Harrisburg, PA --- Linda Toscano, the trainer of the Harness Horse of the Year (Chapter Seven), the richest Standardbred racehorse of 2012 (Market Share at just over $2 million), and the champion of the sport’s glamour division (3-year-old pacing colt Heston Blue Chip), capped her extraordinary season by being the overwhelming choice of the U.S. Harness Writers Association voters as Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year. She was named on 122 of 130 votes cast by the writers for the biggest victory margin in human balloting this year.
Driver of the Year will be announced Thursday.
|Linda Toscano has been named the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year.|
Toscano is no stranger to handling top horses during her career, but the Freehold, N.J., resident put it all together this year with her overwhelming stable of talent. Horses trained by the 57-year-old Toscano won a career-best $6.71 million while she guided a stable that was home to many of the sport’s top stars.
No star shone more brightly in 2012 for Toscano than Chapter Seven, a 4-year-old trotter who battled back from misfortune and injuries to roll up an unprecedented series of fast victories. His eight wins included a world-record-equaling performance in 1:50.1 in the Nat Ray Invitational and an unbelievable parked-out triumph against a top international field in the Breeders Crown.
Market Share also was a star in Toscano’s stable, becoming one of only four trotters in the history of the sport to earn $2 million in a single season (joining Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe, and Donato Hanover). The 3-year-old colt took down the Hambletonian, racing’s top prize, and other rich races with a late-surging style that contrasted with (but was just as successful as) Chapter Seven’s freewheeling jaunts, usually on the front end.
Heston Blue Chip kept a low profile through most of the 2012 campaign, winning races and good money in the New York Sire Stakes series, but he turned on the afterburners at just the right time approaching season’s end, winning his Breeders Crown contest and then the Progress and Matron finals, all in dominating fashion, to earn a close nod in year-end voting against a well-matched group of sophomores, giving Toscano three $1 million winners for the year.
“I’m thrilled,” Toscano said. “It’s such an honor, really overwhelming, and the culmination of an incredible year. You work a lifetime and all of a sudden everything happens.
“I really care more about the horses than I do about the accolades. We try to do the right things and we just hope that the right things happen. It just happened to be one of those years where the stars aligned and everything fell into place.”
By now, you may be surprised to have not read the phrases “first female trainer to win the Hambletonian,” or “first female Trainer of the Year.” This is out of respect to Linda, who has no time for these kinds of distinctions, she only has time for finding the key to bring out the best of her equine charges. That she did in spades this past season, and that’s why Linda Toscano is the Trainer of the Year.
Linda Toscano will be honored on Sunday (March 3) at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, the climatic event of Harness Congress VI weekend, to be held at the Westin Beach Resort and Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Further information about the banquet, the Congress, and related events is available at www.ushwa.org.