The Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA held its 56th Annual Awards Banquet for the third consecutive year in Middletown, NY at The Fountains on Sands Road on Sunday, November 16. The night got underway with a cocktail hour at 5:30pm followed by dinner at 7pm. During the evening awards were presented to the deserving recipients and when they were all given out, banquet emcee John Manzi was the recipient of a friendly roast.
The Harness Writers presented its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award to Ted Gewertz. He is, and has been, a prominent owner who has been part of many champions, including Deweycheatumnhowe, Giant Victory, Windsong Legacy, Somwherovrarainbow and Shebestingin,to name a few. His great love for the sport is unparalleled as is his desire to win. Ted is among the few who puts his money where their mouth is.
Also honored was Ken Weingartner, who became the sixth recipient of the Phil Pines Award. No one writes more copy about harness racing than Weingartner. “I would guess I’ve written in the neighborhood of 3000 stories prior to joining the USTA and HRC,” he says. A former sportswriter Ken also has been a multiple newspaper award winner spanning news, sports, and editorial writing.
For all that he has done for the Standardbred sport at the Little Brown Jug, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and now at the new Meadowlands, Jason Settlemoir was the recipient of the chapter’s Good Guy Award. A man of multiple talents it seems that there’s nothing that Settlemoir can’t do, except maybe winning the Mighty M’s Battle of the Brain Trusts. And even that’s probably going to happen for Jason in the near future.
George Casale was the unanimous choice for the 31st annual Amy Bull Crist Award for his dedicated service at Historic Track. George is the vice president of the Board of Directors at Goshen’s half mile oval and also serves as volunteer counsel to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He is also a U.S.T.A certified judge and George serves in the stand making sure there are no infractions of the rules during each race.
An Award of Appreciation was given to Monticello Raceway’s and Historic Track’s award winning track photographer, Geri Schwarz. She won the George Smallsreed Photography Award from the United States Trotting Association a few years ago and there’s hardly a racing day that goes by that Geri hasn’t come up with an unique photo to go along with her spot- on race finishes and winners circle photographs.
This year’s Excelsior Award for deeds done to promote racing in New York State went to Albert and Michelle’s Crawford Farms. And few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms in Durhamsville, NY. Unfortunately illness kept Michelle and Albert from attending the award presentation although National USHWA president and longtime chapter member, Chris Tully accepted it in their behalf.
The Rising Star Award went to 25-year-old Jason Ryan who has shown the local scribes that he has a great talent for driving a harness horse. He started the year at Monticello than went to Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota where he finished as the leading driver with 90 wins in their short season. He has since continued his winning ways upon returning to the Mighty M
The Caretaker of the Year Award went to one of hardest working gals on the backstretch, Nicole Devaux from the Keith Haase Stable
Horse of the Year honors went to the Ed Hall-owned, Jimmy Marohn, Jr.-driven, Danny Gill-trained, Rose Run Nash. His 19 seasonal victories still ranks him tops in races won by a trotter in North America this year.
Poppy Sydney Ridge was named the 3-year-old colt trotter of the year while KJ Brenda garnered the 3-year-old trotting filly award.
Rose Run Nash was also the older trotting horse of the year award while Linda B won the older trotting mare award.. The older pacing horse award went to 17-time winner Vincent Fra while 20-time winner Diamond Tiara took home the older pacing mare award
Since the majority of the races this year were claiming races pacing awards went to Reflection Of Blue, Rusty’s Flying, an Mr. Tommy Fra. Claiming trotter awards were garnered by Bertos Angel and Menard Hanover.
Upon the completion of the awards ceremonies Bob “Hollywood” Heyden moderated a panel consisting of Chris Tully, Moira Fanning, George Casale and Dr. Herb Burns who were the evening “roasters”. They conjured their best comedic lines and each “beat-up” banquet emcee John Manzi. However Manzi got the microphone last and zinged his “roasters” as all seemed to enjoy the night especially when all 180 in attendance left the banquet hall chuckling.