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Popfinger Hopes To Be 'Wise' In Weiss

Published: April 3, 2017 4:27 pm ET

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Bill Popfinger got to see Wise Hanover race only once last year, but he liked what he saw. After shutting down the filly trotter because of concern regarding a tendon, the trainer is looking forward to seeing Wise Hanover in action again.

The three-year-old will make her seasonal debut Tuesday in the third of three Bobby Weiss Series divisions for female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Last year, Wise Hanover won a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars at Pocono before being sidelined.

“We were afraid she was going to bow the tendon if we went onward, so we had to pack our bags,” said Popfinger, who trains Wise Hanover for owner Bill Mulligan.

“Fortunately we haven’t had any problems this year. She’s a big filly and she’s always had good speed. We’ve still got some hope.”

Wise Hanover is a daughter of Donato Hanover out of the mare Whistle Hanover. She was purchased for $15,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. Popfinger trained Wise Hanover’s half-sister, stakes-winner Pucker Up Hanover, for Mulligan several years ago.

Wise Hanover, pictured in victory (Curtis Salonick)

“We took one more shot with the family,” Popfinger said. “She was reasonable at $15,000. It wasn’t a bad deal. She’s going to make a nice filly. I don’t think she’s going to be a superstar, but if she has a good year she could make some decent money.”

Wise Hanover, who spent the winter in Florida with Popfinger, will start Tuesday from Post 5 with Tom Jackson in the sulky. Wise Hanover is 6-1 on the morning line; Whambamthankumaam is the 5-2 choice in the event for conditioned three and four-year-old female trotters.

“I think coming out of Florida she might not be at her very best the first start,” Popfinger said. “When they come out of Florida, even if it’s a warm day, the air is a lot heavier. It takes them a race or two to get acclimated to the climate here.”

Popfinger also sends out Mulligan’s She Matters in the first Weiss division. She Matters and driver Jim Marohn Jr. are 4-1 on the morning line. Abbies Celticlass is the 3-1 favourite.

The favourite in the second division, at 5-2, is Keystone Angel.

Looking ahead, Popfinger is pleased with the development of several two-year-olds as they prepare for this season. Creampie Hanover, a Goshen Yearling Sale purchase, is a full sister to Breeders Crown elimination winner and Jim Doherty Memorial runner-up Chezatter. Another Goshen buy, filly Ocarina Hanover, is by Wishing Stone while Standardbred Horse Sale purchase Wesley Hanover is a colt by Cantab Hall.

“I think they have potential,” Popfinger said about the horses, all owned by Mulligan. “You never know at the end what they’re going to be nowadays, but they have great attitudes and are good gaited, so you think you have a little potential.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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