Great State: Betting on Hanibal

OKARCHE, OKLAHOMA — He’s had other jobs, other places to live, but home, for Walter Hanibal has always been a barn with horses in it.

“I’ve always liked them,” he says. “When I got old enough to buy me a horse that’s what I did.”

Walter is trainer.

He makes his living making fast horses faster.

Hanibal is hoping a gelding named Few Moon can do something he’s never done, win a race.

“It would probably be the best thing for me,” he notes. “It would help me financially to try to get back.”

To understand why Hanibal would try to conquer with this particular ‘elephant’ maiden you have to go back to May 20th, 2013.

At the beginning of that day, Walter had eight horses stabled at the Orr Farm.

He parked his two trucks and trailers there, plus all his gear.

In seconds, an EF5 tornado swept it all away.

Walter says, “I could not imagine that it did what it did. As I walked closer and saw horses laying out across the ground. Some were dead. I don’t know how to says this but it seemed like they were saying, ‘somebody help me’, and I was helpless.”

Walter used to work nights so he could train horses by day.

Turning 60, he thought he was on the cusp of a winning streak.

After May 20th he didn’t have a single thing.

“There’s an old saying,” he muses. “Why me? I don’t bother nobody. Why me?”

Old friends came calling though.

One brought a bridle, another lent him a pickup truck.

Another gave him a gift horse, Few Moon.

He’s five years old with a short window left to win his first maiden race.

Hanibal says, “Before, my racing colors were red and white.” “Now you’re a rainbow,” remarks a visitor. “That’s a good answer,” he smiles.

Walter has two horses at an old farm near Okarche now.

One is too young to race.

So he will shoot for the ‘Moon’ when Remington Park opens in August.

The storm clouds have cleared.

Walter is back doing what he loves, looking for a winning streak, sunshine and ‘Few Moon’ in the same cloudless sky.

Not long after this story first aired on July 19 a KFOR viewer donated the use of a trailer so Walter could get ‘Few Moon’ to the race track.

He’ll be running his lone horse ‘Few Moon’ sometime shortly after the thoroughbred season begins August 16th.