11/28/2014 4:47PM

Harness: Gingras named Driver of the Year

Derick Giwner
Yannick Gingras leads all drivers in earnings by over $5 million in 2014.

In harness racing, and often within its media organization, the United States Harness Writers Association, it’s usually impossible to get a unanimous verdict on anything, even whether the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

But in 2014, harness racing and USHWA are unanimously embracing one fact: Yannick Gingras is the Driver of the Year, based on his handling of the winners of more than $16.5 million and a record-tying four triumphs in the recent Breeders Crown series.

For the annual Dan Patch awards given to humans, the chapters of USHWA send in their various nominees, and balloting is conducted among eligible voters of its 220 members, plus a select group of racing secretaries. This year, every chapter sending in a driver nomination selected Gingras, and so no further balloting is needed.

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For the 35-year-old Gingras, a native of Quebec, 2014 saw him handle many of the sport’s stars, and perhaps most tellingly, he was the “first call” driver for the two barns who have dominated much of the stakes scene this year, those of Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter.

Of his four Breeders Crown wins, two were from Burke (Mission Brief and Sayitall BB) and two were for Takter (Pinkman and Father Patrick).

The 2014 season also saw Gingras help the 10-year-old Foiled Again further his world record career earnings mark, which currently stands at $6,769,531.

Gingras was the leading driver for the 2014 season at the Meadowlands, a track which features what many consider the best driving colony in the world. Another highlight for Gingras was returning to his native Quebec and winning the $200,000 Prix d’Ete at his “home track,” Hippodrome 3R, where his victory with the Takter-trained Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 -- more than two seconds faster than the previous mark -- was cheered by many members of his family, a group which plays as important a part of Gingras’ life as harness racing does, according to him.

Gingras will receive his Driver of the Year award at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, to be held Sunday (Feb. 22) at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando at Sea World. 

(edited release-USHWA)