By Ken Weingartner, USTA — Andrew Harris liked Tandem Hanover when he purchased her as a yearling at last fall’s Standardbred Horse Sale — he wouldn’t have bid $510,000 if he didn’t — and the co-owner/trainer remains high on the female trotter as she prepares for Saturday’s C$425,000 Peaceful Way Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Coincidentally, the name of the race is exactly what Harris hopes to see from Tandem Hanover when she gets on the track — a peaceful way.
Tandem Hanover, a full sister to multiple Grand Circuit winner Temporal Hanover out of the family of 2006 U.S. Horse of the Year Glidemaster, won one of last week’s two Peaceful Way eliminations and will start Saturday from post two with driver Dexter Dunn. She has posted two wins and three thirds in five races this season.
Her 1:54.2 gate-to-wire victory on July 7 in a division of the Kindergarten Classic Series at The Meadowlands is tied for the sixth-fastest winning mile of the year in North America by a 2-year-old filly trotter, and her 1:54.3 off-the-pace triumph in her Peaceful Way elim is the second fastest of the season for a rookie filly trotter on Canadian soil.
“She’s a special little filly, she just gets a little excited sometimes,” Harris said. “If she stays nice and relaxed, she can do wonderful things.
“(The elimination) was exactly how good she can be when she’s behaving. It was awesome to see her come from off the pace and how relaxed she was that day. It was a totally different filly. If we can keep her that way, I think the sky is the limit for her.”
Tandem Hanover won her career debut, the aforementioned Kindergarten victory, and then had consecutive third-place finishes in divisions of the New Jersey Sire Stakes. Next came the NJSS Consolation final, where she sprinted to the half-mile point in :55.4 and led into deep stretch before making a break to finish second-placed-third.
“She wasn’t right (in her third start); I think she was a little sick,” Harris said. “She came back the next time and was back to feeling good, but she went too fast to the half, which is where she lost the race. She didn’t let Dexter go to the half in something like 56 (seconds) and change, she did it in 55 and change. She was getting tired. I think that cost her.”
Harris has spent the season tinkering with Tandem Hanover’s equipment in an effort to get the filly to relax. After her elim, he believes she might be set.
“She’s going to be one of those fillies that we try to teach her to do it rather than just letting her do it,” Harris said. “When you let her do it, you can’t hold her. It seems like every time I raced her, I learned a little bit more and I’d have to change a little bit more. (The elimination) was the best I’ve seen her. Dexter was happy with her. I think we’ve finally got her set up to where I feel confident that I don’t have to make any changes this week.”
Harris owns Tandem Hanover with William Pollock and Bruce Areman. The daughter of Walner-Think Twice has earned $33,100 this season.
The winner of the other Peaceful Way elimination was Luc Blais-trained Drawn Impression, whose 1:54 triumph makes her the fastest 2-year-old trotter in Canada this year. She will start from post five with driver Louis-Philippe Roy. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Emoticon Hanover is 2-for-2 this season for breeder/owner Determination.
Blais and Determination campaigned Emoticon Hanover, who was an O’Brien Award winner in 2018 and two-time Breeders Crown champion (as well as two-time Crown runner-up).
“She raced really big,” Harris said about Drawn Impression. “She’s a really nice filly out of a really nice mare. It will be a good race. If my filly behaves, I’m pretty confident we have a great shot.”
In addition to the Peaceful Way, Mohawk on Saturday hosts the C$620,000 William Wellwood Memorial, which was open to all 2-year-old trotters. Winter Soldier, Mars Hill, and T C I captured last week’s eliminations. T C I was the fastest of the trio, scoring in a career-best 1:54.1 as he picked up his fifth victory in six starts.
The winner of the William Wellwood Memorial will receive a free slot in the 2023 Mohawk Million on Sept. 23.