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Hanover Shoe Farms

Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc. is a North American Standardbred horse breeding facilities. Its traces back to the early 1900’s and continues into the present day.

In a book titled Quest For Excellence, Dean Hoffmann, an executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, chronicled the farm’s history as it approached its 75th anniversary in 2001. Hoffmann stated in his opening chapter- “Any businessman, coach, or athlete will tell you that while it’s certainly a great accomplishment to rise to the top in your chosen field, it’s an even greater accomplishment to remain on top. By that definition, Hanover Shoe Farms leaves you searching for a word more powerful than ‘dynasty’” [1].

In 2001 Hanover Shoe Farms set the all-time breeder earnings record regardless of breed with $21,372,418 in annual progeny earnings [2].

The historic farm encompasses 2,426 acres (10 km2) in and around Hanover, Pennsylvania, USA. It is home to 9 stallions, 336 yearlings and over 500 broodmares. The yearling farm is located near Gettysburg, PA and a satellite stallion station is located in Lambertville, NJ with two more stallions. Hanover Shoe Farm has produced world champion racehorses and its stallions have sired a multitude of winners.[citation needed]



Originally founded in the early 1900’s as Hanover Shoe Stables by Harper D. Sheppard and Clinton N. Myers, owners of the Hanover Shoe Co., a manufacturer and retailer of leather shoes, the racing stable was started as a venture for the two businessmen. Hanover Shoe Stables fell under the management of Lawrence Sheppard, Sheppard’s son, in 1922 and in 1926 he purchased a 69 horse dispersal from the estate of A.B. Coxe for $150,000. According to The Kentucky Harness Horse, written by Standardbred historian Ken McCarr, it was “the start of one of the largest and most prominent harness horse nurseries in the world” [3].

In 1926 the farm began to sell small consignments of yearlings at public auction. In 1928 Hanover's Bertha (t,3,T1:59,1/2m, $71,779), a daughter of Peter Volo out of Miss Bertha Dillion who was purchased from the Coxe estate, was retained by the farm and trained by Tom Berry. She set two year old trotting record of 2:02 in 1929 and it wasn’t until 1934 that her record was equaled by Lawrence Hanover, her full brother [4]. As a three year old Hanover’s Bertha was undefeated and gave the Stable its first Hambletonian victory.[citation needed] She trotted the first 2:00 mile in an official race while winning the 1930 Kentucky Futurity [5].

Lawrence Sheppard, of Hanover Shoe Farms was President of the United States Trotting Association from 1950-1958 and was its honorary life president. He was the first chairman of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, an amateur driver and founded the Hall of Fame of the Trotter located in Goshen, New York. As stated by Philip A. Pines, author of The Complete Book of Harness Racing, Sheppard “played major roles throughout the sport’s modern history” [6].

In 1964 John Simpson took over the management of the farm as Lawrence Sheppard’s health began to decline. On February 26, 1968 Sheppard died at Hanover-General Hospital in Hanover, Pennsylvania succumbing to congestive heart failure and emphysema at the age of 70. His widow, Charlotte Sheppard became Hanover’s chairman of the board and the farm continued under the leadership of John Simpson & Paul Spears. Simpson continued on Hanover’s journey to acquire the best stallions and broodmares.

In 1972 they entered the scene in the form of Trotting Triple Crown Champion and Trotter of the Year, Super Bowl (t,2,1:56.2m, $601,350) and 1971-1972 Horse of the Year and World Champion pacer, Albatross (p,4,1:54.3f, $1,201,470). Their early crops were a success on the racetrack and launched their sires to the top rankings of every breed category. At the Harrisburg sale in 1977 Super Bowl’s offspring averaged $32,673 and Albatross averaged $41,767.

In 1977 pacing world record holder of history’s fastest race mile p,1:53.1, Warm Breeze, and trotter Songflori who had time trialed in t,1:55.1 were selected as Hanover’s new additions to the stallion ranks.

Present day

In recent years under the reins of Paul Spears, Jim Simpson (John F. Simpson’s son) & Russell Williams (Lawrence Sheppard’s grandson) Hanover Shoe Farms’ still raises stallions. In 2001 Hanover’s veteran pacing stallions, No Nukes and Big Towner, ranked first and second on the all time earnings list among active pacing sires with career progeny earnings over $109 million and $105 million respectively.

John F. Simpson believed[citation needed]that broodmares played a vital role in the farm’s success and strove to add quality mares to the band. He was quoted as stating “No breeding farm is going to reach the top, or remain on top, unless it consistently strives to improve its band of mares.”[citation needed]

Following John F. Simpson’s belief, Hanover Shoe Farms has spent over $16 million dollars in the past decade on mare purchases. Recent additions of world class performing mares such as 2005 Kentucky Filly Futurity and World Trotting Derby winner Her Culese (t,3,1:53.3m, $354,658), 2004 Buckette and Review Stake winner Bramasole (t,4,1:53.1, $347,753), 1998 Jugette, Matron, NJSS 3Year Old Filly Championship and numerous 3 Year Old Filly stakes winner Armbro Romance (p,3,1:49.4m, $794,375), and 2001 Horse Of The Year, NYSS Champion and Breeders Crown Champion Bunny Lake (p,1:49m, $2,843,476) exhibit Hanover Shoe Farms dedication to the improvement of their broodmare ranks.

See also

  • Harness Racing


  1. Quest For Excellence by Dean Hoffmann (executive editor of Hoofbeats magazine)Page 9.
  2. United States Trotting Association
  3. The Kentucky Harness Horse by Ken McCarr (former editor of The Horseman & Fairworld magazine and registrar at The USTA from 1948-1971)Page 85.
  4. Drivers Up by Dwight Akers Page 323.
  5. Quest For Excellence by Dean Hoffmann (executive editor of Hoofbeats magazine)Page 27.
  6. The Complete Book Of Harness Racing by Philp A Pines (Director of The Hall 0f Fame of The Trotter)Pages 298 and 299.

External links

  • [1] The Official Hanover Shoe Farms Website


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