Churchill Downs’ News Stand: Beverly Park Out For Another Stroll in Claiming Crown

From the KY HBPA Media Team / Jennie Rees:

Express: Beverly Park seeks 13th win in 26th start in 2022
 For those lamenting that horses today don’t run enough, meet Beverly Park.
If ever there was a horse that the Claiming Crown was meant to showcase it’s the 5-year-old Beverly Park, who runs in the $100,000 Claiming Crown Ready’s Rocket Express in Saturday’s eighth race at Churchill Downs.
Blue collar? Check. Work horse? Check. Helping to fill America’s racing cards? Check. Iron horse? Are you kidding me?
Beverly Park has raced 25 times in 2022, winning 12 with five seconds and three thirds. Those dozen victories are the most in North America, four more than the four horses in second at eight apiece. He has raced at 14 tracks this year alone. For his career, Beverly Park is 22-6-4 in 44 starts, earning $490,930.
“He’s just a blue-collar horse. He’s a tank,” said owner-trainer Norman L. Cash, who goes by his middle name of Lynn. “If you leave him in the stall, he’s mad. He just wants to get out and go. He’s the most healthy horse I’ve been around or seen. I think he won once on four days rest and a couple of times on five. Granted those were softer spots, but he puts it out there every time. With a couple of exceptions, he’s always right there.
“He’s just an amazing animal.”
The six-furlong Ready’s Rocket Express is for horses that have run for a claiming price of $8,000 or cheaper at any time in their career. The Express is one of eight Claiming Crown races, which are at Churchill Downs for the first time. The series is a production of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (NHBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), with Churchill Downs and the Kentucky HBPA the hosts.
Cash — who only began training in the spring of 2021 and campaigns his horses with wife Lola in the name of Built Wright Stables — claimed Beverly Park on Aug. 5, 2021, out of a “non-winners of three” lifetime race with a $12,500 claiming tag. The horse’s win that day proved the second of eight straight and nine out of 10 for last season.
Beverly Park clearly has thrived in Cash’s care. Only once has the horse been worse than fourth, and that came at Turfway Park in his only race over a synthetic surface. He comes into the Claiming Crown nine days after winning a seven-furlong $5,000 starter-allowance race at Charles Town in West Virginia by 4 1/4 lengths in a field of eight. Nineteen days before that, he narrowly lost a $20,000 starter race at Keeneland, which came three weeks after he won just such a race at Churchill Downs.
Beverly Park has never competed in a stakes race, and that doesn’t change Saturday with the Claiming Crown staged as big-money starter-allowance races rather than stakes. But Cash has stakes horses in his stable of about 50 based at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and Maryland’s Laurel Park. Double Crown recently won New York’s $300,000, Grade 2 Kelso at 42-1 odds in his 12th start of the year. Sir Alfred James is a multiple stakes winner who was fourth in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes won by champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior on the Kentucky Derby card.
“If I could put the perfect on the perfect date for every horse I have, every race would probably be 11 or 12 days apart,” Cash said. “I just believe you can get 95 to 97 percent of what the horse has on 10 to 12 days rest. I just won a Grade 2 on seven days rest with Double Crown, the first graded stakes I’d won…. If I have to choose between nine and 19 days, I’d choose nine every time. Every horse, every time.”
Cash’s other career is as a roofing contractor that goes into underserved regions following hail storms, a business he said is now run by his sons. The family was working in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2021 and on a whim they came to Churchill Downs and saw I’ll Have Another’s Derby victory.
“We’d never been on this side of the country,” Cash said. “We thought, ‘Wow, we can just drive to the Kentucky Derby. How exciting.’ Then it came out that I’ll Have Another was bought at auction for $35,000. I said, ‘You know, we’ve got 35 grand. Let’s buy a racehorse! How fun would that be?’”
He and his wife owned a handful of horses for several years before Cash decided he wanted to train his own claiming operation. He prepared by working for Kellyn Gorder, who was training the Cashes’ horses, before taking out a couple of loans and going it alone in the middle of the COVID outbreak.
Does he ever think that he could just be repairing roofs and not have to worry about a horse getting in a race or spiking a temperature or the races not going?
“I’ve made the statement before: the worst day at the track is better than any day on the roof,” Cash said with a laugh. “This racing horses just pulls you in.”
Beverly Park is not an automatic single in the Ready’s Rocket Express, for those playing multi-race wagers. He’s the tepid 7-2 favorite in a capacity field of 12 that includes 4-1 co-second choices Silver Moon Road, winner of five straight in Indiana and New Jersey shipper Powerfully Built, who earned a 102 Bris speed figure in his last start. Also in the race is Belterra Park-based Joyful Heart, an 11-time career winner who beat Beverly Park in July.
“I don’t know if we’ll win; I hope we do,” Cash said. “And I don’t know that I deserve to win. But that horse deserves to be the Claiming Crown winner. He’s a fan favorite and a blue-collar worker. He just goes to work every time.”
Above: Beverly Park winning June 18 at Churchill Downs. At right: Owner-trainer Norman “Lynn” Cash. Coady Photography photos
Bad Beat Brian seeks CC repeat after missing out on Breeders’ Cup
(Bad Beat Brian this summer at Ellis Park/Jennie Rees photo)
Trainer Brittany Vanden Berg really, really wanted to get Bad Beat Brian in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last Saturday at Keeneland. The 5-year-old gelding had finished fourth — losing by only a total of two lengths — to international star and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner Golden Pal in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Woodford in early October. But a stumble at the start of the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint might have been the difference between Bad Beat Brian being selected for the Breeders’ Cup and not.
“He broke so fast, the ground just kind of came away from him and he stumbled,” Vanden Berg said. “It put him in a spot where he had to check behind a couple of horses, and he still came running. He showed us a lot of heart there. We felt we were part of that company in there, with Golden Pal the favorite and only getting beat two lengths and not having the best trip.”
So Vanden Berg’s Plan B is the Claiming Crown’s $150,000 Tom Metzen Canterbury Memorial at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2021-2022. Bad Beat Brian won the race last year for trainer Mike Maker, the Claiming Crown’s all-time win leader at 19.
Vanden Berg claimed Bad Beat Brian for $40,000 at Ellis Park on behalf of owner Marsico Brothers Racing. In three starts for his new owners, Bad Beat Brian was third by a total of three-quarters of a length in a $100,000 stakes at Ellis Park and won an allowance race with an $80,000 claiming option at Kentucky Downs before the Woodford.
“I have a lot of confidence in this horse,” said Vanden Berg, who presently is based at Chicago’s Hawthorne Race Course after spending the summer at Ellis Park for the first time. “Right now he’s peaking. Every single race, he’s getting a little better, a little better. Training him, he just feels on top of the world.”
As she looks forward to being in the Claiming Crown for the first time, Vanden Berg admits being concerned about Friday’s light rain and if the chance for more Saturday morning could force the stakes off the turf. She said she’ll scratch if that’s the case. But in the meantime, Bad Beat Brian is the 5-2 favorite in the field of 11.
“He’s going to face a lot of tests (Saturday), and we’ll just see if he can step up to the plate,” she said.
Claiming Crown big deal whether you’re a G1 winner like Kenneally
or a small outfit like Mid-Atlantic-based Ron and Jack Abrams
As with the Breeders’ Cup, on which it’s loosely patterned, the Claiming Crown brings together horsemen from all over and different backgrounds.
Among the hometown team will be trainer Eddie Kenneally, who had the Claiming Crown Emerald on turf in the back of his mind when he claimed the 7-year-old gelding Carom for $25,000 last March at Turfway Park. But Saturday’s $150,000 race at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs will be only his second start with Carom and his first on grass. In his one start so far for his new barn, Carom finished fourth in a $32,000 claiming race on dirt at Keeneland.
“He was ready to run and there was no place for him to run at Keeneland on grass,” said Kenneally, who owns Carom with Matthew Warnock. “So I ran him on the main track, trying to get him ready for the Claiming Crown. He has back class. We had to put him on the shelf, because he needed some time (after being claimed). He ran OK on the dirt at Keeneland, but he’s a grass horse.”
Kenneally is in the Claiming Crown one week after running Shoplifter in the $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland. He applauds the Claiming Crown concept – and also having it at Churchill Downs for the first time.
While the purses for the eight races at Churchill Downs are significantly higher than a year ago at Gulfstream Park, Kenneally sees the potential for even more growth for the event.
“It’s an opportunity for those horses not stabled in Kentucky to come in and run for a good purse,” Kenneally said. “Some of these horses running in Kentucky already are running for good purses. So we’d like to see the Claiming Crown take off and maybe offer even larger purses going forward. It’s good to have it here, for sure. The fields are pretty full, so that shows it’s working. The Midwest is more central to more people. I think this would be a nice permanent place for it, frankly.”
Kenneally is a long-time staple in Kentucky, a multiple Grade 1 winner and Breeders’ Cup veteran. For the father-son training team of Ron and Jack Abrams, Saturday is their Breeders’ Cup.
Based at Monmouth Park and Parx much of the year and in Florida for the winter, the Abrams keep about a dozen horses, most of which they own. Two are at Churchill Downs with Starship Mallomar in the $150,000 Tiara for fillies and mares on turf and Powerfully Built in the $100,000 Ready’s Rocket Express at six furlongs.
One sign the horses are live in their races: Tyler Gaffalione, who has dominated Churchill Downs’ riding standings in recent years, will be aboard both.
The Abramses claimed Starship Mallomar for $20,000 in January at Gulfstream Park.
“Ever since we put blinkers on her, she really hasn’t run a bad race,” Jack Abrams said. “It took us a little bit to get going with her. When we brought her back north at Monmouth, she was running really well in the (second-level allowance), and she won that. She went to the Belmont meet at Aqueduct and finished a really good third. It was like the best race of her life, and now we’re here.”
Powerfully Built is the 4-1 co-second choice in the Express behind 5-2 favorite Beverly Park, a 12-time in 2022. A $16,000 claim the prior race, Powerfully Built won his only start for the Abramses on Sept. 28 at Delaware, earning a career-best 102 Bris speed figure.
“We got pretty lucky with Powerfully Built and won a seven-way ‘shake’ for him,” Jack Abrams said. “When we ran him back, he ran great, in 1:09 flat. So both are coming in with pretty good form.”
The younger Abrams said it was those last races that convinced them to come to the Claiming Crown.
“They really showed they could have a good chance in here,” he said. “This is our first time (in the Claiming Crown). We’re a pretty small stable, so it’s a huge accomplishment for us to even be here. We only have like 12 horses, so we’re happy to be here.
“It’s great. It gives claiming guys like us a chance at nice purses. This is my first time at Churchill Downs. It’s pretty amazing.”
Carom with Hannah Sandwick, an exercise rider for trainer Eddie Kenneallly. (Gwen David/Davis Innovation)
Jack Abrams with Powerfully Built. (Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation)
2022-11-11T14:00:57-05:00By |

About the Author:

Our staff keeps you on top of breaking news, analysis and opinion in the Thoroughbred industry.

Leave A Comment

Go to Top