SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Donato Hanover, the champion 2-year-old trotter of last season, heads a list of 37 eligibles to the $550,000 (est.) World Trotting Derby to be contested on Sept. 1 at the Du Quoin State Fair.
This year the trotting classic will be contested under a new format that calls for ten finalists racing one heat for the entire purse. The finalists will be the horses with the highest earnings at time of entry.
Last year Donato Hanover was the overwhelming star of his class. He won eight of his nine starts and $662,557. He took a 1:55 record in winning at Lexington, and his only loss came on June 22, when he finished third in a race at the Meadowlands.
Donato dominated throughout the season, winning the Peter Haughton Memorial by 2-3/4 lengths in late July and the Breeders Crown by four lengths in late October.
Donato Hanover was so impressive that he’s already earned a spot in the stud barn at Hanover Shoe Farms, where his sire Andover Hall stands. Donato Hanover was syndicated during the past winter and breeders from around the world eagerly snapped up the breeding shares.
The mile track at Du Quoin is famed for its speed-conducive surface and Andover Hall equaled the 1:51.3 world record for trotters when he won the 2002 World Trotting Derby. The connections of Donato Hanover hope that he will emulate his sire’s accomplishments.
The fastest trotting mile in the history came in the World Trotting Derby when Tom Ridge sailed to a 1:50.2 clocking over the mile oval.
The World Trotting Derby could have a truly international flavor if Adrian Chip travels to Du Quoin to challenge Donato Hanover. Adrian Chip finished third behind Donato Hanover in the Breeders Crown, and was sold to Swedish interests last December. He is also a son of Andover Hall and a match l between Donato Hanover and Adrian Chip could be an interesting duel.
Among the other stars of the 2006 season that made the sustaining payment for the World Trotting Derby this summer are Quite Easy, Snowboarder, Stunt Man Hall, and The Bosses Lindy.