Milton, ON — Bulldog Hanover blazed his way into the record books with yet another jaw-dropping tour de force, this time in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace, Saturday night (Oct. 29) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
In the curtain-closing event of the 2022 Breeders Crown finals, it was Standardbred racing’s show-stopping superstar who delivered a primetime performance in front of an appreciative crowd and his proud connections.
Sent on his way as the 1-5 choice, Bulldog Hanover, with Dexter Dunn at the controls, settled into fourth spot into the first turn as Tattoo Artist stamped himself as the leader, followed by Allywag Hanover and American Courage.
After guiding his 10 rivals through an opening quarter in :26, Tattoo Artist yielded the lead to Allywag Hanover, who was then quickly engaged by Bulldog Hanover, the latter striking the front then reaching the half in :53.1.
Armed with a 1-1/2 length advantage after three-quarters in 1:20.3, Dunn called upon the 4-year-old son of Shadow Play-BJ’s Squall for his best and the bay responded by rocketing away from his rivals down the lane en route to a 3-3/4 length score.
The final time of 1:46.4 was a Breeders Crown stakes record and also equaled the track and Canadian record. Tattoo Artist was second, Allywag Hanover third, and Abuckabett Hanover was fourth.
Bulldog Hanover paid $2.40 for the win.
“He felt great tonight,” said Dunn. “The fractions were fast, we had a good helmet, and took him to the backstretch right after the first quarter and when he merged on there he got to the front, he grabbed a hold of me like he has most of the year. I could feel him (Allywag Hanover) on my helmet there. I know he had to do pretty good tonight to try to get past me. I probably didn’t feel the same as I did at Lexington. It’s a bit of a shame, but he’s an amazing horse.”
Arriving at the final off a runner-up finish to Allywag Hanover in the Allerage Farms Open on Oct. 9, Bulldog Hanover, in his final start in Canada, put on a stellar show for the crowd on a cool Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Bulldog Hanover, who paced the fastest mile ever, 1:45.4, in July, has 27 wins, along with four seconds and a third, from 36 starts and earned in excess of $2.2 million.
Not bad for a horse who was a $28,000 purchase at the 2019 Harrisburg Sale as Hip No. 795.
For trainer Jack Darling, who co-owns with Brad Grant, his first Crown coronation couldn’t have come with a more special horse, one who launched his racing life with a series of Ontario Sires Stakes successes in the summer of 2020.
“It’s been exciting, but I mean the pressure going into this race for me was excruciating,” admitted Darling. “The fans, I just wanted him to win so badly for the fans. It felt so good when we started to step away. I felt really good about it. I knew he was right back to himself, and I’ve seen him do it so many times that I’m kind of counting on him.”
The horse who has garnered widespread attention from racing fans and media alike will now travel south of the border to conclude his racing season.
And he’ll head to the U.S. off a crowning achievement on his home turf.
“It’s been just amazing all the way along and every night gets better,” said a beaming Brad Grant.
To watch a race replay, click here.