Caretaker Sarah Murphy talks Hannelore Hanover
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"We've had a lot of good days, though. She's all right if it's just me and her. It's when other people are around. It's her throne; you should not encroach upon it. That's just how she is."
It truly is Hannelore Hanover's throne now. And the 6-year-old female trotter will return this season to try to defend her title.
"The climb is easier than staying there, that's for sure," Murphy said. "When you're on top they're all coming after you. Staying there is the hard part."
Not that getting there was all that easy.
"There were a lot of good mares this year (2017)," Murphy said. "Last year (2016) it was Bee A Magician and her. This year they were coming out of the woodwork. Pasithea (Face) came from Sweden, Emoticon (Hanover) came down out of Canada. There were good mares everywhere.
"At least the boys were chivalrous," she added with a grin. "Go on sweetheart, go ahead. That worked."
Hannelore Hanover defeated male rivals on multiple occasions in 2017, including in the eliminations and finals of both the Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot. She also beat the boys in the Allerage Farms Open Trot, where her 1:49.2 mile made her the fastest female trotter in history.
Throughout last season, though, Murphy was focused on helping Hannelore Hanover prepare to win races rather than giving any thought to a Horse of the Year Award. When the moment came Sunday, she was grateful.
"It makes you feel like you did something right," Murphy said. "We did something special."
For a recap and video of Sunday's Dan Patch Awards banquet, click here. (with files from Ken Weingartner/USTA)