Beaton ready for action with Redwood Hanover and Linedrive Hanover

Redwood Hanover will contest the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations on Saturday. Meanwhile, 5-year-old Linedrive Hanover is set to return the races soon.

by Melissa Keith

Anthony Beaton was happy to discuss two of the most exciting horses in his stable based at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, ON; after he finished jogging the last horse of the day, of course.

Redwood Hanover (p, 3, 1:49.0s; $83,089) lowered his lifetime mark Saturday (June 3) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, winning his Somebeachsomewhere Stake division in a 4-1 upset over the 3-5 favorite, Fulton. Redwood Hanover, a Stay Hungry—Rockingcam Park colt, has won five of 12 career starts for owners Mac Nichol, Burlington, ON; Mckinlay and Fielding, Toronto, ON; David Mercer, Westmount, NS; and Waterdown, ON resident Beaton, who watched their colt hunt down Fulton in deep stretch.

“[Race caller] Ken [Middleton] had it all signed, sealed, and delivered, but we put a cancel on that plan for him,” Beaton said with a laugh. “Redwood was coming into this period of racing as we were trying to set him up for the [Pepsi North America] Cup [June 17 at Mohawk]. We never race them too much. I got two good races in him early and then I took him to The Meadows for a [Pennsylvania] Sires Stake race, and Dave Miller drove him down there for me… I asked him after the race, ‘Now Dave, Do you think we’re competitive?’ He said, ‘This horse can race wherever he wants.’”

Redwood Hanover closed for fourth in his May 6 PASS division for 3-year-old male pacers. Beaton said the race was better than it might appear in the program.

“We got away last,” Beaton said. “Dave [Miller] didn’t hurt him or anything; he let him pace home. He paced a back half in :53.1, something like that, :26.1 on the end. He was airborne in the lane. It’s hard to make up a lot of ground at The Meadows in the lane, but we did get by a couple and we were into the race a little more. Dave said, ‘If we had a better post, you might be standing on the other side of the track [in the winner’s circle].’”

May 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a triumphant return.

“He came back home, and that night he won out of the 9-hole against older horses,” Beaton said. “That was a real sharp tightener to have him ready for the Somebeachsomewhere. Obviously last week we thought we had a legitimate shot. We were in with some tougher horses again, but I have full faith in Redwood.”

The colt missed some mid-season starts because of what his trainer called “kind of a mysterious injury” to an upper foreleg.

“It was like he pulled a muscle or something up in his upper arm,” Beaton said. “We don’t know he did it, really. We just went out to jog him one day and he just didn’t seem to be a hundred per cent, so we did the right thing and backed off a little.”

Redwood Hanover was unable to capitalize on home track advantage in his 2022 Breeders Crown elimination at Mohawk.

“He needed a start before that Breeders Crown,” Beaton said. “He was full of himself in the elimination, but we finished sixth and never made the final. I was disappointed, but at the same time I said, ‘I’m putting a fresh horse away; I’m confident we’ll have a nice 3-year-old next year.’ We’re kind of reaping the rewards now: He’s a big, strong, well-developed colt.”

Foaled on May 23, 2020, Redwood Hanover was born later than some same-aged peers.

“He’s a younger foal and a big, growthy colt too,” Beaton said. “He’s really developed into a fantastic-looking animal… He was always a little immature, but he’s starting to figure things out. The last couple of starts, [driver] James [MacDonald] said, ‘He’s starting to become a horse that realizes what he’s doing.’”

The hard-closing colt had plenty of opportunity to watch other fast-moving air traffic from his late-season 2022 turnout location.

“He went out to Caledonia, just on the other side of Hamilton, out by the airport,” Beaton said. “He came back in mid-December and he looked like a billion dollars when he came in.”

Going into the second of four $50,000 Pepsi North America Cup eliminations Saturday night (June 10) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Redwood Hanover drew outside (post 9), but remained a familiar 4-1 third choice in the morning line.

“Obviously we would like to have a better post position, but first and foremost, we’ve got to make the final,” Beaton said. “Last night, I was talking to James [MacDonald] and he mentioned we didn’t draw very well… I said, ‘I’m confident in my horse and I’m confident in my driver going into this race… Let’s hope we have all the stars aligned on Saturday night, so we can at least be top two, best scenario. You get a shot at it finishing third, but we’d love to be top two instead of third and have to sweat it out.’”

Four elimination races will decide the 2023 field for the $1-million North America Cup, the first time since 2009 that more than three have been needed. The winner and place horse from each elimination, plus two randomly-drawn show finishers, move on to the June 17 final.


The Woodbine Mohawk Park teletimer displayed 1:50.1 after Linedrive Hanover (p, 4, 1:49h; $302,567) crossed the wire May 26, winning his second 2023 qualifier exactly three seconds faster than his first.

Beaton was enthusiastic about the Betting Line—Lillian Hanover gelding’s upcoming season.

“Linedrive’s Linedrive, right?” Beaton said. “He’s a very gifted animal… He was definitely not the soundest animal last year, but he sure did show that he’s a gutsy warrior.”

Linedrive Hanover was one of just two horses to win over O’Brien/Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bulldog Hanover in 2022, which he did in the May 22 Charles Juravinski Memorial Cup at Flamboro Downs. The 1:49 mile remains the fastest ever on a Canadian half-mile track.

The pacer was sidelined following a show finish in the 2022 Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga on July 23. He was subsequently treated for bone bruising and bone chips at Kentucky Equine Hospitalin Lexington.

Now, the 5-year-old gelding is more than ready to return to the spotlight.

“We brought him back [to Classy Lane],” Beaton said. “He landed the first week of January. He looks like a billion dollars, and I’ve spoken to the surgeons who did the surgery on him there last year [Dr. John Cummins and Dr. Wes Sutter]. We kind of worked together, amongst all of us and the vets, to try to do the best for this horse and get him back to the track.”

Linedrive Hanover is owned by West Wins Stable, Wellington, FL; McKinlay and Fielding, Toronto, ON; and Mac Nichol, Burlington, ON.

Veterinarians suggested a rigorous yet controlled regimen for building back with Linedrive.

Beaton said he was advised not to turn out the good-feeling gelding, opting instead for Equicizer and swimming pool to develop fitness.

“Every day, he was on the wheel [Equicizer] in the morning for a half-hour, 45 minutes,” Beaton said. “The next 30 days, now that everything was going well, the surgeon asked me to introduce him to jogging in the cart. So, he’s jogging four miles a day right now. Equicizer in the morning, jogs four miles, and then goes and swims 15 to 20 minutes. He’s very fit.”

Linedrive Hanover began skipping the pool to train in earnest 60 days after his trainer received his latest x-rays.

“I got the green light to start training him… We never turned back since day one with him this year, and he’s been unbelievably sound for us,” said Beaton, who still swims the gelding on days Linedrive doesn’t train. Canadian Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren has helped him get the horse ready.

His latest WMP qualifier spoke volumes about Linedrive Hanover’s readiness for the season.

So does the gelding’s attitude about his work, said Beaton: “Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s enough work for him. He goes out the door kicking his buckets and it’s like a rodeo going out the door some mornings.”

Linedrive Hanover is making his 2023 pari-mutuel debut Saturday night (June 10) in the $54,000 free for all at Mohawk.

“We drew the 8-hole with him, which I’m not concerned about, because he’s probably going to have to have a good tightener,” Beaton said. “We obviously do want to go out and win, but we don’t want to barbecue him or hurt him. The plan was to aim for the Mohawk Gold Cup next week, on NA Cup night. We finished second last year [to Jimmy Freight]. They went toe to toe; we got beat by a whisker there. That happens.”

That race undoubtedly informed James MacDonald’s decision to return for the pacer’s comeback.

“James was actually telling me that his brother Mark asked him to drive Billy Clyde [p, 4, 1:47.3m; $311,815],” Beaton said. “James was like, ‘No, I’ve got Linedrive.’”