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In Harness: Bulldog Hanover Wins USHWA Stan Bergstein Proximity Award
By {USTA Harness Writers}

USTA/Lisa Photo

Bulldog Hanover winning the Haughton Memorial
at the Meadowlands in a record 1:45.4, has
been named the 2022 USHWA Stan Bergstein
Proximity Award winner.

(Courtesy of United States Harness Writers Association)

Harrisburg, PA – The 4-year-old pacer Bulldog Hanover, who posted the fastest time ever for a mile this summer when he won in 1:45.4 while capturing the imagination of all both within and outside the harness sport, has been selected as the winner of the 2022 Stan Bergstein Proximity Award, the highest honor voted on solely by the members of the United States Harness Writers Association, the leading organization for harness racing communicators.

Bulldog Hanover becomes only the third horse to win the award, following Rambling Willie in 1984 and Foiled Again in 2018. Both of those veterans etched their names into history with a decade or more of record-setting racetrack achievement; while a very good horse at two and three, Bulldog Hanover and his record 2022 campaign provided the incandescence that enabled the horse to receive this highest accolade.

Bred and consigned as a yearling by Hanover Shoe Farms, Bulldog Hanover was raced by trainer Jack Darling’s Jack Darling Stables LTD until midway through his 3-year-old season, when prominent owner Brad Grant bought a share of the horse. Bulldog Hanover won 14 of 21 starts at age two and three, earning $769,094, but his four-year-old campaign in 2022 secured his legendary status.

“The Bulldog” won 14 of his 16 starts during 2022, and he was the North American sport’s top money winner by far, banking $1,649,906. He won the TVG Open Final, the Breeders Crown Open Final, the Canadian Pacing Derby Final in his “home province” in Ontario, and the W.R. Haughton Memorial, a race that will make an impression on racing fans for years to come: after being parked past a :26 quarter, he went to the lead for regular pilot Dexter Dunn, posted midrace splits of :53.1 and 1:20.3, then streaked home in a supersonic :25.1 to complete the unprecedented 1:45.4 mile, a fifth faster than nearest rivals Always B Miki, Lather Up, and Allywag Hanover.

As Bulldog Hanover consistently showed himself to be a superior horse, appreciative fans – and horsemen – wanted to see the star “up close,” and the media peppered trainer Darling with questions, all of which he handled with aplomb. Bulldog Hanover even had visitors back at his barn, seeing the superstar in his familiar, comfortable surroundings. The sport’s profile was raised considerably by the exploits of Bulldog Hanover and his connections – actually, a very good year for harness racing was made even better by the charismatic horse.

This is the 75th anniversary of the founding of USHWA, and the Proximity Award is almost as old – it dates back to 1952, when starting gate inventor Steve Phillips was first presented the award named after the 1950 Harness Horse of the Year Proximity. Proximity was a trotting mare who took a time-trial mark of 1:59.3 and earned $252,924 (a lofty sum in those days), and won Horse of the Year in her 8-year-old campaign. Upon the 2011 passing of the legendary Stan Bergstein, the only inductee into both the Hall Of Fame and Communicators Hall Of Fame, it was decided the best way to honor his memory was to jointly put his name with Proximity’s on the most prestigious award voted on solely by USHWAns.

Bulldog Hanover will be recognized at the 2023 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, presented by Caesars Entertainment, which will honor the best of the best of harness racing, both human and equine. The evening culminates with the announcement of the E. Roland Harriman Harness Horse of the Year, and will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, FL.

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) is the leading group of communicators about the Standardbred horse. USHWA conducts the official annual balloting for the sport’s most prestigious honors: induction to the Hall of Fame and Communicators Hall of Fame, along with the selection of the Horse of the Year, Trotter and Pacer of the Year, and the leading divisional horses of each season. Each year USHWA hosts the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, honoring the best and brightest performers in North American harness racing. This banquet is the Association’s principal source of funding, and with generous financial support from the harness racing and breeding industry, USHWA is able to host the banquet at a world-class facility in a world-class manner.

The remainder of the 2022 Dan Patch Awards will be announced over the next fortnight.

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