December 22, 2014

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) Jimmy Takter has been named the trainer of the year in harness racing for the fourth time and Yannick Gingras has won the driver of the year award.

The U.S. Harness Writers Association announced the selections on Monday.

Takter received 84 of 140 votes, finishing ahead of Ron Burke, who got 56 votes. Gingras was the only driver nominated by the association's chapters.

Despite starting horses 729 times through Dec. 21, Takter's stable earned a career-best $13.35 million, an average of more than $18,300. The 54-year-old trainer won this year's Hambletonian with Trixton, a horse he also drove to the victory, and the Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit. Takter became only the second trainer to win both races in the same year, joining Jan Johnson from 1988.

The Hambletonian was the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. The Takter-trained Nuncio swept the remaining two legs, the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot.

Takter also won three Breeders Crown trophies, with 2-year-old male trotter Pinkman, 3-year-old male trotter Father Patrick, and 3-year-old female trotter Shake It Cerry.

Takter's previous Trainer of the Year honors came in 2010, 2000 and 1996.

The 35-year-old Gingras established career highs in purses, with $17.29 million, and wins, with 555. His earnings led all drivers in North America and were more than $5 million ahead of second place.

A native of Quebec, Gingras won four Breeders Crown titles, victories that were among 15 triumphs worth more than $300,000 this year. Those 15 lucrative wins came with nine different horses and included the Canadian Trotting Classic, Hambletonian Oaks, Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace.

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