by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- With just three live racing dates remaining on the 2022 schedule, Buffalo Raceway announced its seasonal award winners during the Saturday afternoon (July 9) program.
BR22 DOTM award presentation.jpg    
Photo by Bill Burke    
Jim Morrill Jr. with Paige Usiak    
Jim Morrill Jr. won his second consecutive driving title at Buffalo Raceway, collecting 85 victories in 290 starts, amassing $767,230 in purse earnings with three cards remaining. Morrill Jr. also won the crowns in 2006, 2016 and 2021.
His 2006 season was an unforgettable one as he posted a track record 214 victories which still stands today. He beat Keith Kash Jr. that year who finished a distant second with 108 wins. Shawn T. Gray (206) and Kevin Cummings (203) are the two other drivers who have surpassed 200 victories in a year at Buffalo Raceway. Gray accomplished that in 2012 and Cummings in 2015.
Drew Monti is currently second in the standings with 71 wins and $619,045 in purses while Kevin Cummings ranks third with 63 victories and $601,395 in purse earnings.
Shawn McDonough won Trainer Of The Meet honors, his first ever, as he notched 53 wins in 267 attempts, earning $403,170 in purses thus far in 2022.
"At the end of last year at Buffalo, my goal was to get enough horses to contend for the trainer's title," McDonough said. Mission accomplished. He has 25 horses in his stable currently in East Bethany, N.Y. and was helped out by having Morrill Jr. drive some of his trainees.
BR2022 trainer trotter (1).jpg    
Photo by Bill Burke    
Trainer Shawn McDonough gets award.    
"Jim and I are good friends and anytime I can have someone who should be a Hall Of Famer drive for me, I'll do it," McDonough said. "It takes a lot of stress off my shoulders when he me a break. Jim gets along better with some horses than I do and vice versa. That's how we decide who is going to ride who."
McDonough went on to say, "I've got a good team of five working with me plus I have a good track to train on at the farm. It really has made a big difference."
While enjoying the award for Trainer Of The Year, McDonough also celebrated his trainee Mugshots Bro who was selected the Trotter Of The Year.
The 10-year-old gelded Mugshots Bro (Jailhouse Jesse-Photo Emmy) is co-owned by Herman Niedhammer and Herman Niedhammer Jr. Mugshots Bro collected five wins, a second and a third place finish in nine starts this season He earned $40,595 in purses and had a five-race win streak with four of those wins coming from the outside posts.
"He's just unreal," McDonough said of Mugshots Bro. "I can't believe how good he is. He puts his nose behind the starting gate and forgets everything else. He just goes."
br2022 TOTM owner Herman Niedammer.jpg    
Photo by Bill Burke    
Mugshots Bro owner Herman Niedhammer    
Stop Action was a model of consistency and determination throughout the season and claimed the Pacer Of The Meet award.
Owned by Super Mile LLC and trained by Angelo Nappo, the 5-year-old gelded Stop Action (Somebeachsomewhere-The Show Returns) started the year in the $5,500 level but steadily worked his way up to Open competition where he found continued success.
Stop Action has 22 starts thus far on the season, finishing in the money 16 times including eight victories and $69,595 in earnings, the most of any horse at the track. His seasonal best was 1:54.0.and was driven by Cummings throughout much of the season.
Buffalo Raceway has just three programs left on the 2022 season with the first coming Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes makes its last trip of the year to the Hamburg half mile oval where a field of six colt and geldingfreshmen pacers battle for the $104,400 purse in the sixth race. There is also a $15,000 Excelsior A event and a $6,600 Excelsior B affair.
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