Washington, PA — Since its debut in 1975, the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters has produced more than its share of history. For example, Steve Lobell (1976), Green Speed (1977), Duenna (1983), American Winner (1993) and Vivid Photo (2005) used the stake as a stepping stone to Hambletonian triumphs.
Few have contributed as much to that rich legacy as trainer Chris Beaver. He won the 2017 Currier & Ives with Fraser Ridge, took a 2009 elimination with Triumphant Caviar and captured a 2014 division with Il Sogno Dream, whose winning time of 1:53.2 still stands as the stakes record (although it was matched last year by the filly Sister Sledge).
On Saturday at The Meadows, Beaver will attempt to make more Currier & Ives history when he sends out a trio of promising trotters in the $99,370 stake. The Currier & Ives goes as race five, with first post at 12:45 p.m.
Perhaps the best of Beaver’s sophomore trotters is Winning Ticket — a son of Triumphant Caviar who is undefeated this year — but wasn’t staked heavily before arriving at the trainer’s barn and thus isn’t Currier & Ives eligible.
But Beaver says any of the others is fully capable of winning. Here’s his assessment of his three hopefuls:
Panzano (Aaron Merriman, post six). Of the trio, this gelded son of Coraggioso-Grace N Charlie is the “now” horse, entering Saturday’s action off a win in an Ohio Sires Stake leg. He finished second in the Scarlet & Gray and the Hackett Memorial and has banked $139,724 for his career.
“He’s a real professional, gives you a good effort every time. He doesn’t make mistakes, and he does exactly what the driver wants him to do. I think he’s the second best in Ohio, but stepping up to the Grand Circuit, he’ll need a good trip.”
Perron (Ronnie Wrenn Jr., post four). He’s the reigning Ohio Sires Stakes champion his $222,704 bankroll reflects that, but the My MVP-Long Island Tea gelding is winless in five outings this year and enters the Currier & Ives off two tepid efforts.
“In his last race in an Ohio Sires Stake, he got behind a horse who was gapping badly, but he still came home in :27.4. He has speed, but he’s not super-quick. I suspect he’ll put in some good miles this year, but he’ll have to tough them out on the outside. It isn’t that he’s weak or tired; he’s just not handy.”
Kildare King (Dave Palone, post five). A gelded son of Trixton-Exclusivity, he hit the board in a pair of New Jersey Sires Stakes this year but got stuck with post nine in the final and couldn’t overcome it. In his 10th career start, he’s still seeking his first stakes victory.
“I always thought he was the best I had last year, but he suffered a foot abscess and developed some bad habits. He was perfect training down this year, but as soon as I brought him North, he started running again. Of the three, he has the best chance of going a big mile.”