Vienna, VA — Caviart Ally, 2019 Breeders Crown mare pace champion and O’Brien Award finalist, will return to racing this year and is being pointed to the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, according to her owners Buck and Judy Chaffee of Caviart Farms.
The lucrative Matchmaker series is expected to begin in mid-March at Yonkers Raceway.
“A lot of Caviart Ally’s fans have been asking us whether Ally will race again this year,” said Buck. “Our entire Caviart Farms team actually spent a couple of months debating what to do. We had been thinking seriously about retiring Ally to breed her to Captain Crunch, 2019 North America Cup winner and 2018 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. We are among his original owners and think that he has a great chance of mirroring his own sire’s (Captaintreacherous) phenomenal breeding success – so we rather wanted Ally to have a foal in his very first crop.”
However, as the racing season progressed, the Chaffees said that they began to question the wisdom of retiring her.
“Throughout Ally’s career, she has always been competitive at the very top level so it was not simply that she was racing well,” explained Judy. “What really stopped us in our tracks and caused us to rethink our strategy was that she was actually still improving, getting stronger and getting better – plus she really seemed to be enjoying racing. In the fall Ally stepped right up and won all of her final four stakes races – the Milton, the Allerage Farms, the Breeders Crown and the TVG. In fact, Ally actually took stakes records in both the Milton and TVG – and defeated the highly regarded Shartin N in their final three stakes competitions. It was a great season for Ally. She really was incredible!”
Caviart Ally’s trainer Brett Pelling also let it be known that he hoped that Ally would race again in 2020. “I hope so,” he responded when asked in an interview following the mare’s win of the $175,000 TVG final. “It’d be a shame not to. She’s at the top of her game, and we get along so well. I’d hate not to see her in the stall.”
The trainer was also the first to bring up the subject of the Matchmaker series, Buck revealed, explaining, “Brett called us and said that he thought the Matchmaker would be a perfect fit for her. He totally believes in Ally, repeated how all season she kept improving and told us that he would have her ready in time for the Matchmaker. In fact, he even went so far as to say that he thought that she might well dominate the entire series.”
In addition to the positive comments of Ally’s trainer, the Chaffee’s also took to heart the sentiments of Caviart Ally’s career-long driver, Andy McCarthy. “Even though Andy never tried to steer us in one direction or the other,” explained Judy, “he did detail how good it feels when he and Ally step onto the track. He said that there is a certain aura about Ally, called her one of the greats – and he said how wonderful it is when you can rely on a horse giving you 110% every time.
“When thinking about the positive comments from both Brett and Andy, along with the grand fashion in which Ally ended the season, we couldn’t help but feel that all of the signals were that Ally should race another year. Right from the very beginning, when Ally was a two-year-old, I always said that when she was ready to stop racing, she would let us know. Mares have a way of doing that. And at this point in time it really seems that Ally still enjoys racing.”
With the now six-year-old Caviart Ally back in training, Chaffees say they are feeling very excited.
“Brett is so high on Ally that I guess his enthusiasm is pretty infectious,” laughed Buck, “because now we can hardly wait for her season to begin. We are feeling very positive and excited!”
During 2019 Caviart Ally escalated her earnings by $760,000 to $1.8 million – and was never worse than third in 19 starts. She was second by record among aged pacing mares and third by earnings.