Harness Horse of Year: Always B Miki, fastest pacer ever
Always B Miki, the fastest pacer of all time, is harness racing's Horse of the Year.
The 5-year-old easily outpolled 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit 102-32 for the sport's highest honor in the voting by members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, Always B Miki was also voted Pacer of the Year.
Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder got Trotter of the Year honors in the closest vote in that category. He won by 73-72 over Hannelore Hanover.
Always B Miki set the world record with a 1:46 mile on Oct. 9 at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. The clocking erased the 1:46 1/5 standard set by Cambest 23 years ago.
Driven by David Miller, Always B Miki won 12 of 18 races this year, finishing worse than second only once. The defining moment of the campaign was the victory by three quarters of a length over Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands.
That head-to-head win tilted the Horse of the Year debate in his favor.
Always B Miki blossomed this season after injuries curtailed his 3- and 4-year-old seasons.
''I think he's the greatest pacer to ever walk on this earth,'' Takter said. ''I really do. If everything would have been his way, could you imagine how much better he could have been? He's a great, great horse.''
Takter joins Stanley Dancer as the only trainers with three different Horse of the Year winners. Takter's previous champions were Moni Maker in 1998 and 1999, and Malabar Man in 1997.
The winners will be honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 26 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.