McLin Hanover - 1938
Hanover Shoe Farms was back in the winner’s circle again at Goshen in 1938 as the newly purchased McLin Hanover shut out the field in straight heats. He brought honors for the second straight year to his owners, driver Henry Thomas and his sire, Mr. McElwyn, also at Hanover. The 1938 winner was bred by William H. Cane, Master of Good Time Park and was out of Ethelinda, the three-year-old champion of her day. McLin, as he was called before his purchase, proved a bitter disappointment at two, wild breaks putting him far back in his few starts. However, he was kept up in the stakes as he had demonstrated extreme speed. At Agawam, Mass., the colt skyrocketed to prominence in the American Stake. In the second heat over a slow track he came from far back at a speedy clip, swept past the favored Long Key only to make a break with victory in his grasp. The final mile Carl Dill handled McLin with kid gloves, bringing him out in the middle of the track to sprint home. Lawrence Sheppard then stepped in and bought the colt for $25,000 from Mr. Cane, having already been impressed by his remarkable speed flights in training. The same schooling process that had been employed with Shirley Hanover was next used on McLin at Goshen. The colt learned to take off like a bullet and keep his feet on the sprint for the first turn. Though his supporters were nervous, the Hambletonian proved anti-climactic. Henry Thomas used the unbeatable formula of getting away on top and improving his position and the colt was never threatened, winning both heats by open lengths. McLin Hanover was sold to Italy that fall and proved to be an oustanding sire.
Hanover Shoe Farms (Lawrence B. Sheppard et al) won back-to-back Hambletonians, becoming the first ownership to do so. Sheppard purchased McLin (later renamed McLin Hanover) a week before the race from William H. Cane for a reported $20,000, (his earnings for the day: $19,944.30) with an additional $5,000 due if the colt won the Hambletonian Stake. During that era of heat racing McLin had won only one heat in his career, and had yet to win a race. Henry Thomas was also the first trainer/driver to win two consecutive Hambletonians. McLin was the fifth and last winner sired by a Calumet stallion. The Dutchess, owned by Italian Count Paolo Mangelli (the father of Orsi Mangelli) and driven by Will Caton, became the first European-owned horse to start in the Hambletonian. She finished 4-10 in the two heats. Post time for the second and final heat was moved forward to accommodate the National Broadcasting Company nation-wide radio hookup, with Clem McCarthy providing the call and the commentary as he had in previous years.