by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) sprinted away from the field in the last eighth of a mile to win the $250,000 Breeders Crown for trotting mares in 1:53.3 by two lengths on Friday night (Oct. 28) at the Meadowlands.
Hannelore Hanover is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and Jerry and Teresa Silva. She is a 4-year-old mare by Swan For All out of High Sobriety.
Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) and Hannelore Hanover were first to flirt with the lead, but Bee A Magician got there first just before the :27.4 first quarter-mile. Hannelore Hanover was right behind her on the rail and was on the move just beyond that point and took over the lead and held it to the :56.1 half-mile marker.
Shake It Cerry (Dave Miller) was on the move toward the lead from the back of the pack past the half and ranged second on the outside when Hannelore Hanover led the field to the 1:25.4 three-quarters. Bee A Magician was still along the rail behind those two as the field turned for home.
Hannelore Hanover had no serious challengers down the stretch and pulled away from the field for the win, her 16th in 19 starts this year. Bee A Magician was second and Shake It Cerry was third.
“I didn’t doubt my mare, she’s a great horse,” said Gingras. “The International was just a race to forget (she was seventh and broke stride at the start) on a half-mile track. There was definitely a Bee A Magician factor, she looked really good at Yonkers last week (Oct. 15) and I thought she would definitely give me a run for the money. She’s (Hannelore Hanover) got big lungs and that’s one of the reasons we were interested in going to Yonkers, the distance doesn’t faze her at all. She’s always strong finishing like she showed again tonight. She didn’t handle the half-mile but tonight she showed what a great horse she is.”
Burke certainly feels Hannelore Hanover’s performance is deserving of Horse of the Year consideration.
“It’s always special to finish off a good year with a Breeders Crown win,” he said. “I think that sews up, maybe there wasn’t a doubt, (divisional honors for older) trotting mare and keeps her in the running for Trotter of the Year. I was a little surprised when Yannick removed to the front, but I think he wanted to control the race and make sure she didn’t get boxed in. Bee A Magician I’m sure had a little bit more trot, but I think we had a lot more too, so even if she got out I think we could have held on. Whatever it is, we got there. If we get the win we’re happy.”
Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman acknowledged how tenaciously 2014 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician competed after a tendon injury that very well could have terminated her career.
“She was super,” he said. “She had lots of trot. She was good enough to win, she just didn’t get any room. I was happy with everything. She raced good and Brian (Sears) drove her good, I thought he put her in the right spot. She just didn’t get the shot at it. She went over $4 million (in career earnings), but it would have been nice to get another Breeders Crown.
“It’s amazing (on her return to racing). That’s just a credit to her. She’s such an athlete. She’s overcome a lot and she’s right back at a very high level. It seems a shame to shut her down. She’s right back to where she should be. We’re going to look into (going overseas). I’d like to take her to France, perhaps not to race in the Prix d’Amerique but some of those races that Maven raced in, just to give her another month of racing. It’s just option. We haven’t really gotten very far with it. We wanted to get this over with and see how we finished up here.”