Columbus, OH — Rock N Roll Heaven finished his racing career a month ago, but added another win to his resume Tuesday.
Rock N Roll Heaven, who completed his career with a 10-race win streak that included a world-record performance in the Little Brown Jug, was named harness racing’s best 3-year-old male pacer by the U.S. Harness Writers Association in Dan Patch Award voting revealed Tuesday.
Award-winners were named in 12 age-based divisions for trotters and pacers. The results of USHWA balloting for Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at the organization’s annual awards dinner, to be held February 27 at the Marriott in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Other division winners were 2-year-old male trotter Pastor Stephen, 2-year-old male pacer Big Jim, 2-year-old filly trotter Crys Dream, 2-year-old filly pacer See You At Peelers, 3-year-old male trotter Lucky Chucky, 3-year-old filly trotter Bar Slide, 3-year-old filly pacer Put On A Show, older male trotter Enough Talk, older female trotter Buck I St Pat, older male pacer Won The West and older female pacer Dreamfair Eternal.
Buck I St Pat has won three consecutive awards for best older female trotter, joining Moni Maker (1997-2000), Peace Corps (1990-92), Scenic Regal (1987-89) and Fresh Yankee (1969-72) as mares to earn the honor at least three years in a row. Buck I St Pat was named on all 131 ballots returned, making her the only unanimous selection this year.
Enough Talk claimed his second award for best older male trotter; he won previously in 2008. He joins Mr Muscleman (2004-05) and No Sex Please (1990 and 1992) as the only horses to win twice in the last 34 years.
Won The West captured his second consecutive division title as best older male pacer. He joins Mister Big (2007-08) and Red Bow Tie (1998-99) as the only horses to pull off the double in the last 32 years.
Lucky Chucky earned his second straight division crown, having won the 2-year-old male trotter title last season. He is the fourth consecutive trotter to accomplish that feat, following Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe and Donato Hanover.
Rock N Roll Heaven, the top-ranked horse in the year-end Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, was named on 129 of 131 ballots returned. In addition to the Little Brown Jug, which he won in consecutive heats with back-to-back world-record-equaling 1:49.2 miles, Rock N Roll Heaven’s victories included the Breeders Crown, Tattersalls Pace, Battle of the Brandywine, and Messenger Stakes.
Trained by Bruce Saunders and driven primarily by Daniel Dube, the colt earned $2.15 million, good for the seventh richest season ever for a pacer of any age. He is owned by Frank Bellino.
Among the other award winners, Pastor Stephen won the closest balloting since 1988. He defeated Manofmanymissions by one vote, 56-55. In 1988, Esquire Spur defeated Park Avenue Joe 82.5-82 in voting for 3-year-old male trotter.
See You At Peelers finished the year with 13 wins in 13 races and became only the second 2-year-old filly pacer to win her Dan Patch Award with an undefeated season. My Little Dragon, who was 6-for-6 in 2005, was the first.
Put On A Show won 12 of 16 starts and $1.16 million this year, pushing her career earnings to $1.89 million and setting the record for highest earnings for a filly pacer. Miss Easy held the record, with $1.77 million earned in 1990-91.