12/03/2015 6:19PM

Giwner: My Horse of the Year ballot

Mission Brief gets Giwner's nod as top 3-year-old trotting filly.

My ballot for United States Harness Writers Association divisional honors arrived Wednesday. While there are some decisions to be made, unlike in 2014, most of the races seem cut and dry. Let’s take a look at my ballot.


2-year-old male – Southwind Frank

He won 11 of 12 starts including the Breeders Crown and stood out as the best in the division by far.

2-year-old filly – All The Time

My first inclination was to vote for Broadway Donna, but digging deeper I had a change of heart. All The Time won the most important race of the year (Breeders Crown), raced in more Open stakes and compiled comparable statistics to Broadway Donna. Either way, both fillies are very deserving.

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3-year-old male – Pinkman

This is a no-brainer. He won the Hambletonian and $1,892,865 in a brilliant season.

3-year-old filly – Mission Brief

You could argue that Wild Honey earned more money and won the majors—Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Filly Futurity, Breeders Crown—but there is no doubt that Mission Brief was/is the better horse. Mission Brief won more races (10 to 7), went faster (1:50 2/5 to 1:50 4/5) and earned almost as much ($1,008,517 to $1,149,532) as Wild Honey. You need more proof of which filly was better? Check out the off odds on Mission Brief when she faced Wild Honey.

Older Male – JL Cruze

For seven months he was the best older trotter in the sport. That is saying something. He won an amazing 16 times in 21 starts, finished second in earnings in his division and trotted the only sub 1:50 mile of the year (1:49 4/5). While I didn't vote for him, Resolve also belongs in the conversation.

Older Mare – Bee A Magician

She faced boys much of the year and won some of those battles while beating the girls much of the time along the way. She finished up a bit flat but her body of work throughout the year was dominating compared to her rivals.


2-year-old male – Boston Red Rocks

You can make a serious argument for Control The Moment, but no colt finished up the year like Boston Red Rocks and he did top the division in earnings.

2-year-old filly – Pure Country

She was a perfect 10! She led the division in earnings and won the Breeders Crown while going undefeated in 10 starts. I’ll give honorable mention to L A Delight for a spectacular year (11 for 12), but almost perfect is not perfect.

3-year-old male – Wiggle It Jiggleit

He completely and thoroughly dominated while thrilling fans across North America along the way.

3-year-old filly – Divine Caroline

This group took turns winning all year long and to some extent it is hard to say there was a clear-cut champion, but in the end Divine Caroline led them all in earnings and won the Breeders Crown.

Older male – Always B Miki

My hat is off to State Treasurer on a spectacular year, but I never got the same feeling of dominance when he stepped on the track as I did when Always B Miki raced. True, he only started four times, but you can’t fault a horse for not starting due to injury. No one can deny that he was perfect in four starts and had no equal when he raced. Honorable mention also goes to Mach It So and JK Endofanera.

Older female – Venus Delight

She was consistent from start to finish, winning the first stakes race of the year (Blue Chip Matchmaker) and the last (TVG).

Trotter of the Year – Pinkman

Pinkman truly earned this award. Shunned at the start of the year by many (including myself) as the second or third tier among his stablemates alone, Pinkman consistently rose to the occasion. And if you simply like numbers, he earned nearly $750,000 more than the next trotter in the sport for 2015.

Pacer & Horse of the Year – Wiggle It Jiggleit

I was the first one to say that maybe WIJI was being crowned Horse of the Year too soon, so let me be one of the first to anoint him champion. He accomplished the astounding feat of facing the best horses in training from January through November and suffered only minor hiccups along the way. He should be the slam dunk Horse of the Year winner and deserves the accolade.

If you are feeling sad because stakes season is over, you’ll be glad to hear that to my knowledge every name above is coming back to race in 2016. There should be some great racing ahead.

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AL More than 1 year ago
While Always be a Miki did prove in 4 races, he was all that. He however should never get the honor based on that. For 2015 he was just a DH. You can't play baseball 2 weeks out of the season while batting 500 and be considered an Mvp. Talent must be proven race after race. He was never part of the battles. Perhaps he can earn it next year.
Marc Strominger More than 1 year ago
while wiggle it jiggle it is a champion, to say thoroughly dominated,while freaky feet pete who won the breeders crown and defeated him twice in three races against him is a bit strong.
Derick More than 1 year ago
Freaky Feet Pete had a superb year, but he faced weaker foes all year. He didn't have to go the tough miles than Wiggle went.
Diego Brower More than 1 year ago
Freaky feet Pete couldn't handle wakashi Hanover when he was sharp. He caught a battle worn wiggle it twice and uncharacteristically ran by him. The top three year olds battled through out the year going some brutal miles at full speed all the way, no breather.See N. A. Cup, little brown jug, cane lace and others. Lost for words and artspeak were awesome and would destroy Pete at the top of their game. Pete tour the track running up the score against third string bottom of the barrel Indiana state needs. He was relatively fit and untested when be met the battle worn champions of his division. Both wakashi and wiggle easily trounced him when they were sharp. Top three year old pacers based on body of work and completion throughout the year. Wiggle it#1, Wakashi Hanover #2, Artspeak #3, List For Words#4, and Freaky Feet Pete #5. The top four dodged no one and waged war all year long statewide and north of the border. The battle took their toll. Freaky wanted no part of it he was sound but choose to stay home and ran for cheap purses against statebred. He dominated them but it does not translate to top three year old or horse of the year. The two most dominant two year olds were wiggle it jiggle it and Wakashi Hanover. State Treasurer was older pacer slam dunk. Always b mikki would have been no match when he was at the top of his game destroying the best. We'll see next year.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
What about the human divisions?
Derick More than 1 year ago
Thought about including them but didn't want the piece to run on too long. Driver of the Year could be interesting.
Richard Gere More than 1 year ago
Is Ronnie Pierce done for good due to health??
Derick More than 1 year ago
Hasn't made a decision yet. He may return in April but I'm doubting it.