A Dean Hanover foal out of Sorceress, a Volomite mare, Demon Hanover was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. His pedigree carried more crosses to George Wilkes than probably any horse at stud in America in recent years. George Wilkes, the fastest stallion by Hambletonian 10, was noted for pure gait, extreme speed, and ability to pass those qualities on.
Purchased by amateur trainer/driver/owner Harrison Hoyt as a yearling for $2,600, Demon Hanover was developed and trained entirely by his devoted owner and treated as the family pet. Intelligent and well-mannered, he learned his trade in Saratoga's two-year-old amateur trots. His extraordinary consistency, beating all comers with ease, piling up a row of stake wins, sent him to the 1948 Hambletonian the favorite. Piloted by Harrison Hoyt, he won in an effortless straight heat victory. After a series of successes as a three-year-old, Demon Hanover graduated to the free-for-all ranks. He consistently proved that distance racing was no problem, with many of his successes coming in long-distance races. A major win came in the $50,000 Roosevelt two-mile trot, when he beat Chris Spencer and Proximity for first-place honors. As a five-year-old he time trialed in 1:59.4. Major wins in his last season as a six-year-old included the American Trotting Championship and the Trotting Derby.
Demon Hanover was retired in 1951 with total earnings of $187,344. Most of his wins were free-for-alls against the best trotters in the country. That same year Hoyt sold him for stud duty to Gay Acres Farm, Ohio; the price tag was $82,000. It was the sixth-highest price ever paid for a Standardbred.
Demon Hanover's first two crops immediately indicated he was siring youngsters like himself, as evidenced by Steamin' Demon and Demon Rum. They had exceptionally pure gait, extreme early speed, stamina and an aggressive winning spirit. Their promise inspired John Gaines to form a syndicate to purchase the stallion for a record $500,000. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a trotter and equalled among Standardbreds only by the pacer Adios. Demon Hanover was transferred to Walnut Hall Farm for the 1959 breeding season. After a successful routine operation for the removal of a stone from his bladder, he suffered a coronary embolism and died on August 16, 1959. He is buried at Walnut Hall, Lexington, Kentucky. He was fourteen.
Walnut Hall Farm, Lexington, KY
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1999 book, The 1999 Immortals