Pacing stallion Voracious Hanover and his richest son Stuckey Dote are both set to be inducted into the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame at the Minnesota Harness Racing Inc. annual meeting and awards banquet on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Running Aces Casino, Hotel and Racetrack.
Voracious Hanover, who will be inducted to the Immortals list, was one of the most productive pacing stallions to stand in Minnesota to date. He was owned in Minnesota by Joel, Merlin and Kyle Van Otterloo and Erica Vickery.
The son of Dragon Again was out of the Bo Knows Jate mare Varbo, and was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. He was campaigned during his racing career by trainer Ben Stafford for owners Kathleen Stafford and John Heckler.
Voracious Hanover won multiple divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at both two and three, and also won a division of the Keystone Classic at age three. His racing career spanned six years from 2004 to 2009, during which time he amassed earnings of $299,119 and took his career mark of 1:51f as a sophomore.
His prolific breeding career in Minnesota began with the 2009 breeding season and his last active season was 2015. Sadly, he passed away before the 2016 breeding season. In total, Voracious Hanover sired 65 starters from 90 registered foals, with 38 two-minute performers and 29 performers in 1:55 or better.
His progeny have collectively earned more than $4.8 million to date, with his top four earners including Stuckey Dote ($470,157), Cruzin Coco ($366,764), Swagasaurusrex ($338,069) and SB Bodacious ($322,043). His fastest performer to date has been Swagasaurusrex, who took a mark of 1:49.1s in 2017.
Stuckey Dote (pictured above) will be inducted into the living Hall of Fame after a brilliant career on the racetrack where he won 46 races and posted 95 top three finishes from 165 starts.
Stuckey Dote, a foal of 2013, is out of the Artsplace mare Missy Artsie and is a homebred for breeder/owner Merlin Van Otterloo. The strapping black gelding was a star on the track in Minnesota right from the beginning and went on to rack up a record five Minnesota Night of Champions victories over his eight seasons on the track which spanned from 2015 through 2023.
Stuckey Dote also took his talents on the road across the Midwest and was able to compete at the top levels in Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, and took his career mark of 1:50.3f at Scioto Downs at age six in 2019. His fastest Minnesota win (1:51.1) was achieved at Running Aces in 2021 at age eight. Brett Ballinger was the regular trainer for Stuckey Dote during most of his racing campaign.
Stuckey Dote was a war horse who bounced back from illness and injury many times throughout his career. He did not race in 2022 due to a broken foot, but made a comeback in 2023 at age 10, finding his way back to the winner's circle to score his 46th career win on Aug. 29, then he jus -missed while second by a neck in his next start and then was a fast-closing third, beaten only one length, in his final career start in the Minnesota-sired aged consolation race on Sept. 15.
Greg Budach will be honoured with induction into the Living Persons sector of the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Budach became involved in harness racing at age 15 and has never looked back, it has been a life-long passion for him ever since. He joined the USTA in 1979 and has been an active driver, trainer and owner ever since.
By the numbers, his most notable years as a driver were in 1992 and 1993, when he posted combined numbers of 33 wins and 64 top three finishes from 101 total starts, with a combined UDRS north of (.450). Over the years, he has driven 168 winners, mostly on the Minnesota fairs circuit.
A native of Albert Lea, Budach has made his home in Janesville with his wife Michelle and their children. Budach has always made time for harness racing and has shared his passion for the sport with his wife and his kids as well. Greg and Michelle were the breeders and owners of Dream Chasin, who was a standout pacer in Minnesota as a freshman and a sophomore, winning the year-end championship race both years while taking a mark of 1:53.3 at Running Aces at age three. The experience with Dream Chasin was all the more special for the Budachs because they were also the breeders and owners of his dam, One Wild Apple.
The Budach family has shared many memorable times around harness racing, campaigning Dream Chasin and many others over the years.
Budach has always made it a point to give back to the sport that has given him so much enjoyment. He has served on the board of directors of Minnesota Harness Racing Inc. for more than 30 years, serving as a board member and treasurer for the organization and has been there through both the lean times as well as being an instrumental part of the growth of the sport in Minnesota in recent years.
He dedicates his time and knowledge and always has an upbeat outlook despite whatever challenges the organization has faced, Budach has always been a source of strength and stability.
Budach has also been instrumental in helping to keep the tradition of county fair harness racing alive in Minnesota and devotes a lot of his time each summer to keep things going at the fairs. He serves as clerk, bookkeeper, timer and operates the photo finish at the fairs and has also deputized his family members to help him keep those functions going as well.
Budach was also honoured in 2023 by Harness Horsemen International as the 2022 HHI Man of the Year.
Greg Budach, Voracious Hanover and Stuckey Dote, along with all of the other 2023 award winners will be celebrated at the Feb. 17 banquet.
(Minnesota Harness Racing)