12/15/2015 1:10PM

Harness: Year-end honors for Trotters announced

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Derick Giwner
Pinkman led North American trotters in 2015 with $1.89 million earned.

Bee A Magician, Mission Brief, and Pinkman added to their respective Dan Patch Award totals Tuesday when divisional honors for trotters were announced by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Mission Brief, a filly, and Pinkman, a gelding, were Dan Patch Award winners last year at age 2 and repeated as honorees for 2015. Five-year-old mare Bee A Magician was previously recognized in 2013, when she was voted harness racing’s best 3-year-old female trotter as well as Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year.

Joining that trio in also receiving Dan Patch Award divisional honors this year were 2-year-old filly Broadway Donna, 2-year-old colt Southwind Frank, and older male JL Cruze.

Divisional honors for pacers will be announced Wednesday, followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday after the second race at Monticello Raceway. The announcement will be available on Monticello’s simulcast, advance deposit wagering sites, or via replay at monticelloraceway.com/video-racing-results. An email announcement will follow immediately.

A total of 136 ballots were returned. Each winner received at least 82 percent of the votes in their division. Southwind Frank received 135 votes, with one voter abstaining from voting in the category.

Pinkman, trained by Jimmy Takter, is the richest trotter in North America this year, with $1.89 million in purses. He won 11 of 17 races, including the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic, Kentucky Futurity, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, and Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial.

His time of 1:51 in the Hambletonian set the world record for a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a mile racetrack and his 1:51 3/5 win in the Beal established the world record for a 3-year-old gelding trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval.

Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. Pinkman is the second consecutive Takter-trained male trotter to receive Dan Patch Award honors at ages 2 and 3, following Father Patrick in 2013 and 2014.

Mission Brief, trained by Ron Burke, won 10 of 14 races this year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $1 million in purses. Her triumphs included the Elegantimage Stakes, Matron Stakes, and the filly division of the Zweig Memorial. She challenged the boys in the Hambletonian, rather than facing the fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks, and won her elimination before finishing second to Pinkman in the same-day final.

Her time of 1:50 2/5 in the Matron Stakes set the world record for a 3-year-old female trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and equaled the fastest mile ever by any 3-year-old trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval.

Mission Brief is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. Mission Brief joins Shake It Cerry (2013 and 2014) and Check Me Out (2011 and 2012) as recent trotting fillies to receive Dan Patch Award recognition at ages 2 and 3.

Bee A Magician enjoyed multiple successes this year against male rivals. She became the first female trotter to win the Maple Leaf Trot since 2006 and she became the first mare to ever win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and Centaur Trotting Classic. She also knocked off the boys in the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot.

For the year, Bee A Magician won 10 of 18 races, finished second five times, and earned $980,845 for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. Her victories also included the Armbro Flight Stakes for trotting mares.

Bee A Magician is the first female trotter since Peace Corps to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages 3 and 5. Peace Corps garnered five consecutive trophies from ages 2 through 6 (1988-92).

JL Cruze, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Eric Ell, saw his season cut short by complications from a virus, but before being sidelined won 16 of 21 races and put together a string of three consecutive world-record performances.

He became the sport’s first trotter to trot a mile in less than 1:50 on a mile-sized track, stopping the timer in 1:49 4/5 to capture the Graduate Series championship at the Meadowlands. In addition, JL Cruze set the world record of 2:04.2 for the distance of 1-1/8 miles in the Hambletonian Maturity and equaled the world record of 1:51 for a 4-year-old gelding on a five-eighths oval in the Sun Invitational.

A relative unknown entering this year, JL Cruze began the season by winning the Super Bowl Series championship in January, followed by the Singer Memorial Series in February, the Shiaway St Pat Series in March, and the Weiss Series in April. He earned $627,456 this season.

JL Cruze is owned by Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta.

Two-year-old colt Southwind Frank, another trotter from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won 11 of 12 races this year and earned $786,419. His wins included the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, and William Wellwood Memorial.

His time of 1:52 2/5 in a division of the International Stallion Stakes set the world record for a 2-year-old male trotter.

Southwind Frank is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables, and J&T Silva Stables.

Two-year-old filly Broadway Donna won nine of 10 races this season and earned $531,286 for trainer Jim Campbell and owner Fashion Farms. Her victories included the Jim Doherty Memorial, a division of the Bluegrass Stakes, and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.

2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
Southwind Frank (135 votes)
Muscle Hill---Flawless Lindy---Cantab Hall
Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale
Breeder: Southwind Farm
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables
Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 12-11-0-0 Purses: $786,419 Mark: 1:52 2/5 at The Red Mile (world record)
Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $349,850 Peter Haughton Memorial; $283,480 William Wellwood Memorial

2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
Broadway Donna (112 votes)
Donato Hanover---Broadway Schooner---Broadway Hall
Yearling Price: Homebred
Breeder: Fashion Farms
Owner: Fashion Farms
Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: David Miller
Races: 10-9-0-0 Purses: $531,286 Mark: 1:53 3/5 at Meadowlands
Top wins: $389,450 Jim Doherty Memorial; $351,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship; $129,500 Bluegrass Stakes division

3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER
Pinkman (132 votes)
Explosive Matter---Margie Seelster---Angus Hall
Yearling Price: $77,000 under name Traffic Jam at Lexington Selected Sale
Breeder: O Narutac Equine Nursery
Owners: Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, Herb Liverman
Trainer: Jimmy Takter Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Brian Sears
Races: 17-11-3-1 Purses: $1.89 million Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands (world record)
Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $532,000 Canadian Trotting Classic; $527,000 Kentucky Futurity; $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial

3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER
Mission Brief (118 votes)
Muscle Hill---Southwind Serena---Varenne
Yearling Price: $150,000 at Lexington Selected Sale
Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables
Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC
Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Yannick Gingras
Races: 14-10-3-0 Purses: $1 million Mark: 1:50 2/5 at Dover Downs (world record)
Top wins: $307,040 Elegantimage; $187,400 Matron; $185,000 Zweig Filly

OLDER MALE TROTTER
JL Cruze (118 votes)
Crazed---Topcat Hall---Conway Hall
Sale Price: $37,000 at 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale
Breeders: Joanne Morrison, Glengate Farms
Owners: Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., Stephen Iaquinta
Trainer: Eric Ell Driver: John Campbell
Races: 21-16-2-0 Purses: $627,456 Mark: 1:49 4/5 at Meadowlands (world record)
Top wins: $443,300 Hambletonian Maturity; $250,000 Graduate; $75,000 Sun Invitational\

OLDER FEMALE TROTTER
Bee A Magician (119 votes)
Kadabra---Beehive---Balanced Image
Yearling Price: $90,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale
Breeder: White Birch Farm
Owners: Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee
Trainer: Richard “Nifty” Norman Drivers: Brian Sears, David Miller
Races: 18-10-5-0 Purses: $980,845 Mark: 1:51 1/5 at Mohawk
Top wins: $516,800 Maple Leaf Trot; $220,320 Armbro Flight; $210,000 Centaur Trotting Classic