USHWA announces more award winners
December 22, 2015
« Return to News
The United States Harness Writers Association, the industry's organization of communicators, announced on Tuesday several 2015 award winners, including Montrell Teague as Rising Star and Gabe Prewitt as the Breakthrough recipient.
Also, Joann Looney-King was named winner of the 2015 Good Guy Award; Joanne Young with the Unsung Hero Award; Hanover Shoe Farms as the Breeder of the Year; and Margie Seelster and Mozzi Hanover as the Broodmares of the Year.
Hanover Shoe Farms led the industry in money won by its graduates for the 67th straight year--ever since records started to be kept. Hanover "offspring” had earned $29,920,074 this season through Sunday, Dec. 20, only $92,135 shy of their own all-time one year record of $30,016,209, set in 2012. Granted, this is not "prime time” for racing opportunities, but Hanover could still rewrite the record – especially seeing as their produce earned $88,595 between Thursday and Sunday.
Hanover was also the seller of Pacing Broodmare of the Year Mozzi Hanover as a yearling. The daughter of Jenna's Beach Boy-Movie Star Laag was purchased by a partnership that included George Teague Jr., who campaigned her successfully as a racehorse. In the summer of 2012, Teague went back and purchased "Mozzi” with a suckling colt at her side – that baby of course turning out to be Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015's Harness Horse of the Year, a winner of over $2 million in 2015 with a 1:47.4 mark, a sophomore who earned admiration throughout the harness community for his talent, durability, and courage.
Teague's son, Montrell, won the Rising Star Award, for trainer/drivers 35 years of age or less. Montrell, who will turn 25 the day after New Year's, went into 2015 with fewer than 700 lifetime wins. However, in the ultimate "pressure cooker” of weekly being the driver of the horse to beat in a major stake, his handling of Wiggle It Jiggleit, by turns aggressive and temporizing as needed, marked him as a star--right now, let alone "Rising”--no doubt with an occasional word of guidance from his dad. Montrell also showed a level-headedness in handling whatever racing fortunes were thrown at him, and was friendly and cooperative with the media despite its blazing spotlight on him all year.
When Wiggle It Jiggleit won a qualifier at the Teagues' home base of Harrington Raceway on April 22, finishing second in that race was a fellow sophomore named Wakizashi Hanover, who is trained by Looney-King. Wakizashi Hanover would go on to win $1.15 million in 2015, winning the North America Cup at Mohawk over his chief foe and giving Wiggle It Jiggleit all he wanted on several other occasions. Through it all Looney-King, a pioneering female driver who now focuses on training, maintained delight in her horse's performances, a warm nature which was conveyed to the media throughout the season, and which earned her the Harness Writers' Good Guy Award.
Young, the Director of Development for the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y., oversees membership as well as the sale of the bricks and pavers that are a unique feature of the entrance to the Museum. For basically contacting people to request money from them, doing so with a smile, and NEVER getting turned down for a request, Young is truly an Unsung Hero in the continued success of the Hall/Museum, and thus was voted the Unsung Hero Award by USHWA.
This year's Breakthrough Award winner Prewitt serves as the announcer during the fall meet at The Red Mile and in several managerial capacities during the Grand Circuit meet. At 32, the multi-talented Prewitt has already served as a horsemen's representative, media representative, and "manager of post times” (an important job in this simulcasting era) as well as announcer at Pompano Park. He also currently serves as executive director of the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association.
Margie Seelster, a daughter of Angus Hall–Meadowbranch Gal. Like her pacing counterpart Mozzi Hanover, Margie Seelster struck it big with her first foal–Pinkman, this past season's Trotter of the Year, a winner of $2.4 million lifetime with a mark of 1:51, and the Hambletonian winner, all under the tutelage of trainer Jimmy Takter. An ownership combine of Team Takter has since purchased Margie Seelster.
All of the winners will be presented their awards during the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held on Sunday, March 6, at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale Fla. Information on dinner tickets, accommodations, and related topics for the event can be found at http://www.ushwa.org/. (edited from USHWA)