Two of the iconic crystal trophies that have graced the Breeders Crown championship series since 1984 will bear additional etching this year - in memory of two men whose influence on the creation of the series and on all of harness racing cannot be underestimated. The Three-Year-Old Colt Pace trophy will be inscribed the H. A. Grant Jr. Memorial Trophy and its trotting counterpart has been named in memory of John Cashman Jr.
Both were longtime board members and former chairs of the executive committee of the Hambletonian Society, Grant from 1998 to 2008 and Cashman from 2008 until his death in September of last year. Both were deeply committed to the Society's mission to promote and preserve the Standardbred breed, and were instrumental in creating the Breeders Crown championship in 1984. Their involvement in the sport spanned several decades and nearly every level of participation - from caretaker to Hall of Fame.
The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administrates the Breeders Crown races, felt the naming of these trophies a fitting tribute to their lasting legacies.
"Both Andy and John were passionate about this sport and contributed immeasurably to both the Breeders Crown and the success of the Hambletonian Society,” said Tom Charters, president of the Hambletonian Society. "They were life-long friends who took the responsibility of their roles in maintaining and promoting championship racing very seriously – and also took delight in watching the top level of competition created by these events.”
Crystal Apex Awards and Design of Sheridan, Ontario, handcrafts the winner's trophies that feature 12-inch high crystal monoliths individually deep-etched to carry the ornate Breeders Crown logo. Each crystal piece is mounted atop a tiered ebonized wood base with a hand engraved plaque bearing the name of the Breeders Crown champion. (Breeders Crown)