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Kelley has high hopes for Exodus Hanover
Friday, February 28, 2014 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- His present did not arrive exactly on Dec. 25, but just because this gift was not under the tree on Christmas morning doesn’t make Paul Kelley any less excited. Especially when that special package was the newly turned 3-year-old colt trotter Exodus Hanover.

“I’ve had him for about the last two months here at Sunshine Meadows down in Delray Beach,” said the conditioner. “He was purchased privately right between Christmas and New Year’s. We are really, really excited to have a horse like this in the barn. He’s a very talented colt and we very much enjoy being around him.”

Initially purchased as a yearling for $42,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale and campaigned last year by co-owner/trainer Steve Elliott, the late Angelo Frassetto, Kenneth Klein and Old Block Stables, Exodus Hanover is a son of Andover Hall and the mare Exotic Destination, who annexed the 2007 Filly World Trotting Derby as a sophomore and was third in the 2008 Breeders Crown at age four.

USTA/Ken Weingartner photo
Exodus Hanover won six times as a freshman, with earnings of $159,655.

In a division where Father Patrick and Nuncio dominated the headlines, this colt quietly compiled a record of 11-6-0-2, stuffed his bank account with $159,655 and set his speed standard of 1:55.2s. While in Elliott’s care, the horse captured divisions of the Arden Downs, Historic-Harriman and Reynolds Stakes.

He is now owned by AB Svensk Reklamfinans.

“Steve did a tremendous job with this horse,” Kelley said. “He accomplished a lot last year at two and so far he is coming along real nicely as a 3-year-old. I’ve been training him and he’s went in about 2:20 or 2:21. He is a very well mannered, intelligent colt, just like Steve told me he was.”

Exodus Hanover’s career debut was a seventh and last place finish on June 21 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in a $13,000 2-year-old contest after breaking at the gate. The colt did have to leave from the outside post in his first mile, but that performance appeared to be merely a learning experience as he broke his maiden the following week over the same surface and under the same conditions.

His next engagement was his victory in a $20,000 division of the Arden Downs at The Meadows on July 24, then came another triumph in a $64,911 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes contest at the same facility July 31.

Exodus Hanover returned to Harrah’s Philadelphia where his picture was taken yet again when he hit the wire first in his $32,441 division of the Historic on August 7 and he was in the winner’s circle one more time on August 14 for a $67,010 Pennsylvania Sire Stake event.

On August 22, the colt’s five race winning streak was terminated when he came home third in an $85,216 Sire Stake at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but he put himself right back before the flash bulbs with a triumph in his $39,100 division of the Reynolds at Vernon Downs on Sept. 5, when he trotted the swiftest mile (1:55.2) of his young career.

Exodus Hanover’s next performance was another third place finish in the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stake final at Harrah’s Philadelphia and then it was time for him to travel to Kentucky.

His trip to The Red Mile, however, was not quite as lucrative as his connections had hoped as the colt broke again leaving from the far outside post, but he got right back on the trot and tripped the circuit with a last panel of :27.2 in finishing seventh.

The horse’s next appearance at Pocono Downs on Oct. 11 was for his Breeders Crown elimination where he jumped it off at roughly the half-mile marker and failed to make the final.

After that performance, Exodus Hanover was given a winter vacation to prepare for this year’s campaign.

“I’m not sure why he ran at Pocono so I can’t speak for that race,” Kelley said. “But Steve told me down in Lexington he had that outside post when they were lining up for the gate and they have the draw gate out there. Being as he was just a green 2-year-old, he was distracted by that so he started out sideways, like to his right, so Andy (Miller, his pilot) lost him for a little bit, but he trotted a hell of a mile after that.

When you have 2-year-olds, things like that always seem to rear up at the wrong time.”

Although Kelley has already put him back to work, the colt will not make his seasonal bow until probably the second week in May in the Keystone State.

“In the latter part of April or May, we will have a much better handle on where we want to go, but his first Sire Stake race would be in mid-May,” his trainer said. “That’s what we are aiming for because in the Sire Stakes program his races would be spaced in two-week intervals. Obviously those first races will be the primary goal and then we will play it by ear with him, but he is eligible to everything.

He’s a very smart and relaxed colt with a real nice way about him. We really like how he is coming along now and it always makes everybody’s job a lot easier when you are dealing with an intelligent athlete rather than an athlete that does not possess that kind of mental capacity.

We know there are some really nice 3-year-old trotters out there, but we are very excited to have him. When we get down to the nitty-gritty in the summertime, he will tell us where he belongs in this 3-year-old class.”

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