Orlando, FL — Shartin N on Sunday night became the first pacing mare to be named Horse of the Year, receiving harness racing’s top honor to cap the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek resort. The New Zealand import also became the first horse bred outside North America to receive the award.
Shartin N, who also was named Pacer of the Year, captured 83 votes in Horse of the Year balloting. Three-year-old colt pacer Bettor’s Wish was second with 42 and 3-year-old colt trotter Greenshoe, the Trotter of the Year, was third with 14.
Also receiving Horse of the Year votes were Manchego (three), Warrawee Ubeaut (two), and Atlanta, Six Pack, and When Dovescry (one each).
Greenshoe led Trotter of the Year balloting with 95 votes, followed by Manchego with 23, Atlanta with nine, and Gimpanzee and Six Pack with six each. Real Cool Sam (three), Bold Eagle and When Dovescry (two each), and Guardian Angel As (one) completed the balloting.
Shartin N, who was a 6-year-old in 2019, is the fifth female pacer to be named Horse of the Year and first since 2-year-old filly JK She’salady in 2014. The others were 3-year-old fillies Rainbow Blue (2004), Bunny Lake (2001), and Fan Hanover (1981).
Trained by Jim King Jr. and driven by Tim Tetrick, Shartin N won 15 of 19 races and finished worse than second only once. She earned $982,177 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King, and Tim Tetrick LLC. She is the first Horse of the Year for the ownership group and trainer King. She is the third Horse of the Year for Tetrick as a driver.
Shartin N’s wins last year included eight races worth six figures — the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty, Golden Girls, Artiscape, Clara Barton, Betsy Ross, and Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial.
Her 1:46.4 victory in the Lady Liberty on Aug. 3 at The Meadowlands is the fastest mile by a female pacer in history.
“It’s crazy good,” King Jr. said. “It’s unexplainable. It’s one of those feelings that everybody should get the chance to experience. Unfortunately, everybody can’t do this.
“I was pretty confident, but I was pretty confident last year and it didn’t work. I’ve got special feelings toward her. If I don’t think so, who would?”
Shartin N, a daughter of Tintin In America out of Bagdarin bred by Grant (G J) Crabbe, was runner-up to McWicked in Horse of the Year voting in 2018.
“I wasn’t a voter; she would have gotten my vote,” King Jr. said with a laugh. “She had a tremendous season (in 2018) and to come back and do it again is special. Life is great.”
Trotter of the Year Greenshoe won 10 of 13 races and never was worse than second. His victories included the Kentucky Futurity and Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. He was second in the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Earl Beal Jr. Memorial.
Greenshoe was trained by Marcus Melander, driven by Brian Sears, and owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. A son of Father Patrick out of Designed To Be, he was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz.
“It’s great,” Melander said. “Of course, we had our hopes that we could be that. It was fun.
“He had a good season. Missing to win the Hambletonian was the biggest disappointment, but we can’t go back in time. That race is done. We’re happy that he won some other big races and performed as well as he did all year. It was a privilege to train the horse and hopefully I’ll train some of his babies in the future.”
The announcements of Horse, Pacer, and Trotter of the Year were made during Sunday’s banquet. Previously announced divisional champions also were honored at the event.
Division-winning pacers were 2-year-old colt Tall Dark Stranger, 2-year-old filly Lyons Sentinel, 3-year-old colt Bettor’s Wish, 3-year-old filly Warrawee Ubeaut, stallion McWicked, and mare Shartin N. Division-winning trotters were 2-year-old gelding Real Cool Sam, 2-year-old filly Ramona Hill, 3-year-old colt Greenshoe, 3-year-old filly When Dovescry, stallion Six Pack, and mare Atlanta.
Other honorees included Stan Bergstein-Proximity Award winners Joe Faraldo and the Libfeld-Katz partnership, Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn, Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander, Owner of the Year Courant Inc., Breeder of the Year Brittany Farms, and Rising Star Bob McClure.
Also recognized Sunday at the banquet were the members of the 2019 Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted in July: Tom Charters, Jeff Gural, Bill Popfinger, and Tetrick.
For a list of winners, visit the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s website.
To view the video of the Dan Patch Awards banquet, click here.