Hurley’s Always B Miki wins Horse of Year

U.S. Trotting Association

Always B Miki, bred and co-owned by Wilmington-based Joe Hurley’s Roll The Dice Stable, on Monday was named harness racing’s Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year by the U.S Harness Writers Association.

The 5-year-old stallion defeated Harrington-based Wiggle It Jiggleit in the voting for Pacer of the Year, 109-37, and for Horse of the Year, 102-32. Wiggle It Jiggleit was the 2015 Horse of the Year.

Always B Miki, who was twice sidelined by injuries that forced him to miss the end of his 3-year-old season and the majority of his 4-year-old campaign, paced the fastest mile in harness racing history on Oct. 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile when he won the Allerage Open Pace in 1:46.

His time eclipsed Cambest’s 1:46.1 mark, which was established in a time trial and stood as the record for 23 years, and lowered the race record, shared by multiple horses, by four-fifths of a second.

Always B Miki, who was twice sidelined by injuries that forced him to miss the end of his 3-year-old season and the majority of his 4-year-old campaign, paced the fastest mile in harness racing history on Oct. 9 at Lexington’s Red Mile when he won the Allerage Open Pace in 1:46. (U.S. Trotting Association photo/Mark Hall)

In addition to becoming the fastest horse in history, Always B Miki shares the world record of 1:47 for the fastest mile by a horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki paced 1:47 on a five-eighths oval on three occasions, an unprecedented feat. He also holds the record of 1:47.1 for the fastest mile ever paced in Canada.

Always B Miki, driven by David Miller, won 12 of 18 races this year and finished worse than second only once. His victories included the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, William Haughton Memorial, and TVG Series championship for male pacers.

“I think he’s the greatest pacer to ever walk on this earth,” trainer Jimmy Takter said. “I really do. If everything would have been his way, could you imagine how much even better he could have been? He’s a great, great horse.”

A son of Always A Virgin out of the mare Artstopper, Always B Miki was bred by Hurley’s Roll The Dice Stable, which owns the stallion with Bluewood Stable and Christina Takter.

“If someone said I could win Powerball for some ridiculous amount of money or have Miki, it wouldn’t even be a question. It would be Miki,” said Hurley, an attorney in Wilmington. “This is like Powerball on steroids.”

Three-year-old colt Marion Marauder, who this year became the ninth horse in history to win the Trotting Triple Crown, edged mare Hannelore Hanover in the voting for Trotter of the Year, 73-72, in the closest vote in the 46-year history of the award.

The previous closest finish for Trotter of the Year was in 1971 when Speedy Crown defeated Fresh Yankee, 71-68.

Marion Marauder won 10 of 15 starts and finished second three times this season for the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. Marion Marauder is owned by the couple’s son, Devin Keeling, and Wellwood’s mother, Marion Jean Wellwood. Scott Zeron was the colt’s regular driver.

All winners will be honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet presented by Hoosier Park on Feb. 26 at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas.

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