The fans are the life blood of the harness racing industry, and it's the fans who vote for their all-stars in the Railbird Recognition awards. This is a two part honor that recognizes the most relevant racing moment as well as the most outstanding horse person of the year. 2012 provided an array of worthy candidates for both categories, but when it was all said and done, the fans knew history when they saw it.
After more than 6,000 votes were cast on the U.S. Trotting Association website, Dave Palone swept both awards.
The racing moment of the year occurred on July 6th at the Meadows when Palone won race number 15,181 and surpassed legend Herve Filion to become the all-time leading dash driver in North America. Palone garnered 25% of the votes for this category and was easily the fans' choice.
The affable Pennsylvanian was also selected horse person of the year for becoming the new leader in lifetime wins, a record he is certain to own for a long, long time. But that victory gave credence to the saying that "every vote counts” as he was only 15 tallies ahead of Linda Toscano for her unbelievable 2012 season with Chapter Seven, Market Share and Heston Blue Chip.
Palone will need a shopping cart for his hardwares this year as he will also receive the "W.R. Haughton Good Guy Award” from USHWA (the United States Harness Writers Association, co-sponsors of the "Railbirds” with the USTA) and the "Man of the Year Award” from Harness Horsemen International (HHI).
Dave Palone will be honored on Sunday (March 3) at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of Harness Congress VI weekend, to be held at the Westin Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Further information about the banquet, the Congress, and related events is available at www.ushwa.org< http://www.ushwa.org/%3E. (USHWA)