Hightstown, NJ — Caviart Ally finished last season with a flourish and owner Buck Chaffee hopes his mare can continue her winning ways when her 2020 campaign begins Friday (March 6) at The Meadowlands.
A 6-year-old pacer, Caviart Ally closed last season by winning four of her final five races, with three of the victories coming over eventual Horse of the Year honoree Shartin N. Caviart Ally’s triumphs during that stretch came in the TVG Series championship for older female pacers, Breeders Crown, Allerage, and Milton.
She makes her seasonal debut in Friday’s $30,000 preferred for fillies and mares at The Big M, where she is the 3-1 morning-line favorite from post eight in a field of eight. She prepped for the start with two qualifiers, winning the second this past weekend in 1:52.3 with regular driver Andy McCarthy.
“We’re very hopeful she can pick up where she left off,” said Chaffee, who owns Caviart Ally with his wife Judy under the Caviart Farms stable banner. “Andy said that when he qualified her, he didn’t even ask her to go, she just wanted to go by herself. That’s been the way she’s been pretty much all along. She just really tries and wants to do it.
“Physically, I always thought she looked like a linebacker. And she’s always had that desire, which I think has been a real plus for her.”
Caviart Ally, by Bettor’s Delight out of Allamerican Cool, has won 25 of 72 career races and $1.82 million. She was trained by Noel Daley at ages 2 through 4 before heading to Brett Pelling’s stable when Daley took a year in Australia. Pelling believes he has a good understanding of Caviart Ally as she begins her second season with him.
“I brought her back a little different than last year,” Pelling said. “I think she’s one of those mares that likes you to push the buttons and likes to work. If you let her have a bit of a vacation, it rears up in your face. She really showed us that. I’ve got a pretty good handle now on everything that makes her tick.”
Following this week’s start, Caviart Ally will head to the six-week Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. It will be the mare’s first appearance in the Matchmaker, which has been won each of the past two years by Shartin N.
“She’s 6 now, so there is no (concern about the) age thing,” Pelling said. “There’s no hiding from anyone. That’s why we’re in the Matchmaker. She’s 6 and she’s here to go race.”
Caviart Ally and Shartin N finished 1-2 in eight races last year, with Shartin N winning five. The emergence of their rivalry, which produced memorable finishes in the Betsy Ross and TVG final, was a big reason the Chaffees decided to race again this season rather than send Caviart Ally to motherhood. Shartin N got her season off to a winning start Wednesday with a 1:50 score in the fillies-and-mares invitational at Dover Downs.
“I think it’s great,” Buck Chaffee said. “We had always said we were going to quit with her and breed her, that’s always been our plan. But when she raced so good at the end of the year and that rivalry really kicked in, we decided that we had to bring her back. The sport needs rivalry. I think it’s exciting. Hopefully it’s the right decision.”
Racing begins at 6:55 p.m. (EST) Friday at The Meadowlands. The fillies-and-mares preferred is race four. For the night’s complete entries, click here.