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Takter, Dunn, Pinskes, Brittany take 2020 honors

January 16, 2021
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The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the leading media organization in North American harness racing, has announced the winners of its Dan Patch Awards balloting for excellence exhibited among both equines and humans. The “best of the best” are normally honored at the writers’ Dan Patch Annual Awards Banquet, but that event was canceled this year due to the ongoing health crisis, so a special Virtual Awards show was broadcast Saturday. 
 
The Dan Patch Awards Show will be archived and available on the USHWA website (www.usharnesswriters.com) & USHWA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/USHarnessWriters) and also on USTA’s YouTube channel, on Sunday, January 17, 2021.
 
DRIVER DEXTER DUNN, BREEDER BRITTANY FARMS
REPEAT AS WINNERS IN THEIR DAN PATCH CATEGORY
 
Dexter Dunn, a nine-time winner of the driving title in his native land of New Zealand before the age of 30, has now been in the United States and Canada for two years, and he has been voted Driver of the Year both years. 2020 was an especially rich year for him, in two senses of the word: he was the leading money-winning driver last year with almost $11.2 million bankrolled by his charges, many of whom were voted champions of their respective divisions.
 
In September, October, and November alone in the shortened season, he drove the winners of 26 races worth more than $100,000, including the pacing filly champions in both the 2- and 3-year-old ranks, Fire Start Hanover and Party Girl Hill; the two champions among the older pacing set, stallion Bettor’s Wish and mare Kissin In The Sand; champion trotting mare Manchego; and champion sophomore trotting male Amigo Volo. He again won four Breeders Crown races.
 
During 2021 Brittany Farms has a very good chance of being only the third breeding concern to have been the first home of the winners of $200,000,000 – and that figure achieved despite producing a good many fewer horses than their nearest competitors. They have tied Hanover Shoe Farms as the #1 breeders of Breeders Crown winners at 27.
 
Among the farm’s divisional winners in 2020 were Manchego, Bettor’s Wish, and the undefeated two-year-old colt pacer Perfect Sting. They were third among breeders in 2020, with their progeny earning over $5.5 million – again, with fewer starts that others clustered at the top of the list.
 
 
PINSKE STABLES GIVEN NOD AS OWNERS OF THE YEAR;
KELLY SMITH VOTED LEADING CARETAKER
 
Fifty years in the sport with their familiar gold and green colors, the Pinske Stables, in their current composition Marlys Pinske, her son Karl, and her grandson Carter, had a great year to win the closest vote in all of the Dan Patch categories, 55-48, over another family operation, the Chaffees’ Caviart Farms.
 
The Pinskes were in various tracks’ winners circles after several victories by the richest two-year-olds of both sexes, the trotting colt Venerate ($767,914) and the pacing filly Fire Start Hanover ($592,562), along with the leading three-year-old trotting colt, Amigo Volo, who won his Breeders Crown and the Kentucky Futurity. All three were voted divisional championships in the writers’ Dan Patch balloting (more detail in Racehorse release).
 
The winner of the 2020 Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie’s Fair Island Farm, is Kelly Smith, a longtime worker in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Chuck Sylvester. Smith was nominated by Sylvester himself, who called her “my unsung hero.” Smith began working for Sylvester three decades ago, with one of her first champions being the 1993 Hambletonian Oaks winner Winky’s Goal. Another of Smith’s many champions and one of her all-time favorite horses is 2013 Breeders Crown champion Spider Blue Chip.
 
In all, 16 nominations for the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award were submitted, with Smith chosen as a winner by a select group of seven USHWAns, all of whom were former caretakers themselves.

 
CHAMPION RACEHORSE JK SHE’SALADY NOW 2020 PACING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR;
VOTE FOR TOP TROTTING BROODMARE GOES TO STEAMY WINDOWS
 
Voted Horse of the Year after going undefeated in twelve freshman starts, the Art Major – Presidential Lady pacing mare JK She’salady is also showing her quality as a broodmare by winning that Dan Patch Award against strong opposition. Bred and owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK She’salady from her first two foals has produced two outstanding fillies who ranked among the best of their divisions – the Western Ideal miss JK First Lady, a winner of over $700,000 and a sub-1:50 performer at both two and three, and the Always B Miki distaff JK Alwaysbalady, who won her Breeders Crown elimination then was second in the final. Both raced for 3 Brothers Stable.
 
Her trotting counterpart is Steamy Windows, a daughter of Muscle Massive – Commando Queen who was bred and is owned by Order By Stable. She produced the Trotter of the Year, the Chapter Seven stallion Gimpanzee, who won his third straight Breeders Crown and dominated the free-for-all ranks, raising his career bankroll to $2.7 million. Gimpanzee’s two-year-old full sister, Iteration, won half of her ten freshman starts and bankrolled over $300,000.
 
 
Nancy Takter, trainer of Horse of the Year, was previously announced as the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year after being nominated for the award by all of USHWA’s chapters.
-30-
 
 
VOTING TOTALS
 
130 out of 185 (70.3%) of eligible voters submitted ballots
 
Nancy Takter unanimously selected as Trainer of the Year by USHWA’s chapters
Caretaker of the Year selected by an USHWA panel
 
OWNER OF THE YEAR
 
   
PINSKE STABLES
55
Caviart Farms
48
Crawford Farms
25
abstain
2
   
DRIVER OF THE YEAR
 
   
DEXTER DUNN
114
David Miller
13
abstain
3
   
BREEDER OF THE YEAR
 
   
BRITTANY FARMS
88
Order By Stable
30
Runthetable Stables
7
abstain
5
   
TROTTING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR
 
   
STEAMY WINDOWS
79
Margarita Momma
31
Dunk The Donato
8
Nantab
7
abstain
2
   
PACING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR
 
   
JK SHE'SALADY
48
Great Memories
39
Beachy Girl
31
Swinging Beauty
8
abstain
1
 
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