As we head into awards season, here’s some interesting factoids

As we head into awards season, here are some interesting factoids

December 17, 2022

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by Bob Heyden

The 2022 harness racing season is winding down and the first order of business is driver updates.

Jason Bartlett has been flirting with becoming the first driver ever to post a $10 million season and have a .400 UDRS. He began Dec. 15 at $11,246,273 on the strength of 2,494 starts 620 wins 438 seconds and 341 thirds .392.

Lifetime, Bartlett is #13 all time at $137,719,918 with Tony Morgan just above him.

Yannick Gingras began Dec. 15 just $89,000 shy of the #4 spot held by Ron Pierce at over $215 million.

If not for COVID-19 in 2020, Tim Tetrick would be looking at his 16th straight $10 million season. In 2020, he finished at $9,922,544.

Todd McCarthy will end 2022 with his best year at $9.4 million. He is the lone driver to win in sub-1:47 in back-to-back years with the same horse: Allywag Hanover —1:46 and 1:46.4 this year and a 2021 leading 1:46.4.

MACH THREE’S BIG SEASON

He’s gone now, but a look at the older pacers of 2022 and you see Mach Three’s imprint everywhere. Consider his son Leonidas A ($431,000, 11-for-22) grandson Funatthebeach ($589,000, 10-for-33), great grandsons Allywag Hanover ($475,000 and 1:46) and Rockyroad Hanover (a winner in 1:46.2)

GOOD GUY AND HOY

The Good Guy award winner has been connected to the Horse of the Year in the same season seven times before and it could be eight times if Jack Darling and Bulldog Hanover are so honored.

The past winners of this daily double are:

Bruce Saunders 2010 with Rock N Roll Heaven

Steve Elliott 2007 with Donato Hanover

George Teague, Jr 2004 with Rainbow Blue

John Campbell 2002 with Real Desire

Lou Guida 1987 with Mack Lobell

Stanley Dancer 1976 with Keystone Ore

Del Miller 1974 with Delmonica Hanover

RISING STARS THAT MADE THE HALL OF FAME

Four former Rising Star winners ended up in the Hall of Fame, all drivers:

1991 Brian Sears

1993 Dave Miller

2003 Yannick Gingras

2007 Tim Tetrick

TROTTER OF THE YEAR TRAINERS

This will be the 53rd year that the Trotter of the Year Award will be given out. The first two decades it stayed in the U.S., but in the last three decades it seems to be sailing elsewhere. Take A Look:

1970 Canadian Joe O’Brien won the first ever TOY with Fresh Yankee. In the next 20 years all awards went to a U.S.-born trainer.

Yet, from 1991 to 2021, 21 of 31 times, it has gone to a trainer born outside the country and could be 22 of 32 times this year if Nifty Norman-trainer Bella Bellini is so honored.

The TOY has gone to Sweden 11 times, Canada 6 times, New Zealand twice, Norway once and Australia once

UNAMINITY

Hopefully after the dinner in February this becomes more relevant. Just twice in thoroughbred history has a Horse of the Year been unanimous.

In 1981, all 191 writers/broadcasters voted for John Henry.

In 2015, all 261 writers/broadcasters voted for American Pharaoh.

For 2022, Bulldog Hanover could do the same.

HISTORY OF 4YO PACERS WINNING HOY

Here’s the list of the 11 4-year-old pacers that have been voted Horse of the Year:

1959 Bye Bye Byrd 20 13-5-0 1:57.4 on a half mile record. He was voted HOY 46-14 over Adios Butler.

1960 Adios Butler 17 12-3-0, $173,114. He took a world record 1:54.3 TT mark. 83-6 over Countess Adios in first place votes, even though she was fourth overall.

1966 Bret Hanover, his third straight award. 20 17-2-1 1:53.3 TT record $407,534 a new earnings mark. 161-28 over a fellow “Hanover” Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover.

1973 Sir Dalrae 27 20-3-1, $307,354 187-7 over Hambletonian winner Flirth. 1:56 best winning time.

1972 Albatross 26 20-4-1, $459,921 (first to make a million dollars combined in back to back years) 136-48 over stablemate Super Bowl in HOY balloting.

1983 Cam Fella 36-30-4-2, the most wins and most starts for a HOY. Earned $1,144,056. 183-90 over Triple Crown winner Ralph Hanover in the voting. 1:53.1 career mark taken at 4 in a dead-heat at the Meadowlands with Walt Hanover.

1986 Forrest Skipper 155-90 over undefeated freshman sensation Jate Lobell (16-for-16). Both were undefeated. Forrest Skipper was 15-for-15 to the tune of $637,675 with a 1:50.3 TT mark.

1989 Matts Scooter 30 23-3-1, $1,140,994 the last HOY to have started 30 times. Had a 1:50.1 race mark (the year after his 1:48.2 TT) 176-71 over Peace Corps.

1992 Artsplace 16-for-16 $932,325. 1:49.2 world race record. 243-30 over Western Hanover (his stablemate from the year prior).

1993 Staying Together 26 21-1-0, $1169,155 181-44 over Presidential Ball giving Bob McIntosh two straight 4-year-olds who won HOY and set the race record 1:48.2.

2002 Real Desire 13 10-1-1, $1,059,790 93-44 over Kadabra. 1:48.2 mark

2022 Bulldog Hanover will be just the second 4-year-old pacer of the 21st century to win the award and his $1,649,906 is not only the 2022 high water mark, but the highest money total since 2016 for any horse.

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