The Breeders Crown eliminations start Saturday (Nov. 15) at the New Meadowlands. After thirty years, we all know that “In Harness Racing--it all comes down to the Breeders Crown.”
Historically, these prestigious year-end events have also been a barometer for the Dan Patch Award winners, including Horse of the Year. The BC finals are next weekend (Nov. 21-22) with our Dan Patch human award nominations and biographies (100-300 words) due to the secretary shortly thereafter on Wednesday, November 26 for Owner, Trainer, Driver, Rising Star, Breakthrough, Good Guy, and Unsung Hero awards.
Chapters and members may also want to schedule meetings or communicate regarding Bergstein-Proximity finalists Russell Williams and Charlie Keller, as well as discuss the various divisional Horses of the Year.
In addition, potential Communicators Corner nominations and any bylaw change proposals are due to the secretary 30 days (Jan. 22) before the annual meetings begin on Saturday, February 21. Ballots for ALL the awards, horse and human, go out on Wednesday, December 3 and are due back by 9 am on Thursday, December 18.
Although the details are still being finalized, USHWA will hold an announcement luncheon at the New Meadowlands on Thursday, December 18 where all of the horse award winners will be announced while being live-streamed on the internet, as well as distributed to the AP through HRC. Stay tuned for further details.
This year, the hotel for our National USHWA meetings and Dan Patch Awards Banquet is the Double Tree by Hilton Orlando (Florida) at Seaworld.
The directors meeting will start promptly at 3 pm on Saturday, February 21, 2015. This will be followed by a buffet dinner at 7 pm.
The membership meeting is slated for 10 am sharp on Sunday, February 22. Later that evening, the Dan Patch Awards banquet will be begin with cocktails at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm.
Tickets for the banquet are listed at $125, however USHWA members are $100.
As always, our Sunshine State hotel expert, Steve Wolf, has secured an excellent $115 rate for our stay, which is valid from Feb. 13 –Feb 27. Although there is a link below for reservations, please call the hotel directly for potentially better pricing of junior or special suites. The direct line to the hotel is 407-352-1100.
Click here to access our personalized USHWA reservation desk.
It is imperative that members make their hotel reservations and book flights immediately as the hotel is expected to be sold out and airfare rates will increase dramatically after Thanksgiving. Self parking and internet are free.
Steve is also making arrangements for a reduced rate for round trip shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. Currently the cost is $32 per person for a round trip. Please make your reservation online. (We are trying to get a special discount code).
Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Also, this is my second request to chapter presidents to provide me with the name of the library of your choice to have a copy of Standardbred Old Friends sent on your behalf.
Please be sure to take part in our most important task of the year –VOTING!
Chris Tully National President of USHWA
Russell Williams, vice-president of the famous nursery Hanover Shoe Farms and a director on the boards of many of harness racing’s top organizations, and Charles Keller III, who carried on the tradition of his father’s famous Yankeeland Farm and also continues to serve the sport on many of its top organizations’ boards, have been announced as the finalists for the 2014 Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award, it has been announced by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA).
After the various chapters of USHWA submitted nominations for the award, the highest honor USHWA bestows based on voting only by its members and given for outstanding achievement in/service to the sport, the nominees were sent to the Association’s directors, who voted to winnow down the candidates to the top two. Williams and Keller will now be voted on by the entirety of USHWA during the annual Dan Patch Awards balloting honoring the year’s stars, both equine and human; that balloting will be conducted in early December.
Williams, the grandson of Hanover’s founder Lawrence Sheppard, plays a major part in the operation of the world’s leading Standardbred-producing farm, where he keeps his own small but select band of broodmares (he is the breeder of the million-dollar-winning top three-year-old colt Nuncio). He is also vice chairman of the U.S. Trotting Association, the sport’s supervisory organization, and a trustee of the American Horse Council and the Harness Racing Museum. Williams is also a noted “equine philanthropist,” financing the possibility of many Standardbreds being able to live out their lives with dignity, including retired Hanover broodmares.
Keller, the son of noted Yankees baseball player “King Kong” Keller, took over operation of Yankeeland Farms, which his father established, in 1990 until the farm’s closing in 2006. The farm bred two Hambletonian winners, Muscles Yankee (1998) and Yankee Paco (2000), and it also bred Yankee Blondie, the dam of 2009 winner Muscle Hill, along with countless other divisional champions. It has produced the outstanding sires Yankee Glide and Yankee Cruiser, and has been the cradle of four Breeders Crown winners. Keller is the chairman of the executive committee of the Hambletonian Society, a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum, and a former director of the U. S. Trotting Association.
The Bergstein/Proximity winner, along with the awards for the best of 2014, will be given at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards dinner on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld.
if you would like to watch the entire 2014 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, click this link and relive all the excitement and glamor of the evening. The United States Harness Writers Association would like to thank the USTA and Roberts Communication for making this archive video available for viewing.
New! Click here to see all the Dan Patch presentation photos
New! Click here to view 150+ picture photo album w/ Red Carpet
United States Harness Writers Association, harness racing’s principal
organization for media workers, held its annual meetings on
Saturday and Sunday (February 22 and 23) at the Dover Downs complex, with the weekend
culminating in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet held Sunday night,
attended by almost 400 people and streamed worldwide for live viewing.
Saturday meeting, the directors of the Association voted for Bob Marks
and Kathy Parker to be on the Communicators Hall of Fame voting ballot
Marks has been a
leading force in many harness dimensions over his 50 years in the sport,
most recently as Marketing Director for Perretti Farms, while Parker,
from a prominent harness family, worked her way through the ranks at the
Horseman and Fair World weekly magazine until becoming editor
in 1995 and later general manager of the Horseman Publishing Company,
positions she maintains to this day.
At the conclusion
of the meetings, the membership voted in their slate of association
officials for 2014-15. Chris Tully, an MBA marketing specialist and
writer was elected
president of the association, succeeding Steve Wolf of Harnesslink.com.
Tully’s “first official act” was to present Wolf, who now becomes the
chairman of the board, with a gold lifetime membership pin.
Bojarski, Hoof Beats columnist and USTA blogger was elected to 1st vice
president, Shawn Wiles, Monticello
Raceway chief racing officer and a longtime USTA and USHWA director was elected to the 2nd vice president slot.
Davis-Wilson, who is based in Dover and worked tirelessly to ensure the
success of the weekend, especially the banquet, was returned as
treasurer; Alan Prince, who attended his 48th consecutive USHWA meetings
weekend, remains as executive treasurer. Also elected was Jerry Connors
as USHWA secretary.
Much of the
discussion during the two days of meetings focused on the sport’s Hall
of Fame in Goshen N.Y., where plans for renovation and modernization are
starting to advance rapidly, and where USHWA makes a significant
contribution. In addition to the physical reconfiguration of the Hall of
Fame area, the directors and membership discussed several by-law and
rules change relating to the Hall, especially the re-establishment of a
seniors category for both.
plentiful, lively, and well-reasoned on all sides, and some of these
matters were tabled until a committee, soon to be appointed, can focus
on the merits -- and the eventual wording -- of the varied proposed
heard reports from the many committees that keep USHWA functioning
throughout the year, and were glad to hear from Davis-Wilson, voted the
organization’s member of the year, that the treasury was in a very good
shape, pointing to future success in USHWA’s upcoming progressive
The Dan Patch
Awards Dinner was, as always, the highlight of the gathering with
superstar sophomore trotting filly Bee A Magician “finishing her
unbeaten season” by being elected Trotter of the Year and then Harness
Horse of the Year.
Her contemporary, the pacing colt Captaintreacherous,
took down overall honors for that gait after a brilliant campaign
showing speed and courage in equal amounts.
Also honored were the
quartet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame Sunday (July 6) in Goshen:
Harness Racing Hall of Famers David Miller and William Weaver, and Communicators Hall inductees Carol Cramer and John Pawlak.
The Clyde Hirt Media
Workshop is sponsored by the U.S. Harness Writers Association and Meadowlands
Racetrack. It is held in conjunction with harness racing's most prestigious
race (the Hambletonian) and offers college students a chance to learn from
journalism professionals while covering a major sporting event. Students
interact with a variety of sports professionals, write race previews and
results stories for daily newspapers and news websites and attend workshop
sessions with experts from print, broadcasting, public relations and other
Corey Alexander, one of the students from the 2012 workshop, produced a video featuring many of the highlights of the weeks activities. we are making it available here for you to view and see what great exposure the workshop is giving the sport of harness racing to college students who are up and coming media professionals.
Click here to see the video of what the young men and women from colleges all over North America have experienced; our sport, first hand.
USHWA NEW MEMBER BROCHURE IS HERE-The hard work of the New Member Committee led by Chairwoman Jessica Schroeder has brought to frution a new tool to help broaden and build the membership of USHWA. It is a colorful and informational brochure that will explain exactly what USHWA is, what USHWA does, and why those who work in the sporting media would want to join.
We also had hard copies printed and are looking for all of our members to take this opportunity to help distribute the pamphlets (either electronically of paper copy) to anyone you may think would be interested in becoming a part of our organization or convince someone who is not. It is in the best interest of USHWA to get as many people on board with us to help promote our great sport.
The United States Harness Writers Association is a group of more than 220 members committed to the chronicling of harness racing through the print and electronic media. It was founded in 1947 by New York City area sportswriters who were covering harness racing at Roosevelt Raceway. It remains the only media organization in harness racing with a membership of newspaper, magazine, radio and TV, ad agency, publicists and others involved in racing communications. With most of USHWA's members allied to one of 12 regional chapters, the
association strives to bring about a closer relationship among the media, racetracks and horsemen to promote a centuries-old American-bred sport.
USHWA members, in annual voting, choose harness racing's most prestigious awards, such as the Living Hall of Fame and the Horse of the Year. Its Stanley F. Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award is one of the sport's most cherished honors. It also recognizes top divisional winners and leading drivers and trainers at its annual awards dinner, which began in 1948.
The association is governed by a member board of directors, which represents the chapters and at-large members (those living or working in regions where there is no chapter). Also serving are seven national officers and past presidents.
USHWA, with input from the American Harness Racing Secretaries and logistic expertise provided by the United States Trotting Association, determines the Horse of the Year and other equine and human awards. USHWA also presents the John Hervey Awards for excellence in writing and broadcasting. Its members choose Hall of Famers, so the association also works closely with the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Goshen, New York.
A number of chapters hold annual awards or recognition dinners to salute the leading horses and drivers in their areas. Some chapters also raise money for local charities.