Bulldog Hanover Wins In Canadian Record

Published: September 4, 2022 12:10 pm EDT

World-record holder Bulldog Hanover lived to his reputation and 1-9 odds in yet another head-turning victory, this one coming in Saturday’s (Sept. 3) $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby at Woodbine Mohawk Park. 

On a night when the first 1,000 fans in attendance received a free t-shirt bearing his likeness, Bulldog Hanover fashioned a statement of his own on the racetrack, adding one more high-profile triumph to an already outstanding career. 

With Dexter Dunn at the controls, the four-year-old son of Shadow Play-BJs Squall arrived at tonight’s race on an eight-race win streak and standing as the fastest pacer of all time, courtesy of his 1:45.4 mile in the William R. Haughton this July at The Meadowlands. 

While he was a second off that mark in the Canadian Pacing Derby, he was every bit as outstanding, tying the track and all-time Canadian record in the process. 

Tattoo Artist set his sights on the lead as the field was sent on its way, but Dunn had plans of his own, guiding Bulldog Hanover to the front off the first turn and taking his rivals through an opening panel carved out in :26.3. Tattoo Artist sat second, followed by Poseidon Seelster, Jimmy Freight and Desperate Man. 

It was status quo through a half in :54.3, with Bulldog Hanover locked-in and looking as though there was plenty left in the tank. Jimmy Freight and Desperate Man were soon on the move, looking to engage the leader ahead of the three-quarter pole, while James MacDonald — in the race bike of Tattoo Artist — waited for an opportunity to take his shot. 

In front by 1-3/4 lengths after three-quarters in 1:21.1, Dunn and Bulldog Hanover turned for home large and in charge as a game Tattoo Artist looked to pull off the 23-1 upset. But at the wire, Bulldog Hanover was a comfortable one-length winner over Tattoo Artist. Poseidon Seelster, at 85-1, was third, while Jimmy Freight finished fourth. He stopped the clock in 1:46.4, matching the all-time Canadian record set by gelding Dr J Hanover at this oval in 2017 while lowering the Canadian record for aged pacing stallions of 1:47.1 first set by Always B Miki in 2016 and matched this year by Warrawee Vital. 

“Well, when you’ve sat behind so many horses and you sit behind a horse like 'Bulldog', it really is a pleasure and it’s a joy being out there,” said Dunn. “You know, I’m just along for the ride. You know, what he’s doing is just amazing to see, the way he does it as well. There’s no easy trips for him, he does all the hard work in those big races and he’s running away from good horses.”  

The bay, who arrived at the final off a sparkling 1:48 performance in his Derby elimination one week ago, is now 24-3-1 from 32 starts, for trainer Jack Darling, who co-owns with Brad Grant.   

“It’s great to have a horse like this and be a part of a horse like this,” said Grant. “I don’t think I’ve got words to say how good it is.” 

Darling had similar praise for the standout pacer.  

“It’s great to have the family here and the fans here. This horse has really got a fan base out there. There’s so many people cheering for him, it’s just an honour to be involved.”  

The veteran conditioner enjoyed the sea of Bulldog Hanover shirts seen throughout the Mohawk grandstand. 

“It’s tremendous. I’ve got calls from all over the United States, people who want Bulldog Hanover t-shirts. It’s just a real thrill to be here.” 

Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, Bulldog Hanover — a winner in 10 of 11 starts this year — was a $28,000 purchase (Hip No. 795) at the 2019 Harrisburg Sale.  

He paid $2.20 for the Canadian Pacing Derby win. 

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.




Bulldog is the most popular racehorse of any breed since American Pharoah when he won the thoroughbred triple crown in 2015. Harness racing would be making an ENORMOUS marketing mistake if he retires after The TVG in November. Since the stakes racing season starts in late May and the breeding season is pretty much over with by then, if the money is right, I think his connections could do what's good for the sport and bring him back to race again next year. I have written over and over that The Mohawk Million should be a race for older pacers rather than for 2yo trotters. Next year, do that AND raise the purse of the race from $1 million to $1.5 million. Hold the race in August, while it's still warm outside, and give the winner an automatic entry into The Canadian Pacing Derby. In 2015, one month after The Belmont Stakes, Monmouth Park raised the purse of The Haskell Invitational from $ 1 million to $1.75 million to lure American Pharoah to the race, and over 60,000 people showed up to watch it. If Bulldog races again next year, he could do more for our sport's popularity than any horse since Dan Patch did more than 100 years ago.

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