Jamieson, Palone HTA Drivers Of 2009

Published: January 4, 2010 2:13 pm ET

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Jody Jamieson, Ontario’s new driving champion, has added North America’s top harness racing award for drivers to his honours. Jamieson finished in a dead heat with Dave Palone of Pennsylvania for Harness Tracks of America’s Driver of the Year award for 2009.

It was Palone’s fifth HTA cup, and Jamieson became the first Canadian driver ever to win while competing almost exclusively in Canadian races. Eight other Canadians have won in the 42-year history of the competition, but all drove primarily in the United States. Jamieson drove in 3,322 purse races last year, but 3,247 of them were in Canada and only 75 in the U.S.

Both Jamieson and Palone scored 88 points in winning the honor, the toughest in harness racing to attain. To win, a driver must finish in the top 25 internationally in three categories – races won, money won and percentage standings. Only five drivers, out of 4,030 who drove in at least one pari-mutuel race last year in the U.S. and Canada, were able to accomplish that feat.

Jody Jamieson won 796 races to finish first in that category, and was 7th in both money won, with US$10,400,000 earned by his mounts and in-themoney percentages, with a .366 average. Dave Palone accumulated his points by finishing fourth in races won with 697, 6th in money with $10.7 million earned by horses he drove, and fifth with a .382 in-the-money average in that category.

Jason Bartlett finished third with 86 points, Tim Tetrick was fourth with 78, and Jim Morrill Jr. finished fifth with 71.

Points were awarded 25 for finishing first in a category, down to 1 for finishing 25th, with a 25 point bonus for being in the top 25 in all three. Here are the final standings of North America’s top 10 in HTA’s Driver of the Year 2009 trophy race.