If there is a correlation between looks and speed, harness racing trainerhopes he's found it with Photobombr Hanover.
"I tell my owners that I hope he's as fast as he is good looking because he's a good-looking horse," said a smiling Fanning, who owns Photobombr Hanover with Howard Taylor and Susan Kajfasz. "We'll find out about fast."
Photobombr Hanover was fast enough to win four of nine races last year and earn $80,696 in purses. This season he finished second to Fear The Dragon in his debut May 6 in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male pacers at The Meadows. He returns to PaSS action Sunday, this time at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
The colt is 7-2 on the morning line in the first of three divisions. David Miller will drive from post five in a field of seven. Filibuster Hanover is the 2-1 favorite and Boogie Shuffle is the 3-1 second choice.
Fanning brought Photobombr Hanover along slowly at age 2. He had two wins in conditioned races and one in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series before ending the year with a gate-to-wire victory in the Simpson Memorial. His only off-the-board finishes came in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and his elimination for the Breeders Crown.
"I didn't feel he was ready to tackle the top horses, though he showed some potential that he could maybe go with them one day," Fanning said. "At the end of the year we raced him aggressively in the Simpson and he was very good and won pretty handily. So then we started looking forward to this year.
"But you have to be so good in the 3-year-old pacing colt division; there are so many good horses in there. There's a fine line between the third- or fourth-best one and the 15th-best one. The top two are the top two, I think, so far this year."
The "top two" are Pennsylvania-bred world champions Huntsville and Downbytheseaside. Hunstville romped to a 10-length win in his first start of 2017 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Sunday's second PaSS division at Pocono. Downbytheseaside also won his seasonal bow and is the 2-1 choice in Saturday's Art Rooney Pace elimination at Yonkers.
Photobombr Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the stakes-winning mare Pilgrims Witchie, was purchased as a yearling for $30,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. His family includes female pacer Los Angeles, who enjoyed racing success in Ontario but is perhaps better known as the dam of millionaire Thinking Out Loud and grandam of millionaires L A Delight and Somewhere In L A.
He is staked to a number of top events this year including the North America Cup, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace, and Matron.
"You've got to pick your spots," said Fanning, who has a stable of 25 horses and entered this year with a streak of four consecutive million-dollar seasons. "With the 3-year-old pacing colts in particular, it's really a battle of attrition because they race so hard every week. And it's a lot of traveling. It's rare that a horse can make it through the whole year."
The colt possesses a sensibility that could be a benefit during the long season.
"Miller really likes him because he'll do anything," Fanning said. "Whatever you ask him, he'll respond to. That will help him in the long run, so I like that about him. It makes everyone's job easier; mine, the driver and the horse. It's got to benefit them physically and mentally. It all adds up to good stuff.
"We'll see how he does. I think he can compete with most of them. We'll see what happens this week and go from there."
For Sunday's complete Pocono card, click here. First race post time is 7:30 p.m. and the three PaSS divisions are races 10 through 12.