Lee Hanover

Hall of Fame Inductee, 1982

The first Canadian-bred trotter to record a two-minute mile was Lee Hanover, a son of Lee Harvester and a foal of 1930. He was bred by Percy Clemons of St. George, Ont., and was purchased as a yearling by Joseph Owen of Jarvis, Ont., and trained by his son, Len. His racing career started at age three when he won all three heats of the Canadian Standardbred Futurity at the CNE track in Toronto. In 1934 Lee Hanover won 10 of 14 starts, eight of them in the United States, where he reduced his record to 2:07 1/2 at Grand Rapids, Mich. He campaigned exclusively in Ohio and Michigan at five, winning five of 23 starts.

Lee Hanover blossomed in 1936, finishing best in all 12 events he contested and compiling a remarkable record of 34 wins in 36 heats. He started the season by winning three heats at Listowel and six more at Flint. After finishing second in the first heat at North Randall, Ohio, he came back to win the second and third heats. At Hamilton, Ohio, he was fifth in the first heat before closing out the season by winning his last 20 starts. His skein included a 2:021/4 win at Springfield, Ill., and a 2:01 1/4 score at Indianapolis. It was then that he was sold for $8,000 to Biery Farm of Butler, Pa. In the final race of his 1936 campaign, Lee Hanover won three heats of the Walnut Hall Cup at Lexington.

Lee Hanover graduated to the free-for-all ranks, which included some of the great trotters of that era, Greyhound and Rosalind. He won only three times during in 1937. He finished third in two heats at Springfield as Greyhound won in 2:00 1/2 and 2:02. At Syracuse he was second to Rosalind in the mile and one-half All-American Handicap and runner-up again to her in the Transylvania Trot at Lexington. The third heat was timed in 1:59 1/4. It was the final race of Lee Hanover’s career, but later was sent against the clock in a time trial and was clocked in 2:00 1/2. Then, with Charles Lacey driving, Lee Hanover entered the record books forever with a 2:00 TT on Oct. 16, 1937, going faster than any Canadian-bred trotter before him. He retired to the Owen’s farm, where he died at age 19.