Tim Tetrick, who came east at the end of last season as a hugely-promising but untested driver on the national scene, has parlayed a record total of dash victories into an earning of the Rising Star Award as voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, while Steve Elliott, 2007’s leader in training champion performers, was given the nod for the Garnsey Memorial Trainer of the Year Award--for both of them, their second award as voted by the writers.
Also taking down victories were Teague Inc., winning the Woolworth Memorial Owner of the Year trophy, and Rodney Mitchell, who earned the Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award for an up-and-coming non-trainer-driver.
Tetrick, indefatigable, tactically sound, and with the magic “hands” that define all great drivers, broke Walter Case Jr.’s single-season record of 1,077 visits to Victory Lane in November of this year while also showing that he could certainly compete with the best sulkysitters of the day. In addition to his ascension as defined by the Rising Star Award, Tetrick had earlier--and unanimously--won the Driver of the Year Award from USHWA.
Elliott was the conditioner of Donato Hanover, the single-season money-winning trotter record-setter, and the co-fastest trotter of all time at 1:50.1. Elliott's work with Donato would put him among the top candidates in the Garnsey Memorial Trainer category, but then you “throw in” lightning-fast fillies Southwind Tempo and Lady Annie, Breeders Crown winner Artistic Fella--and you see why the Garnsey Memorial Trainer trophy will be joining the W.R. Haughton Good Guy Award previously voted by the scribes for Elliott’s cooperation with the press, under the pressure of handling a champion horse.
Teague Inc. may have sounded like an awfully-fancy title to brother-sister team George Teague Jr. and Brenda Teague as they paid their harness dues, but having firmly established themselves at the highest level of ownership, the corporate designation befits the owners as such horses as Southwind Lynx, winner of two $1 million races; Hambletonian Oaks champ Danae; and Breeders Crown victress Artcotic. Teague Inc. thus joins another name known for success: the late Norman Woolworth, for whom the Owner-of-the-Year trophy is named.
Danae and Artcotic are also part-owned by Rodney Mitchell, a real estate developer who has developed into an “overnight success”after 20 years in the horseowning business, and is the winner of the Barasch Memorial Breakthrough Award. Also an owner of a successful raceway operation, Mitchell may be low-key, but he is very cooperative, and has helped with funding to advance the work of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.
All of the above awardwinners will be feted at the annual USHWA Awards Banquet, to be held at Dover Downs on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. Tickets for the dinner are available from Scott Warren or Mark Short at (302) 398-7595; congratulatory ads can be obtained from Randy Manges at (859) 351-4595, and hotel reservations can be obtained from www.doverdowns.com or (302) 674 4600, code GUSHWA. (USHWA)