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Reverend Hanover Returns

Published: August 12, 2015 12:09 pm ET

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The last three months have been frustrating for Casie Coleman and her highly-touted three-year-old pacer Reverend Hanover. But if Tuesday's qualifying mile is any indication, the pair will have some mid- and late-season stakes left to contest.

The last time Reverend Hanover was entered to race was an overnight event on May 23. The three-year-old Sportswriter son finished second in a mile he cut out, individually timed in 1:51. Though the mile time doesn't seem all that lackluster, Coleman knew that something was off. Vets were consulted. Vets were flown in. Nothing definitive was found.

"We finally took him for a bone scan in Toronto at the Toronto Equine Clinic, and found a bucked shin in his right hind," Coleman told Trot Insider. "Last year, the reason he started so late was that right before we were ready to qualify when we got home from Florida was that he bucked the right front shin."

While more common on the thoroughbred side, the bucked shin (where a tissue known as the periosteum tears away from the front of the cannon bone) is almost always an ailment in the front of a horse. Rarely do horses buck a hind shin.

With some major stakes fast approaching or in the past, the idea of shutting him down for the season wasn't out of the question. Coleman wasn't content with that idea.

"I decided not to turn him out. I kept him in the barn, lightly jogging him. We had quite a few different therapies [on the shin] and then just time to heal it."

As a result of the bucked hind shin, Reverend Hanover had some soreness in other areas of his body as well. Coleman herself originally thought that it was a high muscle pull or strain at the root of his issues. Massage therapy was also introduced to help the soreness that resulted from the bucked shin, which was getting its own share of treatment of the same nature that the front shin received in 2014.

Constant monitoring of the area showed improvement, much the same way the front shin responded the year before.

"I kept taking him in -- at least every two weeks -- to Dr. Melissa McKee. We just kept re-xraying, re-xraying and doing more treatments to it while he was in there and it just kept getting better and better."

The therapy concluded with cryosurgery and the horse was deemed clear to return. Entered to qualify on Tuesday at Mohawk Racetrack, Reverend Hanover was in against stakes winner Lady Shadow. Coleman knew the pacing mare would be looking for a fast qualifying mile as she gears up for stakes action and wasn't pointing 'Reverend' for such a sharp test, looking for a mile in the 1:54-1:55 range.

"We had no intentions of trying to keep up to her in a qualifier, but 'Rev' just kind of did his own thing."

"Steve [Condren] said 'he just kinda drove me. The plugs were in, I was straight back holding him, I never spoke to the horse even once.' "

The mile was timed in 1:51.2, three-quarters of a length back of Lady Shadow, punctuated by a :26.3 final quarter.

"He seems to have come out of it fine, he was barely blowing after...I was quite happy with him," said Coleman. "I had my vet go over the horse when we shipped home and he said everything was good and looks no worse for wear."

Coleman will qualify Reverend Hanover once more and then is pointing him for the fourth Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg at Georgian Downs on August 25. After that race, Coleman noted that the colt is heavily staked and is keeping her options open.

Next week's qualifier, however, will be watched from a distance as the trainer will be in Prince Edward Island for Old Home Week. For the past few years, Coleman's been eager to race a horse in the Gold Cup & Saucer and that plan is finally coming to fruition with Lucan Hanover.

The son of American Ideal won two starts back at Yonkers in a swift 1:51.2h, but that same night a horse by the name of Crombie A paced Yonkers in 1:50.4h -- the fastest mile ever over the Empire City half-miler. Both horses are among the 12 that comprise the 2015 Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer trials, drawing in different eliminations. Crombie A races on Saturday night, and Lucan Hanover has Post 5 for Jonathan Drury on Monday night.

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