11/20/2017 6:21PM

Macedonio: Stats point to Hannelore Hanover as Horse of the Year

Derick Giwner
Hannelore Hanover became the second fastest trotter in history when she won in 1:49 2/5 at the Red Mile.

Hannelore Hanover is the Horse of the Year . . . and the numbers prove it. Any stat nerd can pull a bunch of categories to prove his point, so I’m going to do the same thing! There are five candidates from my view: Hannelore Hanover, Ariana G, Manchego, Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon. Coincidently, that’s how I rank them as well.

Let’s start with ‘Dragon’ and ‘Seaside’. Your only argument can be that they earned more money, but 3-year-old colt pacers (3CP) race for the most money of all divisions. If you add up all of the purses on the Grand Circuit, it’s about $7.8 million for 3CP, which means ‘Seaside’ and ‘Dragon’ earned about 15% each of what was available.

Hannelore Hanover roughly earned 20% ($5 million), Manchego 25% ($3.5 million) and Ariana G almost 30% ($3.8 million) of what was available. ‘Seaside’ and ‘Dragon’, unlike the other three, aren’t even remotely close to being all-time great horses in any category. They don’t crack the top 25 all-time in 3CP earnings, record, wins or win percentage. Basically, they raced for a lot of money but none of the 3CP put up any historically great performances. Their sire, Somebeachsomewhere, would’ve eaten this year’s crop for breakfast (their lifetime marks put them 10+ lengths behind the ‘Beach’).

I can’t really get stats organized by fillies and colts, so these three get lumped in with the boys in their all-time stats. Manchego had a phenomenal year. Let this sink in . . . she’s the fastest 2-year-old undefeated trotter ever. That normally should be the stamp for Horse of the Year, but not this year.

Ariana G’s 3-year-old season is tough to rank all-time in earnings, but she is No. 22 with her 1:51 1/5 record, and that includes colt trotters. She clearly is an all-time great, but she couldn’t beat the colts this year in any big race and she didn’t race in the Hambletonian or the Breeders Crown Colt Divisions, instead she dominated her filly races. The 3-year-old colts might have been the weakest competition in a long time and she couldn’t beat them.

Hannelore Hanover is the fastest trotting mare ever and only 2nd behind Sebastian K, who trotted in 1:49. Her 2017 season ranks 14th in history among older trotters, including the colts. She’s the only older trotter to put up two seasons in the top 14 in earnings. To me, that’s very important because the pressure and target has been on her back for multiple years. She gets everyone’s best shot because they all want to beat ‘Hannelore’. Like the famed wrestler Ric Flair says, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man, WOOOO!” She beat the man, became the man, and no one can beat her! She won the two biggest purse races that she was eligible to race in – Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot, against the colts. 

Let’s wrap this up. Hannelore Hanover beat the boys, something Ariana G and Manchego couldn’t do or didn’t attempt. She is faster, comparatively, ranks higher than Ariana G in earnings all-time, and has had more pressure on her to replicate her prior year’s success. She’s an all-time great trotter, something that ‘Dragon’ and ‘Seaside’ can’t say on the pacing side. She’s won the big races time and time again. She’s a superstar and one of our most marketable assets as an industry. Normally I don’t let good stats ruin a great argument, but this time they did the work for me!