Monticello NY — Don Marean, one of the strongest advocates for harness racing in the state of Maine for going on three decades, and Adriano Sorella, an Ontario advertising executive who is also looking to put harness racing in a more positive light, have been selected for President’s Awards by Shawn Wiles, top officer of the United States Harness Racing Association, the sport’s leading media organization.
Marean owned a hardware and feed company which he sold to his employees, then with his wife Linda took up the operation of Lin-Don Farm Inc., a commercial breeding and owning establishment. As Marean’s understanding of the framework of the industry grew, he ran for the state House of Representatives in Maine, and has won election six times. He has been president and director of the Maine Standardbred Owners Association, and a director of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association.
His service to harness racing also extends to the national and North American level. He is the vice-chairman of the United States Trotting Association and is district chairman for District 9 (New England). Marean’s service has previously been recognized with the Distinguished Service Award for the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association and with an Appreciation Award from Harness Horsemen International.
“Don serves as the vanguard of harness racing in the great state of Maine,” Wiles said in making the announcement. “He has fought long and hard in Maine politics for many years to protect the interests of our sport and its horsemen throughout the state.”
Sorella is a high-powered marketing executive who has enjoyed success at the uppermost levels of North American harness racing, starting with Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation. His most recent success has been Jimmy Freight, who is going to stud in 2020 after winning $1.28 million, being a major factor in the Ontario Sire Stakes, and then progressing to high competitiveness against the fastest pacers in the sport.
Jimmy Freight also gives a good example of Sorella’s ability to cross-leverage to harness racing’s advantage. Sorella used Facebook and other cutting-edge technologies to create quite a Jimmy Freight fan club, with seasoned and new fans alike following the horse.
The humanitarian side of Sorella showed when he was one of the leaders after Classy Lane Stables suffered a horrendous fire in 2016, in which 43 horses perished, helping to raise funds for horsemen whose careers were literally wiped out by the devastation.
USHWA President Wiles notes: “Adriano’s skill set of being social media-savvy, combined with his promotional prowess and outside-the-box thinking, showcases our great sport in a refreshing and positive light, geared to the general audience and perhaps even more importantly showcasing the sport to our younger fan base.”
Marean and Sorella will be honored at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, celebrating the best and brightest of harness racing in the past year. The banquet honoring the champions of 2019 will be held on Sunday (Feb. 23) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., the climax of a weekend that also finds USHWA holding its annual national meetings. The Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be revealed for the first time at the banquet.
Tickets for the Dan Patch Awards banquet are $180, with a filet mignon dinner featured; “post times” on Feb. 23 are cocktails at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow. Tickets, and other banquet-related information, can be obtained through Dinner Planning Committee Chair Judy Davis-Wilson, at email@example.com or 302.359.3630.
Hotel reservations for those attending can be made through USHWA’s website, www.ushwa.net; a link to the hotel’s computer is on the front page of the website. Those who would like to take out congratulatory ads for award winners in the always-popular Dan Patch Awards Journal can do so by contacting Kim Rinker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708.557.2790 (the 2019 journal is online at the writers’ website).