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Catch Up With 'Recall Hanover'

Published: May 17, 2020 1:47 pm ET

Last Comment: May 17, 2020 9:04 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

A little trivia here: What free-legged pacer once had the nickname ‘Recall Hanover’ among horsepeople at the 'B-tracks' of Ontario?

Keep reading for the answer.

Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle spotted a beautiful photo of a veteran racehorse on Facebook this past week and then reached out to his owner, Jansen Sweet, to talk about the former Ontario pacer who is now getting set for his 13-year-old racing season on Prince Edward Island.

Shiftyn Georgie (Rambaran-Paradigm Shift-Camluck) was bred by Ailsa Craig’s Rick Heamen and he made his first career start back on July 18, 2010 at Clinton Raceway. He tried to go all the way in his maiden voyage, but just missed by a head, as he finished second with Alfie Carroll aboard in 2:00.2. One year later -- on July 15, 2011, to be precise -- Shiftyn Georgie paced to his lifetime best of 1:56.1 over Woodstock Raceway. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shiftyn Georgie circled his foes three wide en route to the victory. Shiftyn Georgie must have a thing for the warm month of July, because last year, on July 9 at the age of 12, he rolled gate to wire over PEI's half-mile Summerside Raceway and matched his lifetime best, as he won in easily in 1:56.1 with Marc Campbell at the helm.

“That was a big trip,” co-owner Jansen Sweet has said. “And he’s much better behaved now than he used to be. He’s a little more relaxed than when he first came to us, that’s for sure. He jogs with no gear on -- getting led along behind another horse and jog cart -- he’ll follow along nice and easy for around for four and a half miles.”

The Charles F. Willis Memorial Raceway, in O’Leary, PEI, is where 'Georgie' now calls home. I know the track well. It opens for matinee (non-wagering) harness racing through the summer months and it happens to be both the spot where I drove in my first amateur race and where I began calling races, too.

“They used to call him ‘Recall Hanover’ because he’d cause recalls at the summer tracks in Ontario, but he’s been good here,” Sweet said. “He’s well-mannered all around (and is) very easy going around the barn when he’s jogging and when he gets turned out, but when we put the bridle on him he gets his game face on and he knows it’s time to go to work. He turns it around then.”

Sweet’s brother, Jaycob (18), does the conditioning and he was able to pick up his first career training win with Georgie just one year ago (May 20, 2019) at Summerside. “Jaycob had a great rookie season picking up the top trainer title at Summerside’s Red Shores track. He works hard and puts a lot of time into it,” Jansen has said. “If he’s not working with our horses, he’s usually training someone else’s or he could be out there dragging the track. I believe he’ll be aiming for his harness driver’s license late this year.”

Georgie has not had a regular driver since he moved east, and has hosted 11 different pilots in his sulky over the course of his 40 Maritime starts. “He’s almost better if we switch it up,” Jansen mentioned. “Jason Hughes has always driven most of our horses. Marc Campbell matched his life mark. And then Dale Spence won three in a row with him last fall. He’s not a real tough horse to drive. He can leave really [well]. That’s usually the game plan, and if they don’t get to him around the three-quarters, he’s usually good to go.”

Georgie was a mid-summer purchase for "about" $3,500 in 2018. He took to his new PEI surroundings right away. “We originally bought him for the $5,000 Claiming Series at Old Home Week,” Jansen explained. “We raced him in Summerside and he won his first start for us in 1:58.1 and then we thought 'maybe we shouldn’t have put him in that claiming series' we liked him that much. Well, he was already in to go four days later in Charlottetown, so off we went. He did end up getting claimed off of us during that series, but we’d take him back in the final and he’s been with us ever since.”

The ownership crew of Jansen, Allison Sweet, Brody Ellis and Susan Thompson also own another former Ontario pacer in Rising Fella, who was once campaigned by trainer Bob McIntosh. “He’s done well for us, too. We keep a small barn, but we have a lot of fun racing here on our island tracks.”

Earning $8,500 is a good season for any racehorse down east, as the costs aren’t as great. “We had a pretty good year all around,” offered Jansen. “Georgie made the most last season, so he earned the No. 1 stall in the barn with a window view. He doesn’t need the vet much and he gets turned out lots, too. I know he got lots of turn-out time in Ontario, but I think he’s taken to the PEI air - they say it can turn them around.”

In terms of the game plan for Georgie’s upcoming season, Jansen explain, “We’ll race him a few times and see where he fits. He’s got the age and the ugly ankle factor, so that keeps him pretty safe around the $4,000 claiming level. We’ll see how he comes back to the races, but he has trained down well - better than Rising Fella, actually.”

There’s a pretty good chance you’ll see Shiftyn Georgie in action during the opening weekend for PEI’s return to racing in early June. “He’ll be ready,” Sweet confirmed. “We’ll qualify the end of May and hopefully we’ll get him in to race when Charlottetown opens up.”

Shiftyn Georgie went over the $100,000 career earning plateau last fall. His most lucrative career victory came in a $9,000 conditioned race at The Raceway at Western Fair District in October of 2012. His final Ontario start took place at Hanover Raceway on July 21, 2018.

(Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle for The Raceway at Western Fair District)

May 17, 2020 - 9:04 pmDoes anyone else remember a

Does anyone else remember a horse called Sharp N Smart? I think he was banned from the Jockey Club. He was fast as lightning when they could get him to go behind the starting gate. He must have given his connections nightmares.

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