Washington, PA — In 2018, he won the Dan Patch Award as the 3-year-old male Pacer of the Year. Now, Dorsoduro Hanover stands on the verge of another impressive milestone.
With a top four finish in Saturday’s $16,000 Open Handicap Pace at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, he’ll pass $2 million in career earnings. The 7-year-old Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding goes from post one, race eight, with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. driving. First post is 12:45 p.m.
Dorsoduro Hanover was sure to attract attention as a yearling if only because of his unusual name. Dorsoduro is one of the six principal sections of Venice, and the youngster’s name was bestowed by Russell Williams, president/CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms, president of the United States Trotting Association and a self-described “huge fan” of Venice.
But it was more than an exotic handle that persuaded trainer Ron Burke and the ownership team of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva – Purnel & Libby, and Wingfield Five to give $100,000 for him at Harrisburg.
“He’s a big, beautiful horse, a well-bred Somebeachsomewhere,” Burke says. “We saw him at Hanover, and we were happy how he moved. Really, we thought we got a bargain.”
At 2, though, Dorsoduro Hanover was a disappointment to his owners, even though he banked more than $75,000, looking at times like he needed a gondolier to pole him across the finish line.
“He blew a lot of chances,” Burke recalls. “To us, he underachieved.”
Thus, he was gelded, with results that could not have been better. Burke compares his turnaround to that of another champion from his stable, 2017 Little Brown Jug winner Filibuster Hanover.
“They’re like the same horse,” Burke says. “They were both terrible at 2. They went from being excuse horses to horses that will do whatever it takes to win.”
Indeed, his sophomore season was magical. He won the Breeders Crown and the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids while finishing second in the Jug and the Meadowlands Pace en route to more than $1.28 million in earnings.
But the road to $2 million still had a few bumps. Toward the close of the 2020 season, Burke noticed that Dorsoduro Hanover seemed sore coming out of races. The problem: a torn tendon sheath that required surgical repair. He managed only nine starts in 2021 but now appears stronger thanks to careful management.
“It doesn’t look beautiful, but the pain is pretty much gone,” Burke says. “I don’t think it’s an injury that will bother him going forward, but I want to make sure it doesn’t. We’ve been more cautious with him. When he has weeks off, we send him to a rehab center. We want to keep him at The Meadows — we’ll take him to Northfield sometimes — because we know how to deal with him.”
And Dorsoduro Hanover has no concerns about his future.
“Getting over $2 million is a big accomplishment,” Burke says. “It makes him special, and I’m proud of it. He’s a lifer now. He’ll be with us for life.”