by Bob Heyden
Some thoughts on Saturday’s virtual Dan Patch Awards:
If Tall Dark Stranger is voted Horse of the Year:
Nancy Takter will join an elite group of two-time (or more) winning HOY trainers.
In addition, she would become the first female to win it twice-breaking a tie with Linda Toscano (2012 Chapter Seven) and Casie Coleman (2018-McWicked).
At age 39, only Takter’s father, Jimmy, has won the HOY trophy with two different horses prior to age 40.
Jimmy, 37 — 1997 Malabar Man
Jimmy, 38 — 1998 Moni Maker
Jimmy, 39 — 1999 Moni Maker
Nancy, 33 — 2014 J K She’s A Lady
Nancy, 39 — 2020 Tall Dark Stranger
Can anyone match Gingras?
Can anyone match Yannick Gingras’ 2017 record? He drove the top four, all females, in that year’s Horse of the Year balloting — the winner Hannelore Hanover, followed by Ariana G, Manchego and Youaremycandygirl.
The last decade has seen Gingras rise to prominence in a big way. He is closing in on $200 million and he’s not yet 42. His 22 Breeders Crown wins in an eight-year period is right up there (2012-2019) and he had five straight $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks wins.
Turning 31 is special
In 2012, Tim Tetrick turned 31 on Nov. 22 and set the all-time mark with seven Dan Patch division winners.
In 2020, Dexter Dunn turned 31 on Sept. 1, and he’s taking a run at Tetrick’s record with a handful of divisional winners anticipated: Party Girl Hill, Kissin In The Sand, Amigo Volo, Bettors Wish and possibly Manchego and Fire Start Hanover.
Down Under celebration?
I hope the people in Australia and New Zealand will be tuning in for the Dan Patch Awards announcements on Saturday (Jan. 16).
New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn appears likely to win the Driver of the Year. He was #1 in earnings this past year and the only driver past $10 million ($11.6M).
Australian Andy McCarthy and Ramona Hill look to be solid in the 3YOFT category. (McCarthy also drove Venerate to victory in the Mohawk Million and that colt is the leading money-winning 2-year-old in the sport for 2020).
Brother Todd McCarthy and Anoka Hanover look to have the inside track on the 2YOFT with Australian Noel Daley the trainer.
Kiwi Nifty Norman and Amigo Volo pretty much dominated the second half of the season in the 3YOCT division.
Down Under’s Brett Pelling’s Test Of Faith was dynamic in her 7-for-8 season. Her only loss was behind a pair of wheel lockers. Her 1:48.4 mark might seal the deal.
New Zealand’s Chris Ryders has two divisional winners for sure 3YOFP Party Girl Hill and OPH Bettors Wish. Can he get his first HOY trophy, too?