On Wednesday night, weather permitting, Donatella Hanover will tackle older rivals in the $46,500Series final at the Meadowlands. She is the only 3-year-old in the race - the remaining nine starters are 4-year-olds - and one of just two female trotters in the mix.
Trained byand driven by , Donatella Hanover will begin the race from post four and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line behind the favored entry of Time To Quit and Cocotier from the stable of trainer . Time To Quit has won twice this year, both in the Series.
Last year, Donatella Hanover didn't reach the races until Halloween and faced almost all older horses in her five starts. She won two of those races and never finished worse than third in any, earning $20,125 for the season. She finished second to Time To Quit in her final start of 2013, losing by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2.
In her only appearance so far this year, she won her first-round division of theSeries by three-quarters of a length over Corleone Hall in 1:55.3. She skipped the second round of the series.
"I think she's coming in to the race in really great shape," Takter said. "She's been getting better and better with every single start. I know she is just a green 3-year-old against more mature horses, but I think she is going to be able to give them a little run for their money."
A daughter ofout of the mare On The Glide, Donatella Hanover was purchased for $57,000 under the name Only I Can Hanover at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. Her family includes stakes-winners Lassie's Goal, , and Missy's Goalfire. Also, On The Glide's full-sister Madame Volo produced Takter-trained stakes-winner High Bridge.
"I love that family; it's a really good pedigree," Takter said. "She was very late, very immature. She just wasn't ready for any early action. She was turned out a couple times last year and brought back. Now it seems like she is getting everything together."
Following her start in thefinal, Donatella Hanover will get some time off as Takter hopes to prepare her for bigger events later in the season.
"When you have a young horse, finding racing opportunities can be so tough," Takter said. "They've got to race against older horses and it's not easy for them. This filly trotted (1):53 and a piece in the fifth start of her life. It's not easy.
"I'm going to do this start with her and then shut her down for a little while. I think she is going to be a stake horse."
The filly is owned by Takter's family: wife Christina and children Nancy, Jenny, Tiffany and Jimmy Jr. (aka J.J.).
"They each own 20 percent," Takter said. "It's just a fun thing. If it works out, that's beautiful. It's nice to do something with your kids and they're all excited. They're all coming to the races on Wednesday and hopefully they'll have a good evening."
by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications