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Vacation Time For Wakizashi Hanover

Published: January 25, 2019 7:20 pm ET

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After 80 career starts and a resume filled with Grand Circuit stakes appearances, 2015 O'Brien Award winner Wakizashi Hanover finds himself in unfamiliar territory to start the new year.

Ironically, those new surroundings could technically be called 'home.' Trot Insider has learned Wakizashi Hanover, who has just turned seven, is enjoying a well-deserved break from the racing wars with his owners in Truro, Nova Scotia.

"We've been pretty steady with him since we started with him at two," stated co-owner Bruce Kennedy in discussing the time off for his speedy stakes winner. "After three coming four, in the spring and fall of that year he had two throat operations, and then he developed a bit of a tendon problem up front and he's been sort of racing with that...so we decided to give him a break."

Owned by Kennedy -- who is himself on the mend after suffering a heart attack a few months ago -- along with fellow Nova Scotians Percy Bonnell, Wayne Burley and Jennifer Weeks, Wakizashi Hanover (Dragon Again - Western Gesture) wasn't as successful at six as he was in his five-year-old season where he eclipsed six figures in earnings and sailed to a new speed badge of 1:47.3 at The Meadowlands. While still consistently pacing miles in the 1:52 range last month at Dover Downs, Kennedy and the connections felt that now was a good time to give Wakizashi Hanover some fresh Maritime air.

"We shipped him home and we have him here at a facility about 30 miles from me," said Kennedy. "It's geared with an equiciser and a little bit of therapeutic equipment."

Kennedy was quick to heap praise and give credit those that laid the foundation for the success achieved by Wakizashi Hanover in a career that boasts 20 wins, more than $1.5 million in earnings, and an O'Brien Award as Canada's Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year in 2015. That process started with Gordon Corey, who broke the colt and developed the colt in North Carolina before recommending Jim & Joann King as a training team to take the colt onward and upward.


Shannon Doyle, the voice of racing for The Raceway at Western Fair District presents the O’Brien to the connections of Wakizashi Hanover. Left to right: Percy Bonnell, Diane Bonnell, Sheila Kennedy, Bruce Kennedy, Shannon Doyle, Jo Ann Looney King, Jim King, Wyatt Beaver.

"Jimmy and Joann have done a great, great job with the horse since day one. You couldn't ask for any more than what we had. The connections and the results, I don't know how it could be better."

While the short-term plan for Wakizashi Hanover is clear, Kennedy said the long-term plan is still yet to be determined with the horse having a lot to say about the future.

"We agreed to bring him home and sort of play with him for two months...I'm only a quarter of a mile from the racetrack in Truro. We can move him in a multi-stable barn there, start jogging him and see where it takes us.

"We're just going to give him lots of time and ease him back, and if he wants to race we'll hear from him again."


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