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USTA District 8 announces 2020 award winners

November 06, 2020

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United States Trotting Association District 8 has announced the winners of its 2020 year-end awards. For the second year in a row, George Ducharme has been named Trainer of the Year; Pari-Mutuel Driver of the Year goes to Jason Bartlett; and Leon Bailey is the County Fair Driver of the Year.

Ducharme earned a combined $382,482 in the New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior Series this year with 77 starts. His stable was led by 3-year-old trotting filly Without A Warning, who took home $231,162, and 3-year-old trotting colt Berkery J, who earned $90,530. Ducharme was also the leading money earner at his home track, Vernon Downs, with $132,121 in purses and a 36.2 winning percentage. Overall, Ducharme’s horses have banked $1,298,188 this season and he sports a .403 UTR average.

Bartlett has $1.44 million in combined New York Sire Stakes and Excelsior earnings this season and 53 victories on the circuit. He drove the winners of no less than 40% of the NYSS program finals—five County Fair Champions, three Excelsior Series Champions and two Sire Stakes Champions, including Hobbs (3-year-old trotting colt) and King James Express (2-year-old colt pacer). For the year, Bartlett has guided almost 300 winners to nearly $4.7 million in earnings.

Bailey finished atop the New York County Fair earnings chart with $66,456 in 91 starts. He drove 33 winners, including New York County Fair Champions Mr. Dunnigans (3-year-old pacing colt) and Miley Rose (2-year-old pacing filly), whom he also trained. In addition, Bailey also earned his first driving championship at his home track of Vernon Downs. This is his first USTA award.

Awards will be recognized during the joint NYSS and USTA District 8 virtual banquet taking place this Sunday (Nov. 8) on Facebook Live. The evening will honor champion horses, trainers, drivers, owners and breeders of the NYSS, the Excelsior Series and the New York County Fair Series. USTA District 8 Awards for Horse of the Year will be announced live as part of the broadcast. Also honored that evening will be these USTA divisional champions:

Aela Jamieson – 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly

Owner: Andy Miller Stable Inc, Dumain Haven Farm, Little E LLC

Trainer: Julie Miller


Steel – 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt

Owner: Pinske Stables, Crawford Farms Racing

Trainer: Julie Miller


Albergita Hanover – 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly

Owner: Seth E Coen, George Derocker, Camelot Stable In, Decker's Corner Stable

Trainer: Linda Toscano


Sauvignon Bluechip – 2-Year-Old Pacing Colt

Owner: Robert Sholes, Edward Davis, David Dziengiel

Trainer: David Dziengiel


C And T’s Credit – 3-Year-Old Trotting Filly

Owner: Peter Barbato, Samuel Bova

Trainer: John Stark Jr.


Chaptiama – 3-Year-Old Trotting Colt

Owner: Purple Haze Stables LLC

Trainer: Trond Smedshammer


Hen Party - 3-Year-Old Pacing Filly

Owner: Crawford Farms Racing

Trainer: Tony Alagna


Splash Brother – 3-Year-Old Pacing Colt

Owner: Ray Schnittker, Nolamaura Racing LLC, Steven Arnold, Tammy Ann Flannery

Trainer: Ray Schnittker

“On behalf of our board of directors, I’d like to congratulate this year’s winners,” said USTA District 8 Chairman Todd Haight. “These horses and horsemen are shining examples of the level of quality coming out of this area and each has represented this district well. We are proud to have this opportunity each year to honor their contributions to our sport, especially this year with all the challenges our sport has faced.”

Giveaways will also be presented to two lucky winners throughout the night during the NY Sire Stakes Facebook live event. Tune in during the program to see how you can win. Awards will be mailed to all 2020 winners following the program. Questions about the banquet can be directed to Kelly Young at Kelly.Young@gaming.ny.gov. (NYSS)

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