Buck I St Pat was the unanimous choice for the Dan Patch award for older female trotter after the eight year old mare won all five of the big races in her division.
After all 131 of the United States Harness Writers Association’s ballots were cast only one of the sport’s twelve champions was a unanimous selection.
“I would have been shocked if Buck I St Pat wasn’t (a unanimous selection,) explained her conditioner, Ron Burke, who resides in Canonsburg, PA. “Basically there are five big races for aged (trotting) mares and she won all five of them, so how could you have made a case for anybody else? She earned it.”
With yet another Dan Patch Award as the best older female trotter, 8-year-old Buck I St Pat joins the elite company of Moni Maker (1997-2000), Peace Corps (1990-1992), Scenic Regal (1987-1989), and Fresh Yankee (1969-1972), as the only mares to collect harness racing’s most prestigious crown for three consecutive years.
The Ohio-bred daughter of Jailhouse Jesse-Name It Something, who is owned by the partnership of Howard Taylor, of Penn Valley, PA, Edwin Gold of Wayne, PA, Abraham Basen, of Los Vegas, NV, and Dr. Ron Fuller, who also bred her, of Newark, OH, earned $715,135 from the 19 parimutual miles she trotted in 2010. The multiple world champion mare captured nine races with three seconds and four thirds.
‘Buck I’ decreased her lifetime speed mark to 1:51 on August 7 at the Meadowlands in the Peretti Farms Matchmaker, defeated males yet again on August 29 at Harrah’s Chester Downs in the $100,000 Maxie Lee and triumphed in her second straight $250,000 Breeders Crown on October 9 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Her other victories last year included the $124,000 American-National, the $340,479 Armbro Flight Final and the $108,570 Earl Rowe.
49 Wins and $2 Million
In her six years on the track, Buck I St Pat has left the gate 92 times with 49 victories, 13 second place finishes and 10 thirds. She has banked more than $2 million in purse money and was named the 2010 Ohio Horse of the Year, an honor that was also bestowed upon her in 2008.
“In past years it was more of a hold her together thing, but this year she got sounder and we never had an issue with her all year,” Burke, who led all North American trainers in purse money and races won last year, said. “As she’s gotten older, she’s gotten stronger and heavier so the weight issue didn’t catch up with her like it normally does at the end of the year.
“She has put on weight on every part of her, but I think it’s also the way Timmy (Tetrick) drives her,” he continued. “He usually makes her try only in the last quarter and she is usually able to get herself in position. I think her greatest attribute is how much she enjoys her work. I don’t know anyone that does more than her. She used to be a little too anxious and now she’s calmer. She has a wonderful attitude, is great to be around and is probably my favorite of all the horses I’ve trained including Maltese (Artist), (Won The) West and Foiled (Again). She just has a special personality and is a great mare.”
Won The West
Most trainers never experience the thrill of managing one multiple Dan Patch victor, but Burke has been lucky enough to have Won The West also reside in his shedrow.
The 7-year-old gelded son of the great Western Hanover and Gabrielle is owned by Strollin Stable of Marion, OH, William Robinson of Findlay, OH and James Koehler also of Findlay. This is the New Jersey-bred’s second successive Dan Patch award and comes following a career year.
In 2010 ‘West’ amassed more than $1.3 million from 19 starts. He collected seven victories, eight seconds and three thirds and like his stablemate, won his second consecutive $500,000 Breeders Crown on October 9.
The gelding also reached the wire first in last year’s editions of the $748,800 Canadian Pacing Derby, the $293,280 Molson Pace Final, the $200,000 Dan Patch, a $185,000 US Pacing Championship division, the $156,000 American-National and the $125,000 Indiana Pacing Derby.
Won The West did not compete as a 2-year-old, but throughout his career he has paced 89 parimutual miles with 33 victories, 22 seconds and 12 thirds. He possesses a lifetime mark of 1:47 and has nearly $3.5 million in the bank.
“When he first came to us as a 3-year-old he was still a stallion and a hellraiser,” Burke remembered. “He was tough to handle and we made the decision to geld him. It has certainly worked out and he’s now a very nice horse; a pleasure to be around.
“Since he missed his 2-year-old year, at three he was chasing and trying to make up ground and then at four, he was still trying to make up ground from three,” he continued. “At ages five and six, he’s right there at the beginning of the year, but he doesn’t seem able to dominate. He’s a big, heavy horse and carries a ton of weight. I think he needs some time to turn his fat into muscle and start out a bit slower. That works out well as all the big races are from September on and that’s when he seems to hit his best stride.”
Burke acknowledges he has been blessed, but there’s something he thinks is even more extraordinary.
“The really neat thing about it is I get them both back again next year and they have the chance to do it again, which is pretty special,” he said. “You don’t get many chances to even try to win (subsequent Dan Patch awards.)”
Like Burke, Jimmy Takter manages two Dan Patch winners in 2-year-old male trotter Pastor Stephen and 2-year-old filly trotter See You At Peelers.
Bred by Brittany Farms, who co-owns the son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream with Takter’s wife Christina and John Fielding of Toronto, Canada, Pastor Stephen enjoyed most of his success north of the border. From 11 starts, he had six victories, and four second place finishes with earnings of $653,748 and a lifetime mark of 1:56. Pastor Stephen’s biggest wins came in the $485,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $98,489 Champlain. He was just beaten at the wire in the $600,000 Breeders Crown final in a world record time by long-shot Manofmanymissions, who he turned the tables in championship voting, as Pastor Stephen defeated his rival by one vote to collect his Dan Patch trophy.
Takter’s other pupil, See You At Peelers, was a perfect 13 for 13 in her freshman season. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight-West Side Glory, who is also owned by Christina Takter and John Fielding, earned nearly $600,000 in her first season of racing and set her lifetime mark of 1:51.3 in the $600,000 Breeders Crown. Her other rich payday was the $200,000 New York Sire Stakes championship and she garnered 99 of the 131 championship votes.
Lucky Chucky, the 3-year-old male trotting champion, joined Buck I St Pat, Won The West and Put On A Show in collecting two consecutive Dan Patch awards. Trained by Hall of Famer Chuck Sylvester, the son of Triple Crown champ Windsong’s Legacy, had a 2010 resume of 11-5-3-1 and earned $1.43 million. Lucky Chucky, who is owned in partnership by his breeder Peretti Farms, SGS Racing Partners and Lindy Stables, captured the $970,000 Canadian Trotting Classic and the $500,000 Colonial Trot.
Three-year-old filly pacing champion Put On A Show had a slate of 16-12-3-0 and added $1.16 million to her bank account. Trained by Chris Ryder and owned by Craig Henderson and Richard and Joanne Young, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Stienam’s Place won the $500,000 Breeders Crown and the $350,000 Valley Forge en route to erasing the earnings record for two consecutive years for a pacing mare. Her career purse money of $1.89 million eclipsed Miss Easy’s record of $1.77 million.
Rock N Roll Heaven, the prohibitive favorite for Horse of the Year when announced on February 27, took home the hardware as the sport’s champion 3-year-old male pacer. The son of Rocknroll Hanover-Artistic Vision, who is owned by Frank Bellino and conditioned by Bruce Saunders, closed out his career with a 10 race winning streak. The colt set a world record in the $604,100 Little Brown Jug, devastated his foes in the $500,000 Breeders Crown and asserted his superiority in the $604,000 Tattersalls Pace. He collected more than $2.15 million with a race record of 21-16-2-1 in 2010 and will stand for this year’s breeding season in Australia at Pepper Tree Farm.
Other Dan Patch winners were 2-year-old trotting filly Crys Dream and 2-year-old pacing male, Big Jim, who like Dreamfair Eternal, the champion aged pacing mare, raced primarily in Canada. The champion aged trotting male, Enough Talk, also was a Dan Patch winner in 2008 and the 3-year-old filly trotting champion, Bar Slide, who was the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks victress trotting $750,000 joins Rock N Roll Heaven in retirement.