Maxim Hanover hopes to continue winning ways in Governor’s Cup

Ken Weingartner

Hightstown, NJ — The connections of Maxim Hanover hoped to see their 2-year-old male pacer develop as this season progressed, and after watching the colt win four of his past five races, it looks as though the plan is coming to fruition.

Maxim Hanover, who had three second-place finishes among six winless starts to begin his career, captured the Matron Stakes on Nov. 2 and heads to Saturday’s $454,000 Governor’s Cup final for freshman male pacers at The Meadowlands off a lifetime-best-equaling 1:52 victory in one of last week’s two eliminations.

A son of Captaintreacherous-Mean Leen trained by Robert Cleary, Maxim Hanover starts Saturday’s final, one of eight stakes on the card, from post one with driver Andy McCarthy. Captain Luke, the other elim winner, leaves from post two with Todd McCarthy driving for trainer Tony Alagna. Lou Vuitton, who received a bye to the final thanks to his Kindergarten Classic Series title, starts from post six with Tim Tetrick driving for Ron Burke.

Maxim Hanover captured the Matron Stakes on Nov. 2. Fotowon photo.

Andy McCarthy qualified Maxim Hanover prior to the start of the colt’s campaign and was in the sulky for second-place finishes in two conditioned races in July before commitments elsewhere resulted in not seeing the horse again until the Matron.

“It worked out where I had to go west and couldn’t keep up with him, but I always liked him the whole way through,” McCarthy said. “I figured he would turn into a really nice colt. When I started him out, I could tell he had a really big engine, but he didn’t really know what to do with everything; you kind of had to tell him what to do. He’s starting to figure it out now.

“As far as 2-year-olds, it’s all just an experience thing for them. Then usually when they come back at 3, they’ve got it figured out hopefully. I think he’s going to make a heck of a 3-year-old. He’s got a big set of lungs, and he tries very hard.”

Maxim Hanover’s mother is a half-sister to Mayhem Seelster, who is the dam of Grand Circuit winners Mad Max Hanover (the 2021 Governor’s Cup runner-up), Mirage Hanover, and Mollop Hanover. Maxim Hanover, purchased as a yearling for $115,000 at the 2022 Standardbred Horse Sale, is owned by Bill Peshina’s Royal Wire Products Inc.

“He’s come along just about the way Robert expected,” Peshina said. “He wanted to bring him along slowly. He’s green. Obviously, you want them to win every race, but it doesn’t always happen. But we’re very grateful for what we’ve got now. He’s done the right thing.”

Maxim Hanover held off Wish You Well and Booming Economy by a neck for the victory in their Governor’s Cup elimination. Lisa photo.

Last week, Maxim Hanover and McCarthy launched a sustained first-over bid from fourth place with five-eighths of a mile to go. The colt passed pacesetter Huntingforchrome in the stretch and held off Wish You Well and Booming Economy by a neck for the victory.

“He likes a target,” McCarthy said. “I didn’t think first-over would really worry him. Ideally, I’d like to trip him out a little bit better than that, but I kind of had to get going when I did because we were getting a little jammed up. So, I got him out and got him moving. He raced great.”

The win pushed Maxim Hanover’s career earnings to $138,640. He will try to make it three victories in a row on Saturday.

“I wish everybody the best,” Peshina said. “It’s a tough game. Anytime you get a nice win or two, you’re very happy. I take it one week at a time. We’re very happy for what we’ve got, and we’ll hope for the best.”

The Governor’s Cup is one of Saturday’s Fall Final Four events for 2-year-olds at The Meadowlands, which also hosts four FanDuel Championships for horses 3-and-up.

Karl leads a group of 10 into the $423,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters. The colt is a nose from being undefeated in nine races this season, with his victories including the Breeders Crown and Kindergarten Classic Series final. He received a bye to the Valley Victory final and starts from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for Nancy Takter.

Also receiving a bye was Security Protected, who leaves from post one with Tim Tetrick in the sulky for Marcus Melander. Winter Soldier, who won last week’s single elimination, starts from post two with Andy McCarthy driving for Alagna.

Breeders Crown champ My Girl EJ is among the 10 horses in the $376,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers. She won last week’s lone elimination and will start from post six with Dexter Dunn driving for Burke.

Bye recipients Caviart Belle, the Kindergarten winner, and Peace Talks will leave from posts three and 10, respectively. Gingras will drive Caviart Belle, trained by Takter, and Andy McCarthy will drive Peace Talks, trained by Chris Ryder.

Soiree Hanover and R Melina captured the eliminations for the $428,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters, both with Tetrick in the sulky. Soiree Hanover starts the final from post two, with Tetrick listed to drive for Lucas Wallin. R Melina, with Dunn listed to drive, leaves from post five for trainer John Butenschoen.

Kindergarten champ Sambuca Hanover will start from post six for driver David Miller and trainer Nifty Norman after receiving the bye to the final.

Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EST) Saturday. For complete entries, click here.

For free TrackMaster programs for the Big M, click here.

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