11/10/2016 3:18PM

Woodbine Harness: Moonshiner Hanover looks to step out in Valley Victory

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Despite Walner’s dominance of the 2-year-old male trotting division, Moonshiner Hanover is prepared to step out from the shadows and demonstrate he possesses the power to sparkle in his C$25,000 Valley Victory elimination on Friday (Nov. 11) at Woodbine Racetrack as he makes his bid for 2017 Hambletonian glory.

“He has really turned around since the (Pennsylvania) Sire Stakes final,” said Chris Beaver, the colt’s co-owner and conditioner. “It would seem like he has speed because he has been leaving off the gate, but it takes him some time to get into gear. In that race (second to Giveitgasandgo) I took the hood off and the mini-bit out of his mouth to allow him to put the driver into the race. It seemed to work because he has turned the corner since then.”

Fresh off five consecutive second-place finishes to the likes of world record holders Walner and Don Dream, as well as Sortie and Shake It Off Lindy, in contests such as the $600,000 Breeders Crown final, a $55,250 division of the Bluegrass Stake and a $32,050 division of the Standardbred Stake, Moonshiner Hanover seeks his second career triumph on Friday evening.

The son of Andover Hall-Madam Hooch will leave from post position seven in the second of two Valley Victory eliminations with the smoking hot Scott Zeron holding the lines.

The card also includes two C$25,000 eliminations for the Three Diamonds for freshman pacing fillies.

A $27,000 purchase at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, Moonshiner Hanover is owned by Beaver, Synerco Ventures Inc. and Bill Manes. He is the 9-2 fourth choice on the morning line in his Valley Victory elimination (race eight) and will compete against the likes of $294,450 Peter Haughton Memorial victor What The Hill (post position two, 5-2, David Miller) and $266,000 William Wellwood Memorial second place finisher Jake (post position one, 3-1, Sylvain Filion).

“Hopefully his last start of the season will be in the final,” Beaver said. “He’s been battling OCDs in his ankles this year and we are going to take them out, so he might have a late start to next year. He will be staked to everything though.”

Sporting a slate of 10-1-6-1 and banking $258,631 from his first season of campaigning, Moonshiner Hanover is the second foal from his dam, who is by Credit Winner. Madam Hooch collected $181,843 during her time competing and foaled New York Sire Stakes winner Gabe The Bear Dean to the cover of Lucky Chucky as her first offspring. That gelding has earned $224,521 while performing primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit and went through the 2013 edition of the Standardbred Horse Sale to Ray Schnittker for $105,000.

“We were very fortunate to pay what we did for this colt,” Beaver said. “He’s a beautiful horse and one we thought would go for $60,000, but he went early in the sale. Sometimes when a horse like that goes on the first day, which he did, sometimes they are overlooked.”

Moonshiner Hanover’s ownership contingent was aware he had OCDs removed from his hocks prior to the sale, but it took them some time to discover the colt was suffering the same issue in his hind ankle.

“We did a lot of work on his stifles when he was training down, but it took us some time to discover the OCDs,” Beaver said. “We x-rayed his left hind ankle and it came up. We think he has also improved because he has learned how to work through a little pain. We don’t think it is anything serious and were not aware of it at the sale, it is just something he has learned to manage.”

The talented colt is only one member of Beaver’s burgeoning stable of quality stock. His roster includes world record holder Muscle Up The Goal, the swift and reliable Il Sogno Dream, Ohio champion Kestrel and state standouts Kanthaka, Buckeye Boss, Evanora, Kerfuffle Cookie, Fraser Ridge and Andy M (the latter two will both start in the first Valley Victory elimination on Friday).

Beaver, a long-time trotting bastion in his home state of Ohio, is the reigning Trainer of the Year in that state, and in 2016 has amassed $2.16 million in purse money, the most ever in his career.

Moonshiner Hanover may just very well be the horse that captures the prize he most covets -- the Hambletonian -- as world recorder holder and 2009 participant Triumphant Caviar sustained a bug bite prior to the final.

The stallion, who now stands at Abby Stables, was eighth in that year’s edition of the classic and went on to finish second to Muscle Hill in the $600,000 Breeders Crown later that fall.

“Over the last three years my stable has certainly grown,” he said. “I owe that to Triumphant Caviar. From just his foals alone I have made over $1.2 million and he is receiving some recognition for his achievements. I have breeders out east talking to me about him and already filling out applications.

“We spent all summer building a new farm. We sold our other one and after buying seven yearlings here at Harrisburg this week, it looks like we will already need to expand it. He has allowed me to buy more expensive horses like this one that are not under the $15,000 range. Our recent success really is because of him.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com