Day At The Track

Beaver harnesses 8 in $250,000 Championships

05:23 AM 01 Sep 2017 NZST
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Gabbysloosechange Red Storm Fraser Ridge
Gabbysloosechange
Conrad Photo
Red Storm
Photo by Ben Holton of Conrad Photography
Fraser Ridge
Conrad Photo

The old adage 'Busy As A Beaver' certainly applies to one of Ohio's top trotting conditioners, as harness racing trainer Chris Beaver will harness no less than eight diagonally-gaited Standardbreds in a trio of $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes Championships on Saturday night, Sept. 2 at Scioto Downs.

Being involved in the Ohio Sires Stakes is nothing new to the 45-year-old Columbus, Ohio native, who has had multiple champions over the last decade, but this year for certain, Chris Beaver really is a busy guy.

A resident of Radnor, Ohio, where he trains 40+ horses on his home farm, Beaver utilizes his half-mile track, paddocks and Equicisor-traveling to the nearby Delaware County Fairgrounds on occasion to put in some faster miles on his youngsters.

"Our track is nice to get some good work in them, but a lot of times I'll go to Delaware to stretch them out a bit," Beaver explains. "For a mile faster than 2:05, I'll go to Delaware."

A conditioner of 739 winners to date who've earned $14,448,112, Beaver is no slouch in the driving department either with stats of 88-80-83 from 670 starters and $509,429 in career earnings. Last year was his most fruitful ever, as he trained 102 winners, 92 second-place finishers and 44 third-place finishers from 436 starters to $2,204,454 in seasonal earnings.

Yet, despite his success, Beaver is modest, affable and always determined.

"Being in these big races never gets old," he offered. "It's something we all work toward in this business."

As well, Beaver never strays far from the Ohio-based stallion Triumphant Caviar, 4, 1:51.4s ($796,794), a son of SJ's Caviar whom he conditioned to a new world record clocking of 1:54.2 in the $87,000 Old Oaken Bucket at the 2009 Delaware County Fair. The rugged stallion also won a $42,500 Kindergarten Stake that same fall at Lexington's Red Mile before finishing second to Muscle Hill in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Sophomore Trot at Woodbine on Oct. 24, 2009. To date, from three crops of racing age, Triumphant Caviar has produced 89 starters, with 31 timed in 2:00 or better and five clocked in 1:55 or better, with $4,255,645 in total foal earnings.

Beaver trains two of the top fillies in the freshman trotting division-Red Storm and Sesame (pronounced Sesa-MAY) and says the latter is a fast filly who might be even better as a 3-year-old.

"Sesame is good gaited and fast off the gait, and perhaps lacks just a bit of determination at this point to be a really good filly. However, I think she'll become more of a racehorse as she matures," Beaver said. "Red Storm is one of the best fillies in her division, but she drew really badly (post 9, race 2). She has a lot of assets-she's as easy to work with as any horse I've ever laid hands on. Everything has been easy with her-she's good mannered and slick gaited and quick. She doesn't have a lot of downfalls. Maybe there's one or two that can trot faster, but she's pretty close to them."

Red Storm is the $75,800-winning daughter by Stormin Normin, out of the Chip Chip Hooray mare Ms. Pollyanna 3, 1:57.2f ($53,948). She is a half-sister to Moonlight Espoir (by Windsong Espoir) 1:56.1s ($52,209) and to Miss Lorelei (by Break The Bank K) 3, 2:01.2f ($47,983). She was third, then second in the first two legs of the series, then won the third and fourth legs in 1:57 and 1:58.2 respectively for breeder-owner Sandra Burnett of Wilmington, OH.

"Sandra (Burnett) has a pair of mares that are sisters, and Red Storm is out of a sister to Evanora's dam, "Beaver noted. "Evanora (3, 1:56.3h $115,348) was very tough to deal with and Red Storm is exactly the opposite."

Sesame won the first two OSS legs-in 1:59 and 1:58.4-then finished third and second in legs 3 and 4 for Beaver, who owns the Triumphant Caviar lass in partnership with Wilbur Lang of Jamestown, OH. Bred by Jonas Schlabach of Applecreek, OH, Sesame has two wins, two seconds and a third in six starts with a bankroll of $59,001.

Beaver sends out Gabbysloosechange, Chim Swift and Bamaslastchance in the 3-year-old filly trot championship. Gabbysloosechange won the first three OSS legs in 1:57.2, 1:54.4 and 1:58, but finished a disappointing sixth in leg 4.

"She faded a bit in her last start and I think that was due to the track condition," Beaver assessed. "She was wearing flip flops up front all summer and was winning in them up until her last start, so I took them off this week. The top of the track was sliding away a little and she needs a little bit more shoe to be able to get ahold of the track. I put a pair of full swedges on her and she trained well in them, so we'll leave them on for Saturday."

Unraced as a freshman, Gabbysloosechange has earned $99,875 this season from ten starts, with seven wins and one second, recording a mark of 1:54.4h in a June 17 OSS contest at Northfield Park.

"My parents raised and sold her at the Ohio Select Yearling Sale for $20,500," he continued. "She was the first foal out of the mare, and didn't make it to the races as a 2-year-old and my parents were able to get her back after she had been sent to the Amish, and we took her to Florida all winter. She was a little tough to get gaited-as some of the Triumphant Caviar's can be-and I think she just got hung up somewhere along the way as a 2-year-old until she figured things out this winter. She's never been the type to leave the field behind her but she has a strong desire to win."

Beaver, his parents and grandparents owned and bred Gabbysloosechange's dam, Gabby's Creditcard, 4, 1:58.h ($135,694); her grand-dam Lotstoliveupto, 3, 1:56.4M ($147,038); and her great grand-dam, Lookslikenorma, 4, 1:57.3f ($219, 249)

Chim Swift is another daughter by Triumphant Caviar, who won the first OSS leg in 1:57.3, before finishing second, third and seventh in the following legs. She has career earnings of $158,093 with a 2-year-old mark of 1:57.2f and is a full sister to Kestrel 4, 1:52.1f ($391,845), who was the 2015 Ohio 2-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. Chim Swift is co-owned by Beaver and breeder Wilbur Lang.

"She's been slightly disappointing lately and again, I think it comes down to racetrack surface," Beaver said. "I've added grab to her shoes this week. Initially, I had a backward shoe on her to help her roll over and have since changed to a forward shoe. Her last two starts she made breaks early in the mile, and I had to do something because she just hasn't raced to her potential. She's a lot like Seasme-fast off the gait and slick when she stays flat. For awhile, she and Gabbysloosechane were head-to-head as far as training. She's big and strong, and I'm hopeful that this shoeing adjustment will resolve her issues."

Bamaslastchance was purchased by Beaver for $2,700 at the Blooded Horse Sale and has since earned $111,092 for her trainer, who owns the daughter of Iron Duke along with Synerco Ventures, Inc., of Toronto, ON; Steven Zeehandelar of Worthington, OH and Michael Robinson of Lewis Center, OH. She has yet to find the winner's circle in an OSS test this season but has a number of county fair victories on her card.

"I've bought all three foals out of the Kadabra mare (Sweethomeourbama 3, Q2:04.1h $1,238), and they've all been nice horses. The dam crossed well with Iron Duke and her first foal, Sunrise Nibbles 3, 1:57.4h ($223,764), won her OSS Championship as a 2-year-old in 2014," Beaver offered. "Bamaslastchance is the last foal out of the mare. She's a very quick and consistent filly."

In the 3-year-old colt trotting championship, Beaver has three outstanding sons of Triumphant Caviar, including Fraser Ridge, who is the top point-getter in his division-having won legs 1, 2, and 4, with a second-place finish in leg 3. This colt has $245,457 in earnings and sports a career mark of 3, 1:55.1f for Beaver and partners Donald Robinson of Cardington, OH; Robert Mondillo, Delaware, OH; and RBH Ventures, New York, NY. He was bred by Steve Stewart of Paris, KY.

"He's very fast, he's good gaited and is a solid trotter," Beaver explained. "He actually trotted in 1:52.2 in 2016, when he was second to Walner (in the $56,000 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington on Oct. 6, 2016) and if he gets the right kind of trip he can trot very, very fast."

Beaver said Fraser's Ridge's greatest asset-aggressive speed-and can also be difficult to manage at times.

"We've had trouble with him," Beaver admitted. "He can be very aggressive and we've tried to race him most of the year off cover. All winter I trained him on a helmet (behind someone else) and we've tried to race him that way. Once he gets daylight he just wants to go, go, go. All the rigging I use on him is designed to try to relax him and keep control of him."

Always A Good Time won a lone OSS leg (3) with a fifth, third and second-place finish in the other three rounds. Owned by Beaver, James Gallagher, Columbus, OH; Mark Schwartz, Westerville, OH; and Steven Zeehandelar, Worthington, OH; Always A Good Time has $189,137 in his career bankroll and recorded a mark of 3, 1:55.3f in an OSS event on June 19 at Scioto Downs. He was bred by John Carver of Rock Island, IL.

"This horse is very consistent and nice to work around and will become a better racehorse overtime," Beaver noted. "He's a horse that no matter what, he puts out a good performance. He was second in the 2-year-old Championship last year. He's a grinder and is a bit faster than last season and is staked outside of Ohio and should trot some fast miles."

Buckeye Boss also won a lone OSS test for his connections (leg 3), with a seventh, fourth and second-place finish in the other three legs. A winner of $196,610 lifetime for owners Beaver, breeder Marion Beachy, Sugarcreek, OH; and Synerco Ventures, New York, NY, Buckeye Boss took a mark of 1:55.1 at Scioto Downs in a $52,150 Ohio Fair Stake on Aug. 5.

"I thought he'd be the best horse in my barn this year when I he was training down with Moonshine Hanover-who was second in the Breeders Crown last year," Beaver stated. "He was flawless over the winter and I staked him to the Canadian Trotting Classic and Kentucky Futurity and five top-level races after the OSS. He's just felt like the strongest horse to me last winter. When he got back to Ohio he started making breaks and I drove him to try to figure him out. We found he had a knee that was bothering him and have been working all summer at fixing that. I don't know if he's shown us his best yet because we've raced him sparingly to be ready for these big races.

"I always thought he was my best 3-year-old of all of them, but now anyone of the three can do well, especially Fraser Ridge, who has seemed to have hit a new level recently," Beaver added. "All three of these colts are good enough to race well in some of the Grand Circuit races outside of Ohio, as long as they stay healthy and sound."

About the Ohio Sires Stakes: Ohio-breds are made eligible to the four-part series-featuring $40,000 purses per divisional leg-divided by age, gait and gender, by their owners with a March 15 payment.

In 2017, the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund (OSDF) received 1,148 nominations of 2- and 3-year-old foals sired by Ohio-registered pacing and trotting stallions. The most lucrative of any series for Ohio-bred Standardbreds, the Ohio Sires Stakes saw a 6% gain in nominations from 2016 (1,091 nominees) and a 49% increase of 2015 nominations (774).

Horses in the series are awarded points based on where they finish in each of the legs. Accumulated points are totaled after Leg 4, and Championships eligible-youngsters are posted on the Ohio State Racing Commission website (www.racingohio.net).

Post time for the Ohio Sires Stakes Championships is 6:30 pm.

Kimberly Rinker

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