On Tuesday afternoon, Ed and James Hall's veteran pacer, Haroun Hanover, won for the 20th time this season when Jimmy Marohn Jr. guided him to a 1:57.3 victory in a $5,000 claiming pace. Much to trainer Danny Gill's surprise the horse was claimed by Jason Ryan.
"You always know when you put a horse in a claiming race someone could claim him but it really caught me by surprise when they claimed Haroun (Hanover) from us today,” Gill said.
After starting from the pole position Haroun Hanover was circled on the first turn but Marohn retook before the quarter and then they raced in front as they usually did. However, as the pacer approached the three-quarters most of his competition swarmed in on him and it appeared that Haroun Hanover would fold on the paddock turn. But incredibly the pacer seemed to reach down for more and when the field scooted off the turn Haroun opened daylight and hung on extremely game to turn back the $5,000 claiming field to win by a neck over Shark Income (Jimmy Taggart Jr.) who enjoyed a covered two-hole trip after he circled Haroun Hanover on the first turn.
In his previous start in a $7,500 claimer where he finished fourth, this race was the first time since very early in the season that Haroun Hanover was in for a $5,000 tag.
In early September Haroun Hanover was in for a $20,000 tag but he was scratched from that race because he was unmanageable in the post parade when he ran away with Marohn and circled the track at top speed three times before he was stopped. Because of that occurrence the judges understandably scratched him.
The pacer had to qualify before he was allowed to race again which he did and after his first start for money again he led all the way and tired and finished fourth.
"He's gone some very tough miles this year and he's getting tired so we put him in for $5,000,” Gill said about Haroun Hanover. "But I wonder why someone would take him now after 36 starts. You'd figure maybe earlier in this year someone might claim him, but now?
"He has always been a handful and I'm sure you can understand that when a horse wins 20 times you can get attached to him. I did, and I certainly have mixed feelings about losing him, after all he earned $54,000 racing right here at Monticello.” (Monticello)