Shirley Hanover - 1937
Shirley Hanover was bred to be a champion. Her dam was two-time World Champion Hanover’s Bertha, Hanover Shoe Farms’ first Hambletonian winner, and her sire, Mr. McElwyn, was himself three-time World Champion. She inherited the speed of her parents, but was handicapped throughout her career with bad manners. In the hands of Henry Thomas, Shirley Hanover was one of the fastest youngsters in the Hanover string. Among her victories were the Review and Horseman Futurities. Her manners showed in the American Stake when she reared at the start and went down, knocking her wind out. Carefully schooled for the big stakes at Goshen, Hambletonian Day found Shirley in perfect stakes form and she carried the orange and blue colors to an upset victory in record time. That moment of glory was to be her last start. As a broodmare, Shirley Hanover produced the double-gaited Hava Hanover and Reine Hanover, but never foaled a performer comparable to herself.
The only winner whose dam, Hanover’s Bertha (1930), was also a Hambletonian winner. Shirley Hanover’s granddam was Miss Bertha Dillon, considered the foundation mare of Hanover Shoe Farms. After twenty minutes and six recalls in the first heat, starter Steve Phillips ordered Dunbar Bostwick on Hollyrood Audrey 2nd and H. M. Parshall on Delphia Hanover to replace themselves with other drivers. The violation: scoring ahead of the pole horse. Harry Whitney replaced Bostwick and Charlie Lacey took the place of Parshall, though Lacey was taken off for Leo Fleisch in the second heat. The first heat got away on the tenth score. Eight of the twelve starters, or two-thirds of the field, were fillies, the highest proportion ever in a Hambletonian. Fifty percent or more of the field has been fillies in seven different years; all prior to 1937. A record eight fillies were also entered in the 1949 edition. First post-race saliva test in a Hambletonian.