Wakizashi Hanover Returns


He's made just one start in the last 12 months but millionaire Wakizashi Hanover is now back on the racetrack in familiar territory after recovering from an injury this summer.

Now seven, Wakizashi Hanover made just one start in 2019. He was victorious in the top class at Truro Raceway, the home track of his connections.

"We had that one trip in Truro in 54 and change," co-owner Bruce Kennedy told Trot Insider. "We had him looked at discovered he had a little tear at the top of his tendon. Only a quarter of an inch or so. We talked to a couple of vets and they said 'you better rest him, or lose him.' So we gave him a few months."

Kennedy, who co-owns Wakizashi Hanover along with Nova Scotians Percy Bonnell, Wayne Burley and Jennifer Weeks, noted that the time needed to heal the injury left the connections with a bit of quandary. While the plans for Wakizashi Hanover's 2019 campaign were far from etched in stone, the horse needed a place to race after being shipped back to Canada from the Delaware base of trainer Jim King Jr. earlier this year for some rest and relaxation.

"We brought him home just to give him a break and rehab him. My brother-in-law devoted his time to him. We played with him, gave him two months off and then brought him back, trained him down and he got pretty good and then they closed the track in our home town -- Truro, and then it was too chancy getting over the bridge to PEI...so I called Jimmy [King] and he said 'we're just standing here waiting for him'.

"So we said let's go back to Dover and see if he's good enough to handle what's down there now."

In his first test back at Dover Downs on Dec. 11, Wakizashi Hanover (Dragon Again - Western Gesture) was victorious in a 1:57.2 mile, comfortably pacing his back half in :59 over a track rated one second off.

"Jimmy was pretty pleased with him. The track was off and we didn't have a ton of work in him. We trained him a few trips in 2:00 on the half-mile at home. He was sound, straight, not touching a line."

Off that qualifying mile, Kennedy noted that the 2015 North America Cup and O'Brien Award winner will be dropped into the entry box at Dover for this Thursday (Dec. 19).

"We didn't want to make any concrete plans or get too high on him, just see how he comes back. We'll give him a couple of trips to tighten up and get going, and if he can do that on the track in Dover we'll make some decisions from there," said Kennedy. "We'll rely a lot on Jimmy for that, and that's how it always was. We communicate well with him and he's been good to us so we'll keep that communication door open.

"We have lots of inquiries of where he is and what he's doing. We don't get too wrapped up in that, we'll let him talk to the media with his performance."

A $23,000 yearling, Wakizashi Hanover has banked more than $1.58 million over his six seasons of racing and boasts a speed badge of 1:47.3 taken as a five-year-old at The Meadowlands. Kennedy was quick to add that, at the end of the day, the horse will make the call as to what his future holds.

"We thought we were going to get to Ontario with him. If he was going to stand the pace at home for two or three trips we'd probably be in Toronto instead of in Dover...If he doesn't make it and he can't stand the pace then he's going to get a retirement. He was good to us and we're going to be good to him and whatever he asks for."


AS a long time WIJI fan, I have to say his race Thursday night was a huge step in the right direction. Looked like his old self for 3/4, and then obviously tired. More races will fix that.

It's interesting that one of Wakizashi Hanover's main opponents at age 3 was Wiggle It Jiggleit, both horses are concurrently attempting to make comebacks after spending significant time on the shelf due to injuries, and both of them are attempting to make their comebacks at the same track! In fact, they're both entered at Dover Downs on Thursday night! WH has the #2 post in the 4th race vs. Winners Over, while WIJI has also drawn the #2 post in the 12th race Open pace, the same level that he raced at last week, when he finished 7th. Unfortunately, I think both horses are facing opposition which is over their heads.

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