Fourteen years after Sportswriter won the O'Brien Award for two-year-old pacing colts in 2009, Casie Coleman has another O'Brien Award winner in that division with Legendary Hanover.
And she'd surely like to see her latest protege develop into the level of sophomore that Sportswriter showed before that son of Artsplace was retired due to injury.
This past Saturday, Feb. 3, Legendary Hanover was awarded the 2023 O’Brien Award In the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt category at the black tie gala in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The son of Huntsville-Lillian Hanover found the winner’s circle six times in nine starts, while taking a speed badge of 1:50 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Included in those victories, the talented freshman captured Nassagaweya and Champlain stakes divisions, as well as the Dream Maker Series final.
The richest payday for the colt came courtesy of his second-place effort in the $970,000 Metro Pace, helping lift his seasonal earnings to $405,100 for Coleman's West Wins Stable, Eric Good of Davidsonville, Md. and Mark Dumain of Pine Bush, N.Y.
Coleman provided an update on Legendary Hanover to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Elissa Blowe and Jeff Bratt during the pre-card show on Thursday, Feb. 8.
"Yeah, he was a big boy as a two-year-old but he's filled into himself now — he's a man now. He's got a big ass end, big shoulder...last time I measured his hopples I think they're about 64 inches.
"He's a big, big boy and he's training back great. He looks like a million bucks. He's training very, very good. I got nothing negative to say about him right now. If everything looks this good come North America Cup time with him, I will be pretty happy."
A difference in the Coleman operation these days is the change of approach. In prior years, Coleman would ship north with the stable. Now, residing year-round in Wellington, Florida, her focus is young horse development and not managing a bustling full-time stable.
"When I got out of the claimers and overnight horses and went to the babies and it ended up being a very good decision," said Coleman. "I've been very fortunate to have some very fast babies and a handful that went on to be studs, which has kind of changed things for me.
"I love the stakes program. I love racing two and three-year-olds. It's not often I keep an older one anymore. I've got Linedrive [Hanover] now but he's the only one older than three at the moment. There's 16 here with me and one with Linda [Toscano] to make 17. I just stepped back. I used to keep between 100 to 130-ish in my stable but I just took the numbers back substantially and I like the way I'm doing things right now with just selecting and prepping young horses."
Coleman also updated the Mohawk crew on some of her emerging two-year-olds and returning three-year-olds while also reflecting on the recently departed American Ideal. The full interview is available below.