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Harness Racing’s 2021 Divisional Champions Have Been Chosen




With the conclusion of 2021 harness racing, 12 champions have been selected by the United States Harness Writers Association.

Of the 12 divisions, only the aged (4-years-old & up) trotting mares saw a contentious vote. For the 3rd time, the great mare Manchego, who is now retired, won the Dan Patch Trophy as her division’s best. Manchego also took home divisional honors as a 2-year-old. Having won last year’s title, 6-year-old Manchego defeated her longtime rival Atlanta by just 5 votes of the 146 that were cast. Another former Dan Patch winner, When Dovescry was just 4 votes removed from Atlanta. The three trotting mares have all enjoyed historic careers. Trainer Ron Burke has indicated that Atlanta will be back in 2022. If so, she should break the $4-million earnings barrier early in the season.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list is the Indiana-bred son of Creatine, Jujubee. Upon venturing out into Grand Circuit racing, the colt became the first 3-year-old to post two sub-1:50 wins.

Among 2020’s winners, Manchego was not the only repeater. Perfect Sting was an easy winner in the glamour division: 3-year-old pacing colts. Last year the colt from Always B Miki’s first crop was an undefeated 10 for 10. He was more vulnerable this year, but easily outdistanced Ohio gelding Charlie May for the Dan Patch trophy. Lyons Sentinel won honors as a 2-year-old in 2019, but had no chance in 2020 vs. superstar Party Girl Hill. Lyons Sentinel captured a second Dan Patch award this year for her exploits as a 4-year-old.

The 2021 Dan Patch Trophy winning trotters:
2-year-old filly: VENERABLE (by Walner)
2-year-old colt: KING OF THE NORTH (Walner)
3-year-old filly: BELLA BELLINI (Bar Hopping)
3-year-old colt: JUJUBEE (Creatine)
Older mare: MANCHEGO (Muscle Hill)
Older male: FORBIDDEN TRADE (Kadabra)

The 2021 Dan Patch Trophy winning pacers:
2-year-old filly: NIKI HILL (Always B Miki)
2-year-old colt: MIKI MONTE (Always B Miki)
3-year-old filly: TEST OF FAITH (Art Major)
3-year-old colt: PERFECT STING (Always B Miki)
Older mare: LYONS SENTINEL (Captaintreacherous)
Older male: ALYWAG HANOVER (Captaintreacherous)

Test of Faith is heavily favored to be named Pacer-of-the-Year and Horse-of-the-Year. Trotting honors may prove more contentious, with Venerable and Jujubee likely to battle for the Trotter-of-the-Year title.

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