12/19/2014 12:12PM

Giwner: Mindboggling year-end voting results

Nikki Sherman
Datsyuk received one vote as the best 3-year-old trotting colt of the year.

While I completely understand how JK She’salady won Horse of the Year, my logical side is having a hard time with the Pacer of the Year being different from a pacer who won Horse of the Year. But in the overall scheme of things, two deserving horses—JK She’salady and Sweet Lou—will be honored. That I can accept.

 What is a bit harder to swallow is the typical nonsensical voting for horses that simply do not merit a vote. In category after category horses received votes despite falling well short in accomplishments.

I love watching the fine older trotting mare Maven, but in what world could a winner of four races and $321,580 compare with horses that won three and four times the number of races and earnings? How could she possibly receive a vote for Horse of the Year? I doubt she would even make the top 20 of someone who actually watches all of the races.

Foiled Again is arguably one of the best pacers in history, but how could someone determine that he deserves a vote for Pacer of the Year? He only won six of 26 starts and didn’t even break the top five in earnings among pacers. Even worse was Color’s A Virgin, who received a vote despite coming in 14th in earnings and not making any noise in the Breeders Crown.

The above instances are bad enough, but then we have the absolutely insane. Someone please tell me who voted for Sports Chic as the best 2-year-old filly pacer? Let’s look at the tale of the tape between her and JK She’salady:

JK She’salady 12 wins, $883,330 earned, 1:50 1/5 record

Sports Chic: 5 wins, $220,779 earned, 1:54 2/5 record

The numbers above don’t even mention that JK She’salady was undefeated. In the end she is denied being a unanimous winner because some nincompoop decided they were the smartest person in the room.

What about Datsyuk? No disrespect to the horse, but voting for him as the best 3-year-old trotter is simply insane. In what world was he as good as Father Patrick or Nuncio this year? Maybe it is the same world where I am as good a driver as Yannick Gingras. Hopefully I can go hang out there for a while.

I don’t know that the system for voting is flawed, as some on social media have stated. In the end, the majority of the voters are still making logical decisions and the best horses are picking up the hardware. But there are clearly people voting that lack the knowledge to perform the task, cannot be fair and impartial, or simply don’t care.

We (yes, I am a voter) are entrusted with an important task. We need to take it seriously. We need to put our biases on the backburner and think clearly when filling out our ballots. There is a time and a place for our favorites or to mention the “little guy”. I’ll take that time now . . .

Shortest Distance won’t be receiving any national awards, but she deserves a mention for leading North America in victories. The 9-year-old mare currently under the care of Jose Godinez has won 24 of 38 races and earned $65,201 while competing at Saratoga and Monticello.

I’ve given JK She’salady her due for going undefeated. Well, here is a shout out to Roland N Rock, a 2-year-old gelding pacer who won all 14 of his starts in 2014. Nearly all of his victories came on the fair circuit, but he did cap off his year with a score in the American National at Balmoral Park.

Aaron Merriman is unlikely to win an award, but he leads the nation in wins with 811 (as of 10 p.m. on 12/18). You have to give credit to any driver who can put in more than 4,500 starts during the year.

Do you know who Robert Lounsbury is? He leads the nation in U.T.R.S. at .464. I’m not a big fan of the stat which is a weighted average of wins, places and shows, but his 65% in-the-money percentage is certainly worth a mention.

Thank you to all of the horses and horsemen who put on a great show for us fans in 2014. Hopefully the best is yet to come.

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oxandmoose More than 1 year ago
To rid the voting of nincompoops all that needs to be done is assign points to horses finishing 1st - 4th with the stakes racing having the most points awarded and then the state bred races. This would take out the silly votes, owners campaigning for they're horse and horses that race a limited amount. Also there would need to be a slight difference between restricted races, 2 & 3 year-olds, from the open races. Harness racing needs to forget state-lines and work together to promote itself or any horse no matter where they're racing at.
Mary Lou Heitzenroeder More than 1 year ago
As I have stated to the USTA and the USHWA the writers should only vote for Horse of the Year AFTER the votes for Trotter and Pacer of the Year have been counted. Then the vote should be between those two categories to determine Horse of the Year. Simple and no problems.
Philip Sporn More than 1 year ago
How about disclosing the names of the voters of the "one vote" horses and ban them from future voting??