12/15/2011 5:39PM

Tim Tetrick not worthy?


Each December my ballot arrives for the U.S. Harness Writers Association Dan Patch Awards. While voting in the horses’ categories are open to all competitors, the human nominees are narrowed down and selected by individual Chapters of the organization.

Six finalists made it on the ballot in the Driver of the Year category. Deserving nominees like George Brennan, Ron Pierce, Dan Noble, and perhaps Dave Palone and Dave Miller top the list, which also includes the laughable nomination of Kevin Switzer Jr., who has dominated against inferior competition on the New England circuit.

Where is Tim Tetrick?

You know, the guy who leads North America in earnings with $15,528,867 (as of 12/14), over $1 million ahead of Brennan in second. The same driver who ranks third in the country in wins (726), just 19 and 11 behind Noble and Brennan, respectively. How is possible that you could lead in earnings and be third in wins but 11 Chapters shun you from an award that you should obviously have an opportunity to win?

Truth in advertising, I voted with my chapter for Brennan. Tetrick would have been my second choice. With Noble leading the nation in wins, I would certainly have placed him third. After those top three, I just don’t see how a strong case can be made for the rest.

I have no problem with each Chapter selecting nominees, but clearly a final committee is needed to add in those that were unfairly left out in the cold. Tim, you were robbed. You have my apologies.

Pacer of the Year

The most interesting battle on this year’s horse ballot is clearly Pacer of the Year. There are top older rivals We Will See and Foiled Again, rookie standouts Sweet Lou and Economy Terror, and Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe.

After serious deliberation I determined that it should come down to We Will See or Foiled Again. Why? Sweet Lou would have needed to win the Governor’s Cup to get my consideration. He hung his saddle pad up one start too early. Economy Terror was awesome late but could not handle American Jewel when she was healthy. I can’t give her the top title when she may have been the second best in her division. Roll With Joe was the best 3-year-old, but his 6 for 14 record doesn’t scream Pacer of the Year in my book.

Now down to two candidates I am still left with a conundrum. I simply can’t separate We Will See and Foiled Again. The former has more impressive wins (Canadian Pacing Derby, Ben Franklin) in terms of quality, while the latter won more money ($1,405,747 to $1,242,745) and sports three more wins.

So, my vote is up for grabs. Should 2011’s Pacer of the Year be We Will See or Foiled Again?

I’m open for your thoughts.

Michael More than 1 year ago
Tetrick is known to many as "the slot track king". Could you imagine what Walter Case Jr. would have done driving 30 races a day for a year? And at slot enhanced tracks [Dover]. Case had 1,077 wins in UNDER 3,000 drives. Took Tetrick over 4,700 drives to acomplish it. Most of Tetricks wins came at Dover/Harrington against some of the worst drivers on the planet. Just a fact.
elan cherney More than 1 year ago
Top Driver MUST come from the top tracks. Switzer is a wizz in the "minors", but Triple A ain't the Majors. Georgie is having an incredible year, and deserves it, but Tetrick is the most amazing I've seen on every size track day in and day out. He takes his game to Woodbine and beats their best, then drives the next day at a half miler or five-eighths in the mid West and beats their best, then back to New York or New Jersey to beat the best here. Case was the best I'd ever seen at a half mile track sorry (Carmine and Luc) and , and Campbell could drive with any one on a mile track. Five-eighths is Palone and a couple others, but Tetrick clearly is head and shoulders above anyone (yes, even Sears) going from track to track. Give it to Georgie this year, he has truly taken his game to another level, but my money will always key Tetrick.
Pat D More than 1 year ago
besides Water Case, I have never seen someone get the most out of a horse like George Brennan. Also, I know you won't brag, but thanks for that superfecta on friday. Fans, it returned $9000.00 . Way to go DG, thanks.
JOHN More than 1 year ago
Something like this voting in would think you have to take many things into consideration. Bottom line GEORGIE is knocking em dead against 3rd rate competition usually sitting on the best horse especially when PENA was sending out 8 or 9 a nite pulling GEOGIE's arms out beause they were as "HIGH AS A KITE". Wheras people like TETRICK SEARS etal were driving against A1 competion most of the time and also out of town where GEORGIE usually does not have a horse to compete because owners want the guy's who are TOP SHELF on a MILE TRACK where most of the big races are contested. Yes, we know GEORGIE won his first driving title on a MILER and guess who trained the majority of his winners(DUH).
Baron More than 1 year ago
"Truth in advertising, I voted with my chapter for Brennan." I guess you must have "assumed" that Tetrick was a shoe to be in the top 6 Drivers of the Year ,so you voted for Brennan and now you are annoyed that he is not on the list!! UGH!!?? All of us not what you get when you "assume" something !! This is another example of "American Idol" mentality where a contestant looks to be a cinch to make it through the next week and people do not vote for that person and they go Bye Bye - it has happened a ton of times. You want the "truth" - for you to write this article as an injustice to Tetrick being left out is simply ludicrous considering YOU DID not even vote for him yourself - com'on you can't have it both ways. Next time maybe you vote the way you should and you then possibly you get the expected result!! [If I had the knowledge that Tetrick was not going to be voted by any other chapter, I still would have been torn because Brennan is the better choice, in my opinion. I never assumed that Tetrick would have been on a ballot. I simply voted for the person who deserved it most. My feeling is that there were only three legit candidates - Brennan, Tetrick and Noble. - DG]
Brandon More than 1 year ago
DG, I understand your outrage over Tetrick not being on the list and its something that leaves me with a baffled look. If Kevin Switzer Jr. is on the list than I think that "Jersey" Joe Shwind should be a finalist as well.
jlove More than 1 year ago
Derick, Couple of quick points. Driver of the year in my opinion is a no contest this year. You needed only be on track hambo day to see the leading driver lock it up. Georgie had a career year and will not be denied. Tetrick's absence is absolutely a travesty but truth is it was for the runner up spot that he would have been vying. On the Pacer of the Year front I cant recall a year where the crop was lacking of a true star. You definitely have it down to the right horses but I just wouldnt fear either horse going forward. My vote would come down to head to head (don't know if that happened - can't recall. Keep up the good work and please do follow up if you here any news about Walter's return. He was the BEST I have ever seen.
Allan More than 1 year ago
I made a mistake as I thought you were talking about the older Switzer. I think you took a cheap shot at Kevin Switzer Jr, when you said his nomination is laughable. Harness racing is not just the mid-Atlantic. Switzer is having a career year with 302 victories and a .382 UDR. Yes, Maine may not be Chester but his nomination is legitimate. I think you could have made your point without trashing Switzer. [I respect Switzer's ability as a driver (though I can't say I have seen him drive much) and in no way was I trying to trash him. BUT to say that Switzer deserves to be included in the DRIVER of the YEAR voting is crazy in my mind. He is not a leader in the wins or earnings categories. What I find interesting is that in UDRS he is fifth behind leader Shawn Gray (.440 to .382), another Maine regular. So, I'm not even sure Switzer had the best year in his home state. -DG]
Allan More than 1 year ago
Foiled Again. He was known as a one track horse, Yonkers Raceway, and he turned into a horse that can win anywhere on anysize track. Also, he raced all year starting in the dead of winter. To me, leaving him off the ballot would be a shame. As of leaving Tim Tetrick off the list, as you know the chapters nominated drivers. Perhaps Tim driving all over kept him from being the 'local favorite' As for Ken Switzer, no he may not be up to the level of the others, but he has been a mainstay on the Maine circuit for many years and still drives well. He has longevity going for him and in this sport, longevity counts for something.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Foiled Again "period". As for driver how in all honesty can you reward a driver for being the flavor of the day most of the year and getting the wins and money earned. The horse and trainer awards mean something, forget the drivers or as I call them "sulky salesmen". I've owned many a horse and heard many drivers say make sure I get a shot I'll stick with you and I use them start after start then up pops the now horse and I list my driver and he turns me down then I'm left searching for a fit for my horse.