by Bob Heyden
Interesting notes and numbers from the 2020 Dan Patch winners:
1. Dan Patch-winning brothers! Nice job by Andrew McCarthy with Ramona Hill and Todd McCarthy with Anoka Hanover. Each driving brother won a division title with a trotting filly. Females were also in the spotlight in 2014 when Trace Tetrick won the 3YOFP division with Colors A Virgin over Sayitallbb 106-40. Tim Tetrick drove the Horse of the Year J K She’salady her final two starts to wrap up the title, and also was the regular driver behind Androvette who tied with Rocklamation for the Older Pacing Mare title. Tim also drove the Trotting Mare Of The Year Classic Martine.
2. The Trotter of the Year and Pacer of the Year awards were started in 1970. Before that, it was Horse of the Year only.
3. Prior to 1978, there was only one award per age and gait, with males and females combined as in a Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year. Since ’78, each division has honored both a male and female horse.
4. Gimpanzee as Trotter Of The Year follows Greenshoe in 2019, both for trainer Marcus Melander. This year, three different sets of stablemates won year-end awards:
Nifty Norman— Fire Start Hanover (2YOFP) and Amigo Volo (3YOCT).
Nancy Takter (3) — Kissin In The Sand (Older Pacing Mare), Manchego (Older Trotting Mare) and Tall Dark Stranger (HOY, Pacer of the Year and 3YOCP).
Chris Ryder— Bettors Wish (Older Pacing Male) and Party Girl Hill (3YOFP).
Note: Owner Of The Year” the Pinske stable had three — Venerate, Amigo Volo and Fire Start Hanover.
5. Thirty years elapsed from a trotter winning the Breeders Crown/division title at 2-3-4. It happened with Peace Corps then and with Mack Lobell in 1986-1987-1988. Gimpanzee now joins that elite company.
6. Why has no horse repeated as HOY in the 21st century? For starters, 11 of 21 retired after winning it, including Tall Dark Stranger this year. Moni Maker doubled up in 1998-1999, as did Mack Lobell 1987-1988, Cam Fella 1982-1983 and Niatross 1979-1980.
7. Six of the 12 Breeders Crown winners also won their divisions. Oddly, not Tall Dark Stranger (second) or Party Girl Hill (third) the top two in the Horse of the Year tally.
8. Dexter Dunn had five division winners the year he turned 31 — Fire Start Hanover, Manchego, Kissin In The Sand, Party Girl Hill and Bettors Wish. Tim Tetrick set the all-time record of seven division title-winners in 2012, the year he turned 31 — Chapter Seven, Market Share, Check Me Out, Captaintreacherous, Heston Blue Chip, American Jewel and Anndrovette.
9. Tall Dark Stranger is the 19th winner from the male sophomore pacing division (26 per cent) in the 74 years of balloting to be named Horse of the Year.
1949 — Good Time 19 15-2-1 First to come back and do it again (in 1952 at age 6).
1957 — Torpid 22 19-1-2 John Simpson, Sr.’s lone HOY.
1965 — Bret Hanover 24 21-3-0. The only pacer to win three HOY titles.
1971 — Albatross 28 25-2-1. The richest one and two season horse $558G-$1 million+ covering the ‘71-‘72 seasons.
1976 — Keystone Ore 33 22-9-1 back-to-back for Stanley Dancer on this list.
1978 — Abercrombie 33 22-6-3. The first to $700,000 in a single season. Sired Artsplace.
1980 — Niatross 26 24-0-0. Rewrote record books with a $1.4 million season. He out-earned all thoroughbreds, too, in 1980.
1982 and 1983— Cam Fella 33 28-2-0 in 1982 (and started 69 times in two HOY seasons).
1985 — Nihilator 25 23-1-0. The last to retire as the richest and fastest ever and the first to $3 million lifetime among pacers.
1990 — Beach Towel 23 18-4-0. The first to eclipse $2 million in one year.
1991 — Precious Bunny 25 20-3-1. Back-to-back $2 million single seasons between him and Beach Towel.
1994 — Cams Card Shark 18 15-2-0. Died in 2020.
2000 — Gallo Blue Chip 29-19 5-1. The richest single-season gelding.
2003 — No Pan Intended 21 17-3-0. The only Triple Crown and Breeders Crown winner.
2005 — Rocknroll Hanover 18 12-4-2. Brett Pelling’s lone HOY.
2008 — Somebeachsomewhere 15 14-1-0. The last sophomore named HOY to also set the single season money record and the 11th to do so.
2010 — Rock N Roll Heaven 21 16-2-1.
2015 — Wiggle It Jiggleit. The last $2 million single-season earner.
2020 — Tall Dark Stranger. The only millionaire in 2020 in all of standardbred racing. Both he and his sire, Bettors Delight (2001) won their divisions.
10. Worldwide awards? For sure. Drivers who won awards in 2020 with the horses they drove:
Dexter Dunn (5) — NEW ZEALAND
Andrew McCarthy (1) — AUSTRALIA
Todd McCarthy (1) — AUSTRALIA
Yannick Gingras (1) — CANADA
Dave Miller (2) — USA
Brian Sears (1) — USA
Andy Miller (1) — USA
Trainers who won awards in 2020 with horses they trained:
Noel Daley (1) — AUSTRALIA
Nifty Norman (2) — NEW ZEALAND
Marcus Melander (1) — SWEDEN
Tony Alagna (1) — USA
Chris Ryder (2) — NEW ZEALAND
Nancy Takter (3) — SWEDEN / USA
Joe Holloway (1) — USA
Julie Miller (1) — USA
Finally, my Morning Line for the 2021 Horse of the Year:
Perfect Sting 3-1
Test Of Faith 3-1
Party Girl Hill 7-2
Amigo Volo 5-1
Delayed Hanover 8-1