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Hey Livvy Is Worth The Wait

Published: January 17, 2021 4:58 pm ET

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One of the best character traits any horseperson can possess has to be patience. It certainly came in handy for the management of the talented yet temperamental trotting mare, Hey Livvy.

Throughout her career she’s flashed wicked speed, but at times she proved to be her own worst enemy and that led to inconsistent performances for the six-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover-Nevis Bi.

The 2020 season, however, saw the mare transform into a high speed performer that was much more dependable than what she’d been in previous years. And a strong supporting cast in her corner deserves a great deal of the credit to getting her to that point.

“They couldn’t get her qualified and nobody could get along with her, so I went with her a couple of times and then I booked off of her once or twice and she didn’t get along with whoever drove her in between,” driver and co-owner Trevor Henry told Trot Insider when asked about Hey Livvy. “So they said ‘If we give you 10 percent of her you have to drive her. And I said, yeah I’ll take the 10 percent. We just seem to get along.”

Get along, indeed. The mare assembled a 9-3-2 record from 23 starts in 2020, and along the way she earned a new speed badge of 1:51.1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. She also managed to stash away more than $280,000 -- the most she’d managed to bank in a single season in her career.

“She’s very hard to get along with”, added Henry. “She’s temperamental. They were looking for a driver that would stick with her all the time, and when they gave me the 10 percent I had to drive her. Sticking with her was the smart thing to do.”

While Henry accepted some of the credit, he was quick to share a great deal of the back-patting with the people who put up with her idiosyncrasies on a more regular basis.

“Jeff Gillis and Ron Waples Jr., deserve a lot of credit,” admitted Henry. “Ron is Jeff’s second trainer and he does a lot of work with her at the farm. I can imagine throughout the week it isn’t much fun jogging and looking after her. I only have to look after her for a couple of minutes on the track once a week. It took a lot of patience to get her where she is now.”

Henry claimed she always had speed and talent, but it was a bit of a struggle to get her to put it to good use on a steady basis.

“She was good right off the start, but it took about 10 races where I could take her back and do what I wanted with her,” he claimed. “That’s when you knew she was going to be a good horse. She won a lot of races but they were all on the front end. It was when she started to relax a little and I could take her back and I could do whatever I wanted with her. That’s when I thought she had a shot to be one of the top ones.”

She was one of the nation’s most dominant mares in the Open ranks locally, but she also proved she could dance with and beat the best. And that’s what brings Henry to the moment that stood out among all others with her.

“The highlight of the year was the Armbro Flight,” recalled Henry. “That race, she was in with some really tough mares. Atlanta made a break, which helped, but she still beat them. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Hey Livvy raced steadily and consistently from the middle of February until the end of December, and at that point she was starting to send a message to her connections that it was time for a break.

“Her last couple of starts she showed she’d had enough, so we were going to give her a couple of months off,” said Henry. “You’ve got to do everything right by a watch with her. As soon as you change something it throws her right off.”

The exceptional season for Hey Livvy puts her in a solid position to haul home more hardware, and that’s something that Henry is quite proud of.

“I was happy when we got the call about her being a finalist,” he recalled. “I think she deserves it. She’s a very fast mare and she beat some of the best there is. I was happy for everybody involved because she’s very hard to get along with. It took a lot of patience to get her where she is. I think she deserves and I think everybody that’s involved with her deserves it.”

And while this year’s O’Brien Awards will be held in a different manner than the past, Henry says he’s still looking forward to enjoying the evening’s presentation from the comfort of his Arthur, Ont. home. But he’ll miss the traditional O’Brien Awards evening.

“I really looked forward to going to the O’Briens every year, especially when you’re nominated,” he said. “Some people you haven’t seen since the last O’Brien Awards because you’re working all summer and fall and then finally you get a little party at the end of the year and it’s nice.”

The 2020 Virtual O’Brien Awards Gala takes place on Sunday, January 31, 2021 and will be available for viewing on from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. (EST).

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