by James Platz
When a breeder sends their yearling through the sale ring, many want to see a good price, but just as important is where they go. Get them in the right hands and they stand a chance of flourishing. Friday evening (Oct. 28), four new Breeders Crown winners were crowned at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The breeders behind each newly-minted champion had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
Perennial powerhouse breeder Hanover Shoe Farms entered the 2022 Breeders Crown leading in nearly all major categories. The Pennsylvania-based operation extended their record of champions bred when Gaines Hanover captured the $810,000 final for freshman trotting colts, scoring for driver Louis-Philippe Roy in 1:53.1. The gelded son of Cantab Hall—Gatka Hanover is the farm’s 25th Crown champion. The victory also delivered a 28th overall trophy, allowing Hanover to draw even with Brittany Farms in the category.
Last November, Gaines Hanover sold for a $50,000 price tag at Harrisburg. Entering the final with $88,851 on his card, the freshman delivered a handsome return and Breeders Crown championship for his connections. For Hanover, the win provided a major update in the pedigree of Good Faith Hanover, a Greenshoe filly that sells on the first day at Harrisburg this year. The fifth foal from the Muscle Massive mare is cataloged as Hip 63 in the consignment.
The night’s seventh race, the $810,000 final for 2-year-old pacing fillies, pushed Hanover over $20 million in Crown earnings when Sylvia Hanover prevailed in a time of 1:51.1. The Always B Miki—Shyaway filly sold for $135,000 last fall at Harrisburg, purchased by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc. Under the tutelage of Shawn Steacy, the freshman has won eight of nine starts with earnings just shy of $800,000. More importantly, she staked her claim to year-end divisional honors.
After matching Brittany Farms one race earlier, the victory temporarily moved Hanover into sole possession of the record for Crown trophies with 29 to their credit. Like Gaines Hanover, a sibling to Sylvia Hanover is set to sell next month. Sula Hanover, a Downbytheseaside sister, is consigned to Harrisburg as Hip 131. Shyaway had already produced a Breeders Crown elimination winner in Western Fame prior to Sylvia Hanover’s championship win.
George Segal said Friday night that each year his Brittany Farms — this time in partnership with Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld — selects a trotting filly or two at the farm to put in training. His comments came in the winner’s circle following homebred Special Way’s triumph in the $810,000 Breeders Crown final for freshman fillies. The Walner—Special Hill 2-year-old captured the championship event in a track and Canadian record 1:52 performance.
The victory added yet another piece of Crown hardware for the trio of owners/breeders, who have each tasted multiple victories in one of the sports marquee events. As a breeder, Special Way represents Brittany Farms’ 21st champion and 29th Breeders Crown trophy, matching Hanover’s mark established one race earlier. As an owner, Brittany Farms leads all in the category with 19 champions, 22 trophies and in excess of $9 million in earnings.
Katz has bred four Breeders Crown champions, all trotting fillies, winning five trophies. As an owner, he has won 15 trophies with 14 champions. He ranks fifth among owners, surpassing $6 million in earnings with the latest victory. Libfeld is now credited with breeding six Crown champions that have won seven trophies. As an owner, he has reached the winner’s circle with nine different horses, winning 10 trophies in total.
While the first three championships produced winners bred by farms with lengthy Crown resumes, the $810,000 final for freshman pacing colts saw new blood represented. When Ammo and driver David Miller shocked the field at 52-1, the victory secured a first trophy for breeder Sergent Stables LLC. The Blairsville, PA farm had one prior Breeders Crown finalist heading into Friday night. Always A Miki finished sixth in the 2-year-old colt pace final at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in 2020. Ammo, a $90,000 purchase last October at Lexington, is Always A Miki’s Sweet Lou brother. His full-sister, Sweet Gal, brought $125,000 in this year’s second session.
Earlier in the program, McSeaside, also bred by Sergent Stables and Andray Farm, finished ninth in the Crown final for pacing fillies.