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A Filly That Likes It Her Way

Published: June 17, 2016 11:39 am ET

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Horses are named for many different reasons, such as a connection to their ancestry, a noteworthy event or individual and even for their personality traits. When it comes to Good Will Hanover, however, her official title is the polar opposite of her demeanour.

In fact, this young lady, who has bested champions L A Delight and Pure Country in two out of her last three trips to the post, is anything but easy to get along with. In addition to requiring the services of two grooms to soothe her fractious nature, the daughter of Big Jim has provided both of her trainers with very memorable excursions in the infield each man would probably rather forget.

“We got her in August of last year,” said the filly’s conditioner Dr. Ian Moore. “She comes from a very old, classy family but we were not the ones who selected her as a yearling. Actually Danny Romo, who is an outstanding horseman, was training her and just could not figure her out. He had her rigged up with all types of equipment like head poles, cones, blinkers and plugs, but she still ended up putting him upside down when he was driving her.

“I’ve known both Danny and the owners, the Tufts (Karl and Deanna), for years from my veterinary work and the business. Even with all the work Danny put in to her to get her going, he was not getting anywhere, so they asked me to try her out. I was more than forewarned before she arrived in our barn about her antics, but she still managed to turn me upside down in the infield too. Then there was that situation with the ditch and some other interesting occasions behind her.

“I have spent my fair share of time with her attempting to settle her down, but her groom, Tami Sepper, has put so much work into her and another one of my grooms, Vicki Paulic, has to help her on race night. We need two people to try and keep ‘Hannah,’ as we call her, calm.”

Sepper and Paulic will certainly be put through their paces on Saturday (June 18) as they prepare their charge for her appearance in the $438,000 Fan Hanover final. Good Will Hanover, an elimination winner, will have the services of Chris Christoforou when she begins her mile from post position three in the evening’s ninth race.

The three-year-old filly is 7-2 on the morning line and will once again compete against rivals L A Delight (4-1, post position six) and Pure Country (5-2, post position seven) as well as fellow elimination winner Darlinonthebeach (2-1, post position two).

Owned by the Tufts’ GLB Stables, Good Will Hanover was purchased for $15,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. The filly is out of the Cambest mare Go For Best, who only collected $3,915 on the racetrack, but has proven to be a goldmine in the breeding shed.

Good Will Hanover is a half-sibling to Major General (Western Ideal, $345,378), Rough Sketch (Art Major, $117,226) and Givemybest Hanover (Dragon Again, $133,195). Two other members of her immediate family, Geraint Hanover (Western Hanover) and Gotta Go Hanover (Yankee Cruiser) just missed breaking the $100,000 barrier during their careers.

This filly broke her maiden at first asking at Mohawk Racetrack on August 17, 2015, with Paul MacDonell in the bike and followed that up with two more triumphs prior to a second place finish to L A Delight in the $181,035 Champlain Stakes. She was then second in a $78,750 Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series contest, before adding another win to her resume under the same conditions and for the same purse the following week.

Good Will Hanover’s two-year-old campaign ended after an eighth-place showing in the $192,500 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, but the filly, who finished the season with a record of 7-4-2-0 and $122,857 in the bank, had an excuse and for once it was not her temperament.

“She came up sick before the final and it’s my fault she had nothing,” Moore said. “I never should have raced her there because she was not at her best, but because we started later with her and there was nothing else really for her, I went ahead and put her in. That was a mistake.”

It has definitely required a nearly infinite reserve of patience and many, many hours of his time, but Moore feels he should not make any more errors with this filly now that he has a handle on how to manage her. He certainly wants her to have every opportunity to increase her already established purse earnings of $213,683 and add more wins to the seven she already possesses on her resume.

“We thought she was seeing things and that was what was making her so excitable, but with her it is actually hearing things,” Moore said. “One time before she was supposed to race at Mohawk she was stabled right by where the train comes through. Needless to say that was it for keeping her settled down the rest of the day.

“I have to train her in at least 1:57 several times a week and train her even on days she’s racing. It helps take the edge off of her. I have also changed her equipment and opened her up gradually because like we found out, it is not seeing things that bother her, but I had to keep the cones and plugs on her. She also had a driver change with Paul (MacDonell) getting off her and Chris (Christoforou) getting on.

“When it comes to getting a horse to settle down Chris is one of the best. She was actually becoming so relaxed, he tried putting her right up on the gate in the Sires Stakes race before the Fan Hanover elimination. Obviously that did not work out with her breaking and he said he would never do that with her again. She’s a horse that really does have to have her own way.”

Moore and his employees also employ other tactics to stabilize Good Will Hanover’s mood, which may very well propel her to the top of her division before her sophomore season draws to a close.

“Tami has to walk her constantly when she races and that is one of the things Vicki helps her with,” he said. “She is quite something, that is for sure and we always worry she will take her race out of her before she ever gets to the gate.

“The thing is she is as quiet as can be in the barn. It’s only when she’s on the track or getting ready to race that she acts like this and it’s not because she doesn’t have manners. It really is very rewarding to see all our work with this filly pay off, because she is so fast. She can definitely pace with the best of them as long as it is not consecutive :25 quarters. We just are responsible for keeping her together so she has the opportunity to show her talent.

“We do have her quiet enough now where we can get her to stand and when we trailered her with (State) Treasurer she behaved perfectly. It just took us the time to figure her out and it is so very gratifying when she rewards us for those efforts. It is up to us to do our job and she will do the rest.”

Following is the field for the Fan Hanover in post order.

PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Morning Line
1. Lindwood Beachgirl - James MacDonald - Mark Steacy - 12-1
2. Darlinonthebeach - David Miller - Nancy Johansson - 2-1
3. Good Will Hanover - Chris Christoforou - Ian Moore - 7-2
4. Newborn Sassy - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 6-1
5. Penpal - Pat Lachance - Pat Lachance - 15-1
6. L A Delight - Randy Waples - Robert McIntosh - 4-1
7. Pure Country - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 5-2
8. Lay Lady Lay - Dough McNair - Chris Matthews - 15-1
9. Mayhem Seelster - Jack Moiseyev - Tony O'Sullivan - 15-1
10. Bad As Leader - Trevor Henry - Gerald Lilley - 20-1

To view the entries for Saturday's card at Mohawk or a free program for Mohawk’s Saturday card, courtesy of TrackIT, click on one of the following links: Saturday Entries -- Saturday Program Pages.

The Pepsi North America Cup is the centerpiece of Mohawk’s fantastic Saturday card of racing that will also feature the $370,000 final of the Roses Are Red (pacing mares), the $267,000 final of the Armbro Flight (trotting mares), the $268,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes (three-year-old trotting colts), and the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup (invitational pacers).

TSN2 will televise the Cup final live on Saturday. First-race post time for Mohawk’s Saturday card of racing is 6:30 p.m. The NA Cup has been slotted as Race 12 on the 15-dash card and has an approximate post time of 10:40 p.m.

Mohawk will offer three Pick-4 wagers Saturday, including an All Stakes Pick-4 with a $100,000 guaranteed pool, comprising Races 9 through 12 and featuring the Roses Are Red, Mohawk Gold Cup, Fan Hanover and Pepsi North America Cup.


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


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