Hannelore Hanover Returns to Hoosier Park to Defend Centaur Trotting Classic Title

Story By: Kim French, USTA Newsroom Correspondent

Columbus, OH — On Aug. 5, 2015 Hannelore Hanover commenced a winning streak that would propel her from a popular Indiana Sire Stakes participant to one of the most visibly recognizable horses in harness racing. The Dan Patch Award winner and world champion has accomplished nearly every feat imaginable in the sport, including a Breeders Crown triumph and defeating males on multiple occasions. On Friday (Sept. 22) the 5-year-old mare will attempt to place her name in the record books yet again with an appearance in the $240,000 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park, as a visit to the Anderson, Ind. winner’s circle will cement her achievement as the only horse to ever capture this contest in consecutive years.

“She came out of her last race great and we are just following the same schedule we did with her last year,” said co-owner Frank Baldachino. “We already know she likes Hoosier Park and everyone there treats us so well. We are looking forward to Friday night.”

A daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety, Hannelore Hanover is conditioned by Ron Burke, who owns the imposing mare with Baldachino, Weaver Bruscemi and J&T Silva Stables. A career winner of $1.96 million, the mare possesses a sterling resume of 51-31-13-2 and enters this event off a powerful performance in the $486,260 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack last Saturday evening where she left fellow world champions JL Cruze and Homicide Hunter in her wake.

On Friday evening she retains the services of regular pilot Yannick Gingras and will leave from post position six in the field of 10. Her competition, as usual, will be stiff, as she faces JL Cruze (post position two, David Miller), fellow Indiana champion Homicide Hunter (post position seven, Brett Miller) and track record holder Natural Herbie.

“She is very lightly raced this year,” Baldachino said. “I think she only has 10 starts and every time she goes out there I know she is going to give her best. The only time she has ever put in a bad race was at Yonkers in the International Trot last year (seventh after a break) on a track I don’t think she cared for. When she was at the Meadowlands this year (fourth place finish in the $176,250 Steele Memorial) I could tell she wasn’t herself when she was scoring down. Sure enough she came out of that race sick and the loss at Miami Valley (on May 7) was her first start of the season. Last year she had four starts before she went there so you can never fault her for any of her efforts.”

In addition to her speed, determination and desire to hit the wire first, Hannelore Hanover also is imbued with another characteristic that may afford her an edge over her rivals.

“She has some sass to her,” Baldachino said. “She is not opposed to thinking about kicking me when I’m around her in the barn. You can see her getting into position and that’s when I move right around her rear end. She makes you pay attention to her. But being sassy is not a bad thing, a lot of the good horses have that way about them.”

Despite Baldachino realizing Hannelore Hanover is indeed a special horse, he also maintains a very grounded approach when it comes right down to it.

“I’ve had a lot of very good horses like All Bets Off and Go On BB,” he said. “And I would like nothing more than go out and shoot my mouth off about how incredible Hannelore is, but I try to keep things on a middle ground. I try not to get too high or too low and accept things just for what they are. I take each race for what it is and only focus on that. You never know when it could be the last one, so I just enjoy each one for what it is; nothing more and nothing less.”

After the results are final for Friday’s event, Hannelore Hanover will still have some travel remaining before ultimately targeting a defense of her Breeders Crown title.

“We will follow the same schedule as we did with her last year,” Baldachino said. “She will go to Dayton, Lexington and then hopefully the Breeders Crown. We’ll decide if she is going to race next year if she comes out of her winter vacation sound and showing us she wants to do it. We will let her tell us what she wants to do.”

To view the full field and entire card, which includes the $240,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, the $160,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy Pace, the $160,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby and the $125,000 Elevation Pace, please click here.

Photo: Hannelore Hanover returns to Hoosier Park to headline the $240,000 Centaur Trotting Classic. Photo courtesy of Linscott Photography.