Minnesota Freshman Awards Announced

By Darin Gagne for Minnesota Harness Racing

Thursday, February 9, 2023 

Columbus, MN – 

MHRI has announced the freshman divisional award winners for the 2022 season: 

Wavzeka, who was recently named the 2022 County Fair Pacer Of The Year, has also captured the Running Aces divisional award for freshman pacing fillies. The impressive daughter of Art’s Chip is owned by Jay De Long and trained by Justin Anfinson. She had two wins and two seconds from her nine Aces outings and captured the divisional final on Night of Champions in 1:59.3 with regular driver Rick Magee in the bike. 

Fillister Photo (Easy Again) was a very close second in the freshman pacing filly division (176-175 points) and captured the Runner-Up award. She had 4 wins and 1 second at Running Aces and took a mark of 1:57.2 with regular driver Chad Svendsen at the controls for owner Penny Lundell and trainer Joel Mc Danel. 

I’m A Skoldier (Wind Me Up) dominated the freshman colt pacing division with 7 wins in nine starts at Running Aces, including a 1:56.1 tally on Night of Champions. He is owned by Van Otterloo Stables and trained by Robert Lems, and was regularly driven by Mooney Svendsen. He took his freshman mark of 1:55.1 on August 4 while in the midst of a six-race win streak. He accumulated 355 points to become the clear division champion. 

Polar Storm collected 167 divisional points to earn the Runner-Up award. He is also a son of the standout sire Wind Me Up and is a homebred for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte. Polar Storm was regularly driven by James Lackey for trainer Justin Anfinson. He had 6 seconds and 1 third at the Running Aces meet. 

Al-Mar Rich’s Jetta (Lear Jetta) earned the nod as freshman filly trotter of the year on the strength of 3 wins and 1 third from seven Aces starts (for 162 points) while banking $47,676 and taking a mark of 2:02. Brandon Jenson was the regular driver for owner Larry Jenson and trainer Brady Jenson, making it truly a family affair. 

Caronamar (Southwind Cobra) garnered 88 points in the rookie fillies division to earn the Runner-Up award. She began to blossom at the end of the Aces season, posting back-to-back second place finishes including an impressive runner-up showing on Night of Champions for owners Jay De Long and Jeanne Marquis and trainer Justin Anfinson. 

Iron Sharpens Iron (Banker Volo) was almost invincible in his freshman campaign to easily capture the two-year-old colt trotting division, posting 11 wins from 12 starts and racking up 455 divisional points. He re-wrote the record books on three occasions throughout his stellar season, taking a freshman mark of 1:58.1 on September 6, and equalling that record again on Night of Champions, and also became the first Minnesota-sired freshman to eclipse the $100,000 mark in seasonal earnings. He is a homebred for owner Jeralene Roland and trainer Dan Roland. Angie Coleman was assistant trainer for Iron Sharpens Iron and Luke Plano was his regular pilot. 

Whata Tettegouche (Braggart) was the clear runner-up in this division, finishing a strong second to the division winner on 7 occasions throughout the season. He took a mark of 2:02.1 and earned a very respectable $50,808 for his freshman campaign for owners Mitchell, Rebecca and Craig Banks. 

MHRI will continue to spotlight the 2022 Minnesota Award winners throughout the month of February. Next week the sophomore division winners will be announced. 

All of the 2022 Minnesota Harness Racing Award winners will be celebrated at the MHRI Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 6 at Running Aces. The overall Horse Of The Year award will be voted on at the Banquet. 


First photo: Wavzeka with driver Rick Magee

2nd photo: I’m A Skoldier with driver Mooney Svendsen

3rd photo: Al Mar Rich’s Jetta with driver Brandon Jenson

4th photo: Iron Sharpens Iron with driver Luke Plano 

Photo credits: Dee Leftwich 

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