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Anoka Hanover Seeks Ninth In A Row

Published: May 28, 2021 9:14 am ET

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It was on Sept. 5, 2020, that Anoka Hanover lost, finishing third to Flawless Country in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for freshman trotting fillies. Mark that date; it’s the last time Anoka Hanover tasted defeat.

She’s since posted eight straight victories, all in high-level stakes — a performance that earned her the divisional Dan Patch Award.

On Saturday (May 29), the daughter of Donato Hanover and Aunt Mel will try to extend her winning streak to nine in the Meadow Bright, a $143,142 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at The Meadows. The Meadow Bright goes as races one and three, and the card also features a $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event for three-year-old filly trotters. First post is 12:45 p.m.

If anyone wondered whether Anoka Hanover would come back strong at three, she dispelled all doubts in the May 21 PASS opener at Harrah’s Philadelphia when she rolled from mid-pack to score in a track-record 1:52.3 and lift her career bankroll to $612,080.

Noel Daley, who conditions Anoka Hanover and owns with Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms Racing and L.A. Express Stable, acknowledges he would not have predicted her greatness, if not downright dominance, when he was prepping her for her debut:

“Before she got to the qualifiers, she wasn’t the smoothest-gaited thing in the world. After she had about four starts, we knew she was pretty special. She has power and a really good attitude. She’s a bulldog. She’s come from off the speed in most of her starts; maybe that’s why we could give her 14 starts at two."

Anoka Hanover, pictured in a Meadows victory from last August with Andy McCarthy driving, seeks a ninth consecutive win in this Saturday's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows.

Anoka Hanover leaves from post two in race three with Todd McCarthy, who has driven her throughout her streak. She’ll face only five other fillies, but Daley says that won’t alter his instructions to McCarthy; he won’t offer any.

“I haven’t given him any instructions so far, and I won’t,” Daley said. “He’ll race her the way she races. It’s a long year, and you take it week to week. But she has a better attitude than most of the fillies she’ll face. I wouldn’t swap her for any of them.”

The other Meadow Bright split features a filly who wasn’t among the division’s glamor girls last year. Love Muffin won the Pennsylvania Stallion Series championship, but her connections steered her clear of marquee events. Yet when the daughter of Andover Hall and Pine Yankee walked through the sales ring at Timonium, Andy Miller Stable dug deep and gave $200,000 for her. What did Andy Miller and Love Muffin’s new trainer, Julie Miller, see in the filly?

“We thought the price was a little high,” Andy Miller says, “but she’ll be a broodmare when she’s through racing. Some friends already have told us they want to breed their horses to her. As a racehorse, she’s very versatile. She has lots of speed, she’s quick from the gate, but she also can race behind a helmet.”

Love Muffin kicked off her sophomore campaign in that PASS at Harrah’s Philly and scored in 1:52.4, just a tick off Anoka Hanover’s record, giving some glimpse of her potential.

She’ll leave for Miller from post four in race one, with only four other fillies to beat. But Miller indicates the shortness of the field likely won’t affect his driving strategy.

“You might want to be closer to the front, but it’s still a horse race. This race is still very competitive.”

(Meadows Standardbred Owners Association)

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