator, and now have the 2013 Winterbook favorite. 

  

The Two Year Filly Pace division shaped up as a late-season tussle between I Luv The Nitelife and L Dees Lioness before the regally bred Somwherovrarainbow crushed them in the Breeders Crown.  However, I Luv The Nitelife did finish a solid second after a 22-day layoff and led her colleagues with $689,530.  The $60,000 yearling stablemate to Put On A Show, trained by Chris Ryder, and owned by Richard and Joanne Young, set a world record of 1:50.1 in her She’s A Great Lady elimination with Jack Moiseyev in the bike, then beat L Dees Lioness in that final in 1:51.  The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover also won a Bluegrass division in 1:52.4.  Her dam Lisjune is out of a half-sister to double millionaire Lis Mara.  

  

The top Two Year Old Colt Pacer always seems to shoulder the heaviest load going into the glamour boy season, yet Captaintreacherous is well deserving of the pressure in 2013.  Even though the biggest freshman star of 2012 could not hold on in a thrilling three-horse Breeders Crown photo finish, the outstanding colt from the impressive first crop of Somebeachsomewhere did win eight of ten starts, including stakes records in the Woodrow Wilson (1:49.3) and Metro (1:49.2).  The $250,000 yearling will give trainer Tony Alagna his first Dan Patch Award in a break-out year.  With a bankroll of $918,253, Captaintreacherous became the first two-year-old to rack up three sub 1:50 miles, and never missed the board with Tim Tetrick in the bike. 

  

Up until the Breeders Crown, Check Me Out was in the Horse of the Year mix, despite her unfortunate miscue in the Hambletonian Oaks.  After a 20-day layoff she finished third, yet still won 11 of 15 and didn’t miss the board in a $955,326 season.  The richest trotting filly in history at $1,855,945 lowered her own world record to 1:51.2 in the Bluegrass, won the Elegantimage in a Mohawk track record of 1:52.2, the Hudson Filly Trot, set a world record of 1:51.3 in the Del Miller Memorial, equaled that mark in the Zweig and PASS Final, and set a Tioga Downs track record of 1:54 against older horses.  From the first crop of Donato Hanover, Tim Tetrick drove for trainer Ray Schnittker.  Check Me Out is the first filly to repeat as division champion since Pampered Princess (2006) and Passionate Glide (2007). 

  

American Jewel locked down her division when she won a hard-fought stretch drive in the Breeders Crown Three Year Old Filly Pace in 1:52.1.  After her stellar freshman season was cut short by injury, the daughter of American Ideal bounced back with a million dollar season, clocked a world record of 1:48.2 in the Fan Hanover, and also won the James Lynch Memorial in 1:49.2 and cruised in a Bluegrass division in 1:50.1.  She also finished second in the Mistletoe Shalee and Valley Forge.  American Jewel increased her career earnings to $1,771,773 for Brittany Farms, Tim Tetrick and trainer Jimmy Takter.  Takter won this division last year with See You At Peelers and in 2005 with Cabrini Hanover. 

  

There’s no doubt the Three Year Old Colt and Gelding Pace division was the toughest to sort out with no less than five sophomores putting up $1 million seasons.  I will admit even after casting my vote for A Rocknroll Dance, I should have waited for the Matron Final, which stamped late-season hero Heston Blue Chip a winner in many corners.  Could Tim Tetrick and Linda Toscano score yet another Dan Patch trophy here?  Yes, I kept looking at only four wins for A Rocknroll Dance, but three were big, the Hempt in 1:48.3, the Meadowlands Pace in 1:48.1 and the Battle of Brandywine in 1:48.1 with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jim Mulinix.  Delving a little deeper, the son of Rocknroll Hanover got parked from post six through a 1:21.3 three quarters in his North America Cup elimination, then got boxed in from post seven in that final.  He lost by a nose from post eight in the NJSS Final, and won the Hempt from post eight at Pocono Downs, no small task.  After leaving from post six in the Adios Final, he rolled through a blazing 1:19.2 three quarters, and Bolt The Duer tripped out to beat him in a world record of 1:47.4.  In the Cane Pace, he carved out bruising fractions of :53 and 1:20.3 from post six and finished fourth.  He followed that with a second from post 12 in the Simcoe.  Clearly not himself in Lexington, he underwent throat surgery, and bounced back with a parked out fourth in the Messenger and a third in the Windy City Pace.  Week-in and week-out, spanning the entire calendar year, A Rocknroll Dance was a speedy, gutsy major player with $1 million to show for it.  By the way, he drew post six in the Cleveland Classic on December 8. 

  

Market Share was a major contender for Horse of the Year going into the Breeders Crown, fresh from a sparkling new mark of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile with Tim Tetrick in the bike.  The $16,000 bargain yearling by Revenue S had to settle for third from post eight, yet still owns a pair of $1 million victories in the Hambletonian and the Canadian Trotting Classic.  The Linda Toscano trainee also set a Vernon Downs track record of 1:52.1 in the Zweig, finished second by a neck in the Colonial, and polished off his season with blowouts in the American National and the Galt, which pushed him past the $2 million career mark.  Market Share won 10 of 20 starts in 2012. 

  

In the Older Trotting Mares division, Frenchfrysnvinegar came up just a half-length shy of repeating in the Breeders Crown, but the seven-year-old Angus Hall mare fashioned her best season ever at $429,650, and pushed past the $1 million mark.  Trained by Jeff Gillis and driven by Jody Jamieson, she found her best stride late in 2012, winning eight of 25, going all the way in the Miss Versatility Final at Delaware in 1:54, just three fifths off a world record, and trotted a career best of 1:52 in the Allerage Farm at The Red Mile. 

  

The Breeders Crown Trot was a classic Horse of the Year coronation for Chapter Seven, as well as a Crown repeat at Woodbine.  Despite being parked out by European invitee Commander Crowe, the four-year-old son of the late Windsong’s Legacy gallantly prevailed in 1:52.3.  After completing his career with a 1:54.4 romp in the American National, Chapter Seven was looking to become the first Horse of the Year to make less than 12 starts in their award-winning season.  He went eight for ten with two seconds, banked $1,023,025 in 2012, and finished with $1,954,966.  Once again, the prolific team of Tim Tetrick and Linda Toscano were front and center.  Chapter Seven kicked off his four-year-old season with unprecedented back-to-back world records of 1:50.4 in Titan Cup Prep and Final.  He lowered his own world mark to 1:50.1 in the Nat Ray, which tied the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history, won the Maxie Lee in a stakes record of 1:52 and the Allerage Farm in 1:50.2.   

  

Even though she was second on the money list behind Rocklamation, Anndrovette likely sealed her second straight division title when she rallied to repeat in the Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace in 1:50.1, just as she had done in 2011.  The five-year-old daughter of Riverboat King, owned by Jeff Bamond and Joseph Davino, and bred in New Jersey by Golden Touch Stable, vaulted past the $2 million mark.  Tim Tetrick also made history as the first driver to win four Crown trophies on the same program.  Trained by Paul Fraley, Anndrovette set a world record of 1:48.1 in the Roses Are Red at Mohawk.  She won the Overbid  

Final and several legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers, before finishing a second in that final.  Anndrovette also set a fast pace and finished a third in the 1:47.3 world record Lady Liberty.  

  

Not too many free for all pacers can dig down as deep and come up with a career season like Golden Receiver did in 2012.  The iron-tough son of Village Jove was there at the beginning and still around at the end.  He paced the fastest January mile ever, 1:48, when he was voted Horse of the Month and won the Presidential for trainer Mark Harder.  The Golden One went on to post major victories in the Spring Championship, the Graduate, US pacing Championship and William Haughton Memorial.  He capped his sensational campaign finishing second in the Breeders Crown and American National with Tim Tetrick in the bike.  Tetrick shared seat time with eight other drivers, including Brian Sears and Andy Miller.  Golden Receiver won 13 of 25, hit the board in 20 starts, banked $941,025 and lowered his lifetime best to 1:48.  He was bred in New York by co-owner Nina Simmonds, who set up a fund to donate a portion of the horse’s earnings to the Equatarian Initiative charity.  Golden Receiver also gets the nod for Pacer of the Year. 

  



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Ken
Warkentin

Ken Warkentin has been a member of the award-winning broadcast team at Meadowlands Racetrack as the Track Announcer and television commentator for almost 20 years. Ken has appeared on national television networks such as ESPN, called 11 editions of the $1.5 million Hambletonian, and worked as a member of the broadcast team for NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

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