Once again, Pennsylvania’s Hanover Shoe Farms won the 2022 Dan Patch Breeder of the Year award. The prestigious yearly awards voted on by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognized Hanover’s 2022 accomplishments. They were also awarded both broodmare of the year awards, one for their pacer, BJ’s Squall, dam of world champion Bulldog Hanover, and the other, for their trotter, Hot Mess Hanover. Hanover Farms also bred three Breeders Crown winners in 2022, 2-year-olds, Gaines Hanover and Sylvia Hanover, along with older champion Bulldog Hanover. Since record-keeping began, Hanover Shoe Farms dominated breeders’ awards in the harness racing industry.

Pennsylvania standardbred stallions top the North American 2022 sires lists. Four of the twelve Breeders Crown winners in 2022 were bred by PA farms. Statistically, according to the United States Trotters Association (USTA), the equivalent of the Thoroughbred Jockey Club, Pennsylvania farms stand the top stallions by earnings in the country. Hanover Farm’s Captaintreacherous topped the list for money-winning 2-year-old pacers in 2022 followed by Sweet Lou, standing at Diamond Creek Farm in Wellsville, PA, and fourth was another young Hanover stallion, Stay Hungry.

Tops for money-winning 3-year-old pacers went to Downbytheseaside standing in Ohio, followed by Captaintreacherous at Hanover, and in fourth place was Sweet Lou at Diamond Creek, and fifth to Always B Miki also at Diamond Creek.

The awards for all-age pacers went to Bettor’s Delight standing in Canada, followed by Captaintreacherous at Hanover, the late Somebeachsomewhere, American Ideal, standing in New York, and fifth to Sweet Lou at Diamond Creek.

Third place for 2-year-old money-winning trotters went to Diamond Creek’s Father Patrick. For 3-year-old trotters, the fifth and sixth place went to the late Bar Hopping and the recently euthanized Cantab Hall, both at Hanover. Fourth place for all-age trotters also went to the late Cantab Hall.

Cantab Hall, recently humanely euthanized for arthritic disabilities, stood at Hanover Shoe Farms and was one of the most successful stallions of all time. In 2003, he was the Dan Patch 2-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year and Trotter of the Year, and as a sire, he was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in 2018. He was the leading sire in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. As a broodmare sire, he was also legendary, and his offspring produced winners of over $60 million.

Current stallions standing at Hanover include champion pacer Captaintreacherous, sire of 2 year-olds Don’t Fence Me In and Treacherous Dragon, and sophomore winners Blue Diamond Eyes and Rockyroad Hanover. Other young stallions at Hanover include two by the late legendary stallion, Somebeachsomewhere, Papi Rob Hanover and Stay Hungry. The regally bred and stunning Tall Dark Stranger is another young pacer at Hanover, and his first foals will be yearlings of 2023.

Trotter stallions at Hanover include the talented Captain Corey, millionaire Greenshoe, and International Moni, sire of 2-year-old winners Railee Something and Crantini.

Another prominent Pennsylvania breeding farm, Diamond Creek Farm stands world-class pacers Always B Miki, the impressive Bettor’s Wish, Captain Crunch, and the popular Sweet Lou. Father Patrick, a trotter and sire of Greenshoe also stands at Diamond Creek.

Photo Credit Gunjan Patel

In Doylestown, PA, Delaware Valley University stands two stallions, a trotter named Flashbacks by Revenue S, and a pacer named Swift As A Shadow, son of Bettor’s Delight. Students in the equine breeding management program assist with semen collection and study all aspects of the horse breeding business. The school keeps a herd of standardbred broodmares that the students foal, train, and prepare to sell as yearlings at the yearly “Black Book” horse sale in Harrisburg. This year, beginning in mid-February, thanks to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association, the public can watch live foaling on Foal Cams set up in the foaling stalls.

Pennsylvania’s breeding programs, sire stakes, and high purses draw top performers to the state for competitive and exciting racing. Good money equals good racing. As reported by the USTA for 2022, registration of all horse breeds including standardbreds is down, and fewer mares were bred last year. Pennsylvania ranks third in the country in the number of standardbred mares bred and the number of stallions in the state. The standardbred leader is Ohio with 3,102 mares bred and 132 stallions. Second place is Indiana with 2,840 mares bred and 159 stallions followed by Pennsylvania with 1,944 mares bred and 88 stallions. Illinois is next followed by New York. Even though wagering on harness racing declined in 2022 by 8.33%, purses increased by 10.48% due to revenue from gaming which makes breeding and racing in Pennsylvania a great bet.

Cover Photo Credit to Gunjan Patel

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