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Maple Leaf Trot Win Would Be ‘Special’

Published: September 13, 2016 1:22 pm ET

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Hannelore Hanover will face the toughest challenge of her career when she meets nine rivals in Saturday’s (September 17) $632,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, but with wins in 21 of her last 22 races, the four-year-old mare has already proven she knows how to ace a test.

The Ron Burke-trained standout brings a nine-race win streak to the Maple Leaf Trot as she tries to become the second consecutive female to capture Canada’s top event for older trotters. Last year’s race was won by Bee A Magician, who is currently sidelined because of an injury.

Eight of this year’s 10 Maple Leaf Trot finalists are males, including 2015 runner-up Resolve. The other mare in the race is the United States’ 2014 trotter of the year, Shake It Cerry.

Hannelore Hanover, who defeated male foes in the Hambletonian Maturity as well as in several opens and invitationals this season, was supplemented to the Maple Leaf Trot for $45,000. She won her elimination last week by more than three lengths over Il Sogno Dream in 1:52.

It was the seventh time during her current nine-race victory streak that she won by more than three lengths.

“She’s gotten to be one of the horses I count on for a solid effort each week, but this is the biggest thing we’ve asked her to do,” said Ron Burke, who trains and co-owns Hannelore Hanover. “She’s beaten the boys, but they were four-year-old boys (in the Hambletonian Maturity) or in short fields in opens.

“She’s really good right now, but this is a full field of 10, so this is asking a lot. If she can do this I think it really would equate with her being something special.”

Hannelore Hanover, a daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety, has won 14 of 15 races this year (23 of 36 lifetime) and has accumulated more than $1 million in earnings. She has finished worse than second only four times in her career. The mare, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion last season, is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and Frank Baldachino.

In addition to winning the Hambletonian Maturity, Hannelore Hanover’s triumphs this season include the Armbro Flight Stakes, Fresh Yankee, Muscle Hill, and Miami Valley Distaff.

Although Hannelore Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras won their six-horse Maple Leaf Trot elimination by open lengths, Burke knows it means nothing heading to the final.

“She drew probably the easier (elimination) and she had some things go in her favour,” Burke said. “She really ended up getting the easiest trip. For her, everything worked out perfectly. It’s hard to get a read on her. I’m sure she’s not that much better than those horses, but everything that had to work out for her worked out for her.”

Resolve won the remaining Maple Leaf elimination, as he beat Shake It Cerry by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:51.1. John Campbell drove Resolve for trainer and regular driver Ake Svanstedt, who missed the race because of travel issues.

The Maple Leaf Trot is part of a stakes-filled card at Mohawk. Also on Saturday is the Canadian Trotting Classic for three-year-old male trotters – which will feature Hambletonian winner Marion Marauder – plus the William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old male trotters, the Peaceful Way for two-year-old female trotters, and the Elegantimage for three-year-old female trotters.

The field for the Maple Leaf Trot, with drivers and trainers, appears below.

1. Resolve–Ake Svanstedt–Ake Svanstedt
2. Lookslikeachpndale–Sylvain Filion–Luc Blais
3. Flanagan Memory–Chris Christoforou–Rene Dion
4. Hannelore Hanover–Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke
5. Il Sogno Dream–Scott Zeron–Chris Beaver
6. JL Cruze–John Campbell–Eric Ell
7. Windsun Revenge–Rick Zeron–Jeff Durham
8. Nahar–TBA–Robert Bergh
9. Musical Rhythm–Mario Baillargeon–Benoit Baillargeon
10. Shake It Cerry–David Miller–Jimmy Takter

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

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