12/19/2012 5:19PM

Harness Racing: Voting Anomalies


The champions of the harness world in 2012 were revealed this week. But some strange voting anomalies were produced which seem worth mentioning.

First, let’s congratulate Trotter of the Year and likely Horse of the Year (announced Thursday) Chapter Seven. He had a spectacular season and deserved the honor. Similarly, Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous had a terrific year of his own. He became the first 2-year-old pacer in 25 years to win the honor.

Other winners were: Somwherovrarainbow (2yo Filly Pacer); Heston Blue Chip (3yo Male Pacer); American Jewel (3yo Filly Pacer); Foiled Again (Older Male Pacer); Anndrovette (Older Mare Pacer); Wheeling N Dealin (2yo Male Trotter); To Dream On (2yo Filly Trotter); Market Share (3yo Male Trotter); Check Me Out (3yo Filly Trotter); Frenchfrysnvinegar (Older Mare Trotter).

Perhaps the strangest vote came in the Pacer of the Year category. Captaintreacherous was the clear winner receiving 48 of 145 votes. Somehow Michael’s Power, who was defeated by Heston Blue Chip 68 to 50 in the 3-year-old male pacing vote, finished second with 24 votes in the Pacer of the Year tally.

How is it possible that voters felt Michael’s Power did not deserve to be the best in his division but gave him 15 more votes for Pacer of the Year than Heston Blue Chip (24 to 9)? I guess this means that those who voted for Michael’s Power in one category were diehard fans of the colt and stayed with him for both awards.

I have to take exception with the three people who voted for Put On A Show for Pacer of the Year. Yes, she posted one of the fastest miles of the year (1:47 3/5), but is that really the only thing that matters? She was ranked 41st in total earnings in 2012. That is not a Pacer of the Year. And to the one person that voted for Bettor Sweet . . . I like the horse, but 3 wins in 17 starts does not cut the mustard for a title.

With all due respect to the voters, I can’t figure out who studied the data and the races and thought Handsoffmycookie and Darena Hanover were more deserving than American Jewel for 3-year-old filly pacer honors. American Jewel was much faster, had a far superior record and earned almost triple each of those fillies.

While I wasn’t surprised, I was disappointed that Rocklamation could only muster 25 votes to Anndrovette’s 72 and Put On A Show’s 41 in the older pacing mare division. Although Rocklamation had as many or more stakes wins and won more money than her peers, she was left in the dust in the voting. This shows you that name recognition is very important in these awards. You have to be nearly flawless to overcome stars from former years.

I was pleased to see that the Trotter of the Year voting was close between Chapter Seven and Market Share (89 to 50). Both horses were very deserving. Also pleasing was Wheeling N Dealin not being penalized for failing to start in the United States. He was the best in his division by far.

I can’t imagine how Fashion Athena garnered two votes in the 2-year-old filly trotting ranks. Across the board she did not deserve consideration against either winner To Dream On or runner-up Bee A Magician.

While I’m not surprised that Market Share did not get all 146 votes (he got 140), I can’t fathom how someone voted for Archangel. The latter had a fine year, but I can’t see the criteria which would make him more deserving than Market Share as the top 3-year-old male trotter.

Finally, Arch Madness has put together a spectacular career and I have to hand it to any horse that has his own twitter handle (@TheArchMadness), but c’mon, he did not deserve his one vote over Chapter Seven.

Nitpicking aside, all of the winners were more than worthy. Congratulations to all of the owners, trainers and drivers involved and best of luck to the horses which return in 2013.