Bella Bellini became the fourth female trotter this century to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages three and four when the six 2022 divisional trotting champions were announced on Tuesday, Dec. 27 by the United States Harness Writers Association. She was the only repeat winner among this year’s trotting honourees and joined Atlanta, Ariana G and Stroke Play as this century’s female trotters to win trophies at three and four.
The other trotters to receive division honours this year were two-year-old colt Volume Eight, two-year-old filly Special Way, three-year-old gelding Cool Papa Bell, three-year-old filly Joviality S and six-year-old stallion Ecurie D DK. Bella Bellini was the top vote-getter, named on 129 of 136 returned ballots, while Joviality S won the closest race, topping Jiggy Jog S by six votes.
Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be announced at the Dan Patch Awards, presented by Caesars Entertainment, on Feb. 19 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida.
Division winners for pacers will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at noon on the Harrah’s Hoosier Park YouTube channel.
Bella Bellini hit the board in 18 of 19 races this year, winning nine, and earned $936,702 USD to lead all older trotters in purses. Her mark of 1:49.4 was the fastest among all female trotters in 2022 and one of only three sub-1:50 miles for the year.
Her victories included the Breeders Crown Mare Trot as well as victories over male rivals in the Hambletonian Maturity and Caesars Trotting Classic. She also won the Dr. John R. Steele Memorial, TVG Series final for female trotters and Six Pack Mares Open.
Bella Bellini, a daughter of Bar Hopping-Bella Dolce, was bred by owner David McDuffee. She was trained by Richard “Nifty” Norman and driven by Dexter Dunn.
Joviality S was the sport’s top-earning trotter in 2022, banking $1.08 million USD. She became the first filly to defeat the boys in the MGM Yonkers Trot since 1996, doing so with a track-record-equalling performance, and finished second in the Hambletonian Stakes.
For the year, Joviality S hit the board in 15 of 16 races, winning 11. Her other victories included the Delmonica Hanover Stakes (equalling the track record at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono), the New York Sire Stakes championship and a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial.
A daughter of Chapter Seven-Pasithea Face S, Joviality S is owned by Anders Strom’s Courant Inc. She was trained by Marcus Melander and driven by Brian Sears.
Special Way was the richest two-year-old female trotter of the season with $697,475 USD in purses. She won seven of nine starts and finished second once, with her victories including the Breeders Crown in a Canadian-record 1:52 and the Kentucky Championship Series final. She also won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in 1:52 at the Red Mile.
The daughter of Walner-Special Hill was trained and driven by Svanstedt. She was bred by owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.
Ecurie D DK was the top-earning older male trotter of the year with $733,439 USD in purses. He hit the board in six of eight races, winning three. His victories included a world-record 1:49.1 triumph in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and a stakes-record-equalling 1:51 score in the Breeders Crown Open Trot. He also won the TVG Series final for male trotters.
A son of Infinitif-To Soon, Ecurie D DK was owned by Marko Kreivi Stables, Suleyman Yuksel Stables and Ake Svanstedt Inc. He was bred by Jean Pierre Dubois and driven by Dunn and Svanstedt.
Cool Papa Bell was the Hambletonian Stakes champion, winning at record odds of 52-1, and led all three-year-old male trotters in purses with $893,025 USD. In addition to capturing the Hambo, Cool Papa Bell counted the New York Sire Stakes final and Phil Langley Memorial among his six victories in 14 starts. He hit the board a total of 10 times.
Trained by Jim Campbell, Cool Papa Bell was driven by Todd McCarthy in the Hambletonian and Tim Tetrick in the NYSS championship. He also was driven by Brian Sears to two NYSS preliminary-round triumphs. Bred by Belmar Racing and Breeding, Cool Papa Bell is owned by Runthetable Stables.
Volume Eight was the fastest two-year-old male trotter of the season, with a mark of 1:52, and finished his campaign with five consecutive wins. Those victories included the Valley Victory Stakes and Kindergarten Classic Series final.
For the year, the son of Chapter Seven-Lass A Rope won seven of nine starts and earned $432,232 USD. He was bred by Bob Key and owned by N Daley & Sjoblom Racing, Joe Sbrocco, LA Express & JAF Racing and Mario Mazza. Noel Daley trained the colt, who was driven by Andy McCarthy.
Complete vote totals for the trotting divisions can be viewed by clicking here.
Room reservations for the Dan Patch Awards weekend can be made at the Rosen Shingle Creek website. Sponsorship opportunities for the event can be procured from sponsorship chairman Shawn Wiles at [email protected]. For information regarding banquet tickets, contact Judy Davis-Wilson at [email protected]. To place an ad in the Souvenir Journal, contact Kim Rinker at [email protected].
A complete list of the Dan Patch Award trotting divisional winners follows. All earnings and purses are reported in USD.
TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
VOLUME EIGHT, colt
Chapter Seven – Lass A Rope – Encore Encore
Breeder: Robert Key.
Owners: N Daley & Sjoblom Racing, Joe Sbrocco, LA Express & JAF Racing, Mario Mazza.
Trainer: Noel Daley. Driver: Andrew McCarthy.
Races: 9-7-0-0. Purses: $432,232. Mark: 1:52 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $416,200 Valley Victory; $268,180 Kindergarten Classic Series final.
TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
Walner – Special Hill – Muscle Hill
Breeders: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld.
Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld.
Trainer: Ake Svanstedt. Driver: Ake Svanstedt.
Races: 9-7-1-0. Purses: $697,475. Mark: 1:52 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $400,000 Kentucky Championship Series final.
THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
COOL PAPA BELL, gelding
Chapter Seven – Blk Thai Optional – Muscle Hill
Breeder: Belmar Racing and Breeding.
Owner: Runthetable Stables.
Trainer: Jim Campbell. Drivers: Todd McCarthy, Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears.
Races: 14-6-1-3. Purses: $893,025. Mark: 1:51.3 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $200,000 New York Sire Stakes final.
THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
Chapter Seven – Pasithea Face S – Muscle Hill
Breeder: AM Bloodstock.
Owner: Courant Inc.
Trainer: Marcus Melander. Driver: Brian Sears.
Races: 16-11-2-2. Purses: $1.08 million. Mark: 1:50.2 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $280,904 MGM Yonkers Trot; $250,000 Delmonica Hanover; $200,000 New York Sire Stakes final.
OLDER MALE TROTTER
ECURIE D DK, six-year-old stallion
Infinitif – To Soon – Muscles Yankee
Breeder: Jean Pierre Dubois.
Owners: Marko Kreivi Stables, Suleyman Yuksel Stables, Ake Svanstedt Inc.
Trainer: Ake Svanstedt. Drivers: Dexter Dunn, Ake Svanstedt.
Races: 8-3-2-1. Purses: $733,439. Mark: 1:49.1 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $330,000 TVG Series final; $170,450 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial.
OLDER FEMALE TROTTER
BELLA BELLINI, four-year-old
Bar Hopping – Bella Dolce – Kadabra
Breeder: David McDuffee.
Owner: David McDuffee.
Trainer: Richard “Nifty” Norman. Driver: Dexter Dunn.
Races: 19-9-4-5. Purses: $936,702. Mark: 1:49.4 at Meadowlands.
Top wins: $432,000 Hambletonian Maturity; $350,000 Breeders Crown; $220,000 Caesars Trotting Classic.
A replay of the Dan Patch Award trotting winners announcement from Harrah’s Hoosier Park is available below.
(USHWA; Photos by New Image Media, Lisa Photo and Amanda Stephens; Pictured clockwise from top left: Volumn Eight, Special Way, Joviality S, Bella Bellini, Ecurie D DK and Cool Papa Bell)