Forest Lake, MN — The Minnesota Harness Racing annual meeting and awards banquet was held on Saturday (Feb. 23) at Vanelli’s by the Lake in Forest Lake, Minn. Among the top honorees in the awards portion of the evening were Burning Blaze and Goody Two Socks. Trainers Nick Roland and Justin Anfinson each had three divisional champions, while breeders Cheryl and Al Sandbulte and Glen Sauder each had two divisional champions to their credit in 2018.
Burning Blaze (Wind Me Up-Cowgirls N Indians-Jet Laag) dominated the 2-year-old colt pacing division with seven wins and two seconds from nine starts, $53,250 in purse earnings and a track record 1:54.1 mark taken on Night of Champions Sept. 15. Burning Blaze, who was bred by owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte of Iowa, is also owned by Edward Gutin and is trained by Justin Anfinson. He received the 2-year-old colt Pacer of the Year award and was also voted — by a wide margin — as the overall Minnesota Horse of the Year by the banquet attendees.
Also nominated for Horse of the Year honors were Bringoverthemoney, Firedrake, Windmeupnwatchmego, Place At The Beach, Pridecrest, Dream Chasin, and Here Comes Teddy.
Goody Two Socks (Relentless Yankee-Ms Jordi-Magical Mike) was inducted into the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday, honored for his accomplishments both on and off the racetrack.
Goody Two Socks was a gelded pacer by Relentless Yankee out of the Magical Mike mare Ms Jordi. He won 24 of 111 career races with 20 seconds and 11 thirds and $98,959 in purses. Goody Two Socks was bred by Beth Dale in Minnesota and owned by Seppo Hakaama of Michigan. Developed by both Greg Budach and Gene Miller, he was then trained throughout most of his racing career by Alexia Kehl.
Goody Two Socks was a fan favorite at Running Aces, he always tried his heart out on the racetrack, and he hit the board in half of his career races. He also had an amazing power of connection with people, a trait that will live on as part of his legacy in Minnesota. Goody Two Socks passed away earlier this year, but now lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone he touched, and lives on in the annals of Minnesota harness racing forever.
During the annual meeting portion of the evening, voting was conducted to fill three MHRI board member seats that were up for election. Rick Magee was elected to the board by a wide margin of the votes along with Scott Bannitt. President Mark Corless was also re-elected to another term on the board.
Three special milestone awards were presented for accomplishments during the 2018 season. Nick Roland was recognized for his 1,500-win milestone on July 8 at Running Aces, steering Sing N Sandi to her maiden victory, while Rick Magee was honored for his 1,000th career-win milestone on July 15 at Running Aces, driving Bringoverthemoney to victory in the Minnesota sired 3-year-old trot. Dean Magee was also honored with a milestone award for his Running Aces track record of seven wins on one program on July 31.
The divisional horse of the year honors for the Running Aces meet were as follows:
2-year-old Filly Trotters-Twilight Tinker
runner-up: Lone Pine Shuzy
2-year-old Colt Trotters-MD Magic
Owner-Set The Pace Racing, LLC
runner-up: Dewey’s Machine
2-year-old Filly Pacers-Windmeupnwatchmego
2-year-old Colt Pacers-Burning Blaze
Owners-Cheryl and Alan Sandbulte and Edward Gutin
Breeders-Cheryl and Al Sandbulte
runner-up: Trump Train
3-year-old Filly Trotters-Dekker
Owners-Benjamin, Eric and Jesse De Long
Breeder-Al Mar Farms
runner-up: Mimi Marguerite
3-year-old Colt Trotters-Bringoverthemoney
runner-up: SB Fine And Dandy
3-year-old Filly Pacers-Peekaboo Tattoo
Breeders-Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte
runner-up: I’m On A Terror
3-year-old Colt Pacers-Here Comes Teddy
Older Mare Trotters -Whatevershesgot
runner-up: Al Mar Bon Bon
Older Male Trotters-Bringthegold
runner-up: French Eclipse
Older Mare Pacers-Place At The Beach
runner-up: Boom Boom Shaboom
Older Male Pacers-Forgiveusourzins
Owners-Carol Polkowske and Barbara and Royal Roland
Breeders-Barbara and Royal Roland
runner-up: Cuz I’m Happy
The 2018 County Fair awards were also presented on Saturday as follows:
Driver of the Year: Brian Detgen with 14 wins and 1,015 points
Trainer of the Year: Jenni King with six wins and 595 points
Trotter of the Year: Floatinonthebreeze (3f, Money Talks) owned and trained by Jenni King
Pacer of the Year: Read Me My Rights (3g, Fancy Schmancy) owned and trained by Scott Bannitt
Once again, we congratulate all of the award winners on a fantastic 2018 season, and we look forward to great things for all in 2019.
The 2019 racing season in Minnesota starts on Saturday (May 18) at Running Aces.