U.S. Pacing Champs Crowned

Published: December 17, 2014 12:40 pm EST

JK Shesalady and Sweet Lou were landslide winners in Dan Patch Award voting announced Wednesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, but one of the six pacing divisions resulted in a rare dead heat.

Anndrovette and Rocklamation will share the Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer after each received 51 of 157 votes. The only previous tie for a Dan Patch Award came in 1965 when Cardigan Bay and Race Time finished in a dead heat for best older pacer.

JK Shesalady, who was undefeated in 12 starts, came within one vote of being the unanimous selection for best two-year-old female pacer. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was three votes from being the undisputed top older male pacer.

Completing the list of division champions were two-year-old male pacer Artspeak, three-year-old male pacer McWicked, and three-year-old female pacer Colors A Virgin. Artspeak received 90 per cent of the vote in his group, while McWicked had 82 per cent and Colors A Virgin had 68 per cent.

Seven-year-old Anndrovette and five-year-old Sweet Lou are repeat winners.

Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, playmeadowlands.com. On Tuesday, December 16, USHWA announced the Dan Patch Award winners for the trotting sect.

Anndrovette now has received a record four Dan Patch honours in the pacing mare division, and is tied with Eternal Camnation for the most honours for any pacer in history. Rocklamation’s trophy is the first in the division for trainer Ron Burke, who has conditioned the six most recent winners among older male pacers.

This season, Anndrovette won six of 22 races and earned a division-leading $520,352 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer P.J. Fraley, and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. Her victories included the Roses Are Red Stakes and Betsy Ross Invitational.

Rocklamation, a six-year-old, won four of 18 races and banked $517,364. Her triumphs for driver Yannick Gingras and owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables included the Golden Girls, Artiscape, and Lady Liberty.

Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor’s Cup. He is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. He is trained by Tony Alagna, who also captured this division in 2012 with Captaintreacherous, and was driven by Scott Zeron.

After losing her first three starts of the year, Colors A Virgin rebounded to win all but one of her next 14 races, with her victories including the Jugette and Nadia Lobell. She finished the campaign with 13 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $532,622 for driver Trace Tetrick, trainer Brian Brown and owner Emerald Highlands Farm.

JK Shesalady won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equalled the world record of 1:50.1 for a two-year-old female pacer in winning the Shes A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes.

Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK Shesalady is trained by Nancy Johansson. The filly was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Gingras in her previous starts.

McWicked was the richest pacer of the year, with $1.47 million in purses for owner SSG Stables and trainer Casie Coleman. The colt won 12 of 23 races and hit the board a total of 21 times. He finished the season on a three-race win streak, which included the Breeders Crown and a stakes-record triumph in the Progress Pace.

Other victories for McWicked included the Delvin Miller Adios and Max C. Hempt Memorial. His time of 1:47.3 in the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by a three-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. He was driven primarily by David Miller, with Brian Sears in the sulky for the Breeders Crown.

A Dan Patch Award winner in 2011 at the age of two, Sweet Lou added a second trophy this year for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million.

Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe.

Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement.

Artspeak (141 of 157 votes)
Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace
Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale
Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman
Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Scott Zeron
Races: 10-8-0-2
Purses: $742,185
Mark: 1:50.2 at Mohawk Racetrack
Top wins: $613,640 Metro Pace, $502,850 Governor’s Cup

JK Shesalady (155 votes; one abstention)
Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables
Owners: 3 Brothers Stables
Trainer: Nancy Johansson
Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick
Races: 12-12-0-0
Purses: $883,330
Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk Racetrack (equalled world record)
Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown, $441,600 Shes A Great Lady, $377,360 Three Diamonds

McWicked (128 votes)
McArdle – Western Sahara – Western Ideal
Yearling Price: $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale
Breeder: Andray Farm
Owner: S S G Stables
Trainer: Casie Coleman
Drivers: David Miller, Brian Sears
Races: 23-12-5-4
Purses: $1.47 million
Mark: 1:47.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record).
Top wins: $531,250 Breeders Crown, $500,000 Hempt Memorial, $400,000 Adios

Colors A Virgin (106 votes)
Always A Virgin – Full Color – Allamerican Ingot
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeder: Emerald Highlands Farm
Owner: Emerald Highlands Farm
Trainer: Brian Brown
Driver: Trace Tetrick
Races: 18-13-2-0
Purses: $532,622
Mark: 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack
Top wins: $298,100 Jugette, $176,500 Nadia Lobell

Sweet Lou (154 votes)
Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future
Yearling Price: $38,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale
Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Ron Pierce
Races: 19-11-3-1
Purses: $1.36 million
Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record)
Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final, $500,000 Ben Franklin, $463,300 William Haughton Memorial

Anndrovette (51 votes)
Riverboat King – Easy Miss – Big Towner
Yearling Price: Private sale
Breeder: Golden Touch Stable
Owners: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino
Trainer: P.J. Fraley
Driver: Tim Tetrick
Races: 22-6-4-4
Purses: $520,352
Mark: 1:49.1 at Mohawk Racetrack
Top wins: $303,600 Roses Are Red, $250,000 Betsy Ross

Rocklamation (51 votes)
Rocknroll Hanover – Art Sale – Artsplace
Yearling Price: $50,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale
Breeder: Perretti Farms
Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 18-4-5-2
Purses: $517,364
Mark: 1:48.3 at the Meadowlands Racetrack
Top wins: $183,450 Golden Girls, $178,000 Artiscape, $177,750 Lady Liberty

(USHWA; photo courtesy USTA)