Day At The Track

Bret Hanover sold at Harrisburg 50 years ago

05:04 AM 08 Nov 2013 NZDT
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Bret Hanover, harness racing Harness racing
Bret Hanover sold at Harrisburg as a yearling for $50,000 fifty years ago today!
Brach's were Bret Hanover's favorite candy

It was fifty years ago to the day that the great world champion pacer and stallion, Bret Hanover, was sold at the Harrisburg Sale.

He fetched a price of $50,000 that at the time was the highest price ever paid for a Standardbred yearling.

Bret’s favorite treat was Brach’s Starlight Peppermints, and soon word got around the press newsrooms about the “peppermint-eating horse.” So one day a camera crew showed up at Frank Ervin’s barn with a bag of — A & P Peppermints.

Ervin gave one to the horse. He spit it out.

He tried again. Bret spit it out.

A third time – spit it out.

Then Ervin noticed the candy wasn’t Brach’s, and he hollered for the groom to look in the tack trunk for some Brach’s peppermints.

The groom gave Frank two candies – and they looked like they had been through the Civil War. Ervin cleaned one off and gave it to Bret – who ate it instantly and was immediately looking for more. Ervin gave him the other one – which the horse chomped down right away as well.

On camera afterward, Ervin said, “The galling thing is that I have a bunch of A & P stock in my portfolio. I don’t have a nickel’s worth of Brach’s stock.”

By Jerry Connors for


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