Day At The Track

Trevor "Hay Now" Henry in tune to Howard Stern

02:30 AM 29 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Howard Stern, harness racing
Trevor Henry only listens to Howard Stern when in his truck

In part one of the story on Trevor Henry, the winningest driver based in Canada in 2013 with 529 victories, we noted that he had won at ten different Ontario racetracks, and that over half his winners circle pictures came at London, a 200-mile (322km) round-trip from his base in Arthur, Ontario.

That’s a lot of time trucking up and down Route 6 and then either Route 7 or down to the 401 and over to London (assuming missing possibly-treacherous back roads, especially in winter). So it seemed a natural question to ask Trevor what kind of music he likes, what accompanies him on these long sojourns to keep him from “white line fever.” “Oh, I like all kinds of music,” he replied.

What type of music does he listen to most traveling to and from the tracks?

The answer was like a thunderbolt from this down-to-earth workaday horseman.

“I listen to Howard Stern all the time,” Trevor Henry replied. Shannon Henry verifies this fact, “You and I may never understand it, but in that truck Trevor listens to the Howard Stern channel 24/7.” Sirius-ly!

Henry says he sees parallels between himself and the celebrated “shock-jock”: “You know, you come down to it, he’s just a guy like me, trying to do a job, trying to do it the best he can.” While threading through a thin hole to get a horse clearance is somewhat “less” than the Wallenda act of balancing good taste into the funny/absurd/obscene (depending on your view of Mr. Stern), there is a certain resemblance there, a man out in the public eye, doing not the easiest of jobs but trying to do it the best he can.

Those long rides with Howard also helped Trevor name a 2012 foal who is being pointed for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. A frequent Sternism is “Hey now,” a synonym for “hello” (which Stern actually borrowed from Jeffrey Tambor’s character on the Larry Sanders [television] Show), and when the name was brought up by Trevor, it seemed natural (to Shannon) to change the name of a horse one letter in the first name to HAY NOW – which is how you’ll know him if he has Keystone State success in 2014. (The “him” in that sentence bothers Henry: “We were hoping for a filly so we could breed her on, but we got a colt, and now we’ll hope he’s a good racehorse.”)

Hay Now himself is the result of a “breeding philosophy” not often seen these days, starting with the-then 15-year-old mare whose name is French for “maple taffy.” “We have a mare named Tire Derable, and we had been bred her for ten years in Ontario. She’s had some very good foals, including TJ’s Mr Lavec, who won close to $600,000 for us and is probably the best homebred I’ve driven.

“I know trainer Paul Taylor, and Paul always seemed to have a couple of colts in the Ontario stakes for owner Bob Key,” a well-known breeder/owner from Pennsylvania. “It was through Paul that I had the connection to Mr. Key, and we decided to breed Tire Derable to his stallion American Winner,” the 1993 Hambletonian winner (and thus 21 when bred to the mare). It’s a little late in reproductive lifetimes for both father and mother, but they cross well – Super Bowl (American Winner’s sire) and Speedy Crown both make more than one appearance fairly “up close” on both sides of the pedigree – and so far the colt has shown good ability: in fact, Henry was moved to call the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes office just before the end of the year to make sure that Hay Now had been paid in as a yearling. “The next six months can produce almost anything,” Trevor notes, but he seems quietly confident that the baby is doing things right and could be almost any kind of horse.

Especially if he was a Teddy Be Ready. “That’s the toughest horse I ever drove, as tough as nails,” Henry said of the former track record at Orangeville, 1:58.2h – which may not sound like much now, but at the time in 1985 only one HMT track record in Canada was faster, Sudbury’s 1:57.2h produced by the free-for-all millionaire Perfect Out. “He’d always dig in and do his best.”

Whether Hay Now belongs in the Teddy Be Ready altitude, proves himself a good or competent Sire Stakes horse, or whatever, he seems likely to bring Henry “over the border” for a couple of trips, so that Americans can rightly see and know of this brown-and-gold-clad star who has shined almost exclusively in Ontario for many years.

And should he reach a Pennsylvania winners circle? And a certain tall, curly-haired gentleman in shades is waiting to great the winner? “HAY NOW!”….

By Jerry Connors for

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