Hanover (KY)

Purchased for $1,350 as a yearling by Phil and Mike Dwyer, Hanover won the first 17 races of his career and retired after the 1889 season as America’s greatest money earner.

Portrait of Hanover (James McLaughlin up) by Charles L. Zellinsky (Museum Collection)







Bourbon Belle


Bonnie Scotland


Catesby Woodford
Ezeliel F. Clay


Dwyer Bros. Stable


Frank McCabe





Racing Record



Year Starts First Second Third Earnings
Year Sts 1 2 3 $
1886 3 3 0 0 $14335 $14,335
1887 27 20 5 1 $87632 $87,632
1888 3 0 3 0 $1450 $1,450
1889 17 9 6 1 $15470 $15,470


Purchased for $1,350 as a yearling by Phil and Mike Dwyer, Hanover won the first 17 races of his career and retired after the 1889 season as America’s greatest money earner.

A chestnut son of Hindoo out of the Bonnie Scotland mare Bourbon Belle, Hanover won all three of his starts as a 2-year-old in 1886 — the Hopeful, July, and Sapling stakes — all in a period of 17 days.

Trained by Hall of Famer Frank McCabe, Hanover became dominant as a 3-year-old. He won both the Belmont Stakes and Brooklyn Derby by 15 lengths, the Coney Island Derby and Swift Stakes by 10 lengths each (defeating Firenze in the latter), and the Tidal Stakes by six lengths (defeating Kingston). He continued to add wins in races such as the Spindrift, Lorillard, Stockton, Barnegat, and Stevens stakes before finally suffering a defeat July 30, 1887, in the Raritan Stakes at Monmouth. It was the sixth start of the month for Hanover and his 15th of the year.

Hanover was given an 11-day break before winning the 1½-mile United States Hotel Stakes at Saratoga. He then returned to Monmouth and defeated Firenze and Volante in the 1½-mile Champion Stakes. The Dwyers continued to race Hanover through a grueling schedule and the colt began to wear down. Following the Champion Stakes, Hanover lost twice in a week, prompting Turf, Field and Farm to write: “Hanover’s third defeat on Thursday of last week will probably at last open the eyes of his owners to the fact, which has been apparent to everyone else for a month, that their colt is not only out of condition, but that something is radically wrong. Hanover has this year been set a task never before asked of a 3-year-old either in this country or in England. How well he has responded, the records show.”

Hanover was granted a month’s rest before returning to the races. He added wins in the Second Special, Breckinridge Stakes, and Dixie Stakes to finish the year with 20 wins from 27 starts and earnings of $87,632.

Foot problems slowed Hanover as a 4-year-old, as he finished second in all three of his starts before sitting out the majority of the year. He returned in 1889 as a 5-year-old and compiled a record of 9-6-1 from 17 starts and earnings of $15,470. His wins included the Coney Island Cup, Coney Island Stakes (defeating Kingston), California Stakes, Merchants’ Stakes, and Express Stakes.

Hanover was retired after the 1889 season with a lifetime mark from 32-14-2 from 50 starts and record earnings of $118,887. He was later purchased by Col. Milton Young’s McGrathiana Stud and became America’s top sire in 1895, 1896, 1897, and 1898. Among the top horses sired by Hanover included Hall of Famer Hamburg, Kentucky Derby winner Halma, and Preakness winner Half Time. Hanover died March 23, 1899, at the age of 15. 


Horse of the Year — 1887
Champion 3-Year-Old Male — 1887

Triple Crown Highlights

Won the Belmont Stakes — 1887


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