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-setting pacer Somebeachsomewhere was named harness racing’s Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association on Wednesday night during the Night of Champions banquet at the Bellagio hotel, receiving 121 of 158 votes to outdistance top trotter Deweycheatumnhowe, who had 35. Mister Big and Honorable Daughter each received one vote.


In addition to Horse of the Year, the connections of Somebeachsomewhere, who won 14 of 15 races in 2008 and set a single-season record with $2.44 million in purses, picked up Dan Patch Award trophies for Pacer of the Year and 3-year-old colt pacer of the year. In voting for Pacer of the Year, Somebeachsomewhere received 150 votes while older pacer Mister Big got four. Shadow Play, Nebupanezzar and Tug River Princess received one apiece.


Somebeachsomewhere’s wins included the $1.47 million North America Cup, the Breeders Crown, the Messenger Stakes, and the Confederation Cup. He was last season’s 2-year-old division champ and finished his career with 20 wins in 21 starts and $3.22 million in earnings. Only a loss to Art Official by a neck in the Meadowlands Pace, in a then-world-record 1:47 mile, separated “The Beach” from perfection.


In September, he equaled the fastest race mile in history with a 1:46.4 victory at Lexington’s Red Mile and also set the world record for 3-year-old pacers on a half-mile track. He was trained by Brent MacGrath, who co-owned the horse as part of the Schooner Stables, based in Nova Scotia, and driven by Paul MacDonell.


“It’s an honor to be recognized,” MacGrath said. “In our wildest dreams we never thought we would have a horse in the running. How can you imagine that? But he never went a bad race. Really, it’s tough to pick his best race. I thought they were all pretty special.”


Deweycheatumnhowe received Trotter of the Year after getting 155 votes. Muscle Hill received two while Honorable Daughter had one. “Dewey” also received the trophy as best 3-year-old colt trotter.


Trained and driven by Ray Schnittker, Deweycheatumnhowe became only the second trotter to reach $2 million in a single year, earning $2.2 million in 2008, and was the first trotter in history to reach $3 million in lifetime purses at the age of 3. The colt’s victories included the Hambletonian and Canadian Trotting Classic in addition to a three-heat triumph in the Kentucky Futurity. He finished 2008 with 12 wins in 15 races and closed his career with 22 victories in 25 starts and $3.1 million.


“It’s a great honor, especially coming from the harness writers because I’ve had some ups and downs with them,” Schnittker said. “But they were very nice and supportive of him. I’ll never get one that nice again. He had every good quality in a racehorse. I have tapes of all the races and I watched them (last Sunday) before the Super Bowl. It was a quick two years.”


Other division winners were 2-year-old colt trotter Muscle Hill, 2-year-old colt pacer Major In Art, 2-year-old filly trotter Honorable Daughter, 2-year-old filly pacer Fox Valley Topaz, 3-year-old filly trotter Lantern Kronos, 3-year-old filly pacer Tug River Princess, older male trotter Enough Talk, older female trotter Buck I St. Pat, older male pacer Mister Big and older female pacer My Little Dragon. (HRC)