By taking 123 of the 131 votes, Rock N Roll Heaven enjoyed a winning night at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet Sunday, with his connections picking up trophies for 3-year-old male pacer of the year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North.
Lucky Chucky, who was the 3-year-old male trotter of the year, won Trotter of the Year in a close vote over older female trotter of the year Buck I St Pat.
The awards were voted upon and presented by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Rock N Roll Heaven received 123 of 131 votes for Horse of the Year. Buck I St Pat and older male pacer of the year Won The West both received two. Four other horses each got one vote.
In the race for Pacer of the Year, Rock N Roll Heaven received 127 votes. Won The West got two votes while 2-year-old filly pacer of the year See You At Peelers and One More Laugh each got one.
Rock N Roll Heaven completed his career with a 10-race win streak that included a world-record performance in the Little Brown Jug. The colt was driven primarily by Daniel Dube, trained by Bruce Saunders and owned by Frank Bellino. He won 16 of 21 races and earned $2.15 million.
In addition to the Little Brown Jug, which he won in consecutive heats with back-to-back world-record-equaling 1:49.2 miles, Rock N Roll Heaven’s victories included the Breeders Crown, Tattersalls Pace, Battle of the Brandywine, and Messenger Stakes.
Lucky Chucky, who earned his second consecutive division crown, won Trotter of the Year, 60-54, over Buck I St Pat in the closest vote for the award since 1976 when Steve Lobell defeated Keystone Pioneer, 98-94. Muscle Massive, the 3-year-old colt who won the Hambletonian, got seven votes.
In 2009, Lucky Chucky won the 2-year-old male trotter title. He follows Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe and Donato Hanover as the fourth consecutive trotter to win division honors at ages 2 and 3, plus Trotter of the Year as a 3-year-old.
Buck I St Pat has won three consecutive awards for best older female trotter, joining Moni Maker (1997-2000), Peace Corps (1990-92), Scenic Regal (1987-89) and Fresh Yankee (1969-72) as mares to earn the honor at least three years in a row. Buck I St Pat was named on all 131 ballots returned for the older female trotter of the year award, making her the only unanimous selection this year.
Award-winners were recognized Sunday in 12 age-based divisions for trotters and pacers.
Other division winners were 2-year-old male trotter Pastor Stephen, 2-year-old male pacer Big Jim, 2-year-old filly trotter Crys Dream, 3-year-old filly trotter Bar Slide, 3-year-old filly pacer Put On A Show, older male trotter Enough Talk, and older female pacer Dreamfair Eternal.
Enough Talk claimed his second award for best older male trotter; he won previously in 2008. He joins Mr Muscleman (2004-05) and No Sex Please (1990 and 1992) as the only horses to win twice in the last 34 years.
Won The West captured his second consecutive division title as best older male pacer. He joins Mister Big (2007-08) and Red Bow Tie (1998-99) as the only horses to pull off the double in the last 32 years.
Among the other award winners, Pastor Stephen won the closest balloting since 1988. He defeated Manofmanymissions by one vote, 56-55. In 1988, Esquire Spur defeated Park Avenue Joe 82.5-82 in voting for 3-year-old male trotter.
See You At Peelers finished the year with 13 wins in 13 races and became only the second 2-year-old filly pacer to win her Dan Patch Award with an undefeated season. My Little Dragon, who was 6-for-6 in 2005, was the first.
Put On A Show won 12 of 16 starts and $1.16 million this year, pushing her career earnings to $1.89 million and setting the record for highest earnings for a filly pacer. Miss Easy held the record, with $1.77 million earned in 1990-91.
HORSE OF THE YEAR
PACER OF THE YEAR
3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER OF THE YEAR
Rock N Roll Heaven
Rocknroll Heaven-Artistic Vision-Artsplace
Breeders: Steve Stewart, Charles “Cotton” Nash, Julie Nash, Francene Nash.
Owner: Frank Bellino.
Trainer: Bruce Saunders. Driver: Dan Dube.
Races: 21-16-2-1. Purses: $2.15 million. Mark: 1:47.3 at the Meadowlands.
Top wins: $604,100 Little Brown Jug; 604,000 Tattersalls; $500,000 Breeders Crown.
TROTTER OF THE YEAR
3-YEAR-OLD-MALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR
Windsong’s Legacy-Aerobics-Muscles Yankee
Breeder: Perretti Farms.
Owners: SGS Partners, Perretti Racing Stable, Lindy Racing Stable
Trainer: Chuck Sylvester. Driver: John Campbell.
Races: 11-5-3-1. Purses: $1.43 million. Mark: 1:50.4 at the Red Mile.
Top wins: $970,000 Canadian Trotting Classic; $500,000 Colonial.
2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR
Cantab Hall-Gala Dream-Enjoy Lavec
Breeder: Brittany Farms.
Owners: Christina Takter, John Fielding, Brittany Farms.
Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras.
Races: 11-6-4-0. Purses: $653,748. Mark: 1:56.0 at Mohawk.
Top wins: $485,000 William Wellwood Memorial; $98,489 Champlain.
2-YEAR-OLD-FILLY TROTTER OF THE YEAR
3-YEAR-OLD-FILLY TROTTER OF THE YEAR
Yankee Glide-Marla Bar-Malabar Man
Breeder: Fair Winds Farm.
Owners: Fredericka Caldwell, Bluestone Farms.
Trainer: Joe Holloway. Driver: Tim Tetrick.
Top wins: $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $70,500 Bluegrass.
OLDER MALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR
OLDER FEMALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR
2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER OF THE YEAR
2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER OF THE YEAR
3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER OF THE YEAR
OLDER MALE PACER OF THE YEAR
OLDER FEMALE PACER OF THE YEAR
(Harness Racing Communications)