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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