Middletown, NY --- The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held their 55th annual awards banquet for the second consecutive year in Middletown, N.Y. at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday (Nov. 17). The night got underway with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner. During the evening awards were presented to the deserving recipients.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Chapter president Chris Tully (right) poses with Tom Charters, the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.|
The harness writers presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Charters. He is the longtime President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown, a director of the Hambletonian Society, a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum, a steward of the Grand Circuit and former president of the American Harness Racing Secretaries among his many other industry accolades.
For all that he has done for the Standardbred sport, especially in the breeding business in New York State, the Chapter was proud to present its Excelsior Award to Mike Kimelman. Besides being president of Blue Chip Farms, Mike is a member of the Goshen Historic Track Board of Directors as well as a member of the SOA of NY and a USTA director since 2002. He has also trained and has driven harness horses and occasionally still does.
Also honored was Derick Giwner, who became the fifth recipient of the Phil Pines Award. He was a writer and editor for the periodical Sports Eye and over the years, despite takeovers and name changes at the company, Derick managed to work his way up the ladder to his current position as the Editor of DRF Harness for the Daily Racing Form. Derick is also an amateur driver and he’s always looking to promote harness racing.
Eric Warner, the popular and well liked director of racing at Monticello Raceway, was the recipient of the chapter’s Good Guy Award. Over the years Warner’s efforts went hand and hand with the track's promotion department and together they presented many races that drew national attention.
Jerry Fielding was the unanimous choice for the 30th annual Amy Bull Krist Award for his dedicated service at Historic Track. As a member of the track's race committee, Jerry almost singled-handedly produces the matinee races in June. He secures the photo finish patrol, the timers, the recording judge, the associate judges, and he dons his presiding judge cap and oversees the races.
An Award of Appreciation was given to Wanda Polliseni for her tremendous support of New York State harness racing and breeding with her Purple Haze Stable and for her unconditional love for the animals. During the evening program Wanda made a substantial donation to Historic Track.
This year’s Amateur Driver of the Year Award went to Monica Banca, the fiery, competitive Scandinavian who has shown the ability to beat the boys with regularity. In 21 starts she has seven victories, six seconds and two thirds and a .534 UDR this year.
The Rising Star Award went to 22-year-old Austin Siegelman who has blossomed into a sought after catch driver now with 53 winners at the current meet.
Ruth Ingham, from the Vernon James Stable, received the Caretaker of the Year Award.
Horse of the Year honors went to the Nancy Fugere-owned, Bob Lounsbury-trained Tracys Song. Her 21 seasonal victories still ranks her tops in races won in North America this year and her 18 consecutive triumphs this past summer established a new Mighty M track record.
Trades In Motion was named the 3-year-old colt trotter of the year while Dough Dough garnered the 3-year-old trotting filly of the year award.
Civil Cause garnered the older trotter of the year award while Distinct Victory was the older trotting mare of the year. The older pacing horse award went to 20-time winner Haroun Hanover while Tracys Song also took home the older pacing mare award.
Since the majority of the races at the Mighty M are claiming races, pacing awards went to DVC Gifted Indeed, Fuguzzi, Real Motivation, NF Beach Candy, Red Eye Blue Chip, Edie’s Desire, Prince Of Pleasure, Rusty’s Flying, Thunder Seelster and Another Mike. Claiming trotter awards were garnered by Strongbow, Famous Dude, JN Sydney, Majestic Man, Valcyon Days, Miley Jo and B Twenty Nine.
More than 200 guests attended the banquet and track publicist John Manzi again served as the master of ceremonies.