During the winter, trainer Jimmy Takter said 3-year-old trotter Canepa Hanover could be "a Trixton kind of horse." As summer approaches, Canepa Hanover is doing his best to prove Takter correct.
Canepa Hanover is the 2-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $233,000 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. Last week, the colt won his Goodtimes elimination by 11 1/2 lengths over Iron in 1:51.3. The time equaled Trixton's track record set in last year's Goodtimes final.
But the similarities don't end there.
Both Trixton and Canepa Hanover are sons of Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, and hail from highly regarded families. Trixton is out of the mare Emilie Cas El, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994 and sister to stars Conway Hall, Angus Hall and Andover Hall. Canepa Hanover is out of the mare Cressida Hanover, who also produced 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. Trixton sold as a yearling for $360,000; Canepa Hanover for $300,000.
Both trotters were limited by growing pains at two and were overshadowed by some of their stablemates heading into their 3-year-old seasons. Trixton emerged early in his 3-year-old campaign and went on to capture the Hambletonian; now it is up to Canepa Hanover to write the rest of his story.
"He's going the same path,” Takter said about Canepa Hanover, who has won two of five races this year and hit the board in every start. "A lot of these Muscle Hills, they have tons of ability, but it just takes time sometimes.
"Both Trixton and Canepa were among the better horses early (at age 2) but both are very big horses and they couldn't hold the speed together. They just weren't ready for it. You have to have a little patience with them.”
Canepa Hanover won one of six races last year. His victory came in a Peter Haughton Memorial prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and he finished second in the New Jersey Sires Stakes championship. He went offstride in three races, including the Haughton final.
This year, the colt posted two second-place finishes and a third in his first three starts, then captured the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands and his Goodtimes elim in 1:51.3. Those are the two fastest win times of any 3-year-old trotter this season.
"He's definitely a fantastic horse,” said Takter, who trains Canepa Hanover for owners Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical Inc., Christina Takter, and the partnership of Sam Goldband, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. "His ability is unbelievable, as good as I ever saw.
"You always worry when you have horses climbing this kind of speed staying sound. He already has two (1):51 miles and a couple (1):52 miles. It's tough racing. But he's a beautiful horse.”
Canepa Hanover and driver Yannick Gingras will start the Goodtimes final from post four. He's not Takter's only hope in the Goodtimes, either. French Laundry won the other Goodtimes elimination, beating stablemate The Bank by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:53.3. He will start from post three in the final with driver Brett Miller and is 2-1 on the morning line.
French Laundry, a son of Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi, has won nine of 15 career races and earned $360,269 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Katz, and Libfeld.
"He's not the best gaited horse, but he never gives up,” Takter said. "He's a warrior. I like him.” (HRC)