By Evan Pattak For The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association “Horsemen Helping Horsemen”

Image-Pizzelle winning last year’s $428,000 Goldsmith Maid at the Meadowlands. Photos courtesy of USTA.

Pizzelle, winner of last year’s $428,000 Goldsmith Maid for freshman filly trotters, headlines the field for Friday’s $52,355 Currier & Ives Filly Division at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. First post is 5:10 PM, with the Currier & Ives going as race 6. The Currier & Ives Open division is set for Saturday, June 15.

Pizzelle banked $322,850 at 2 with a mark of 1:53.2, but trainer Chris Beaver still isn’t sure what exactly he has.

“She’s probably the most talented horse I’ve laid hands on,” Beaver said of the daughter of Walner-Biscotti. “She’s not necessarily the fastest, but with her natural ability, she’s like a different breed.

“One problem I had with her last year— as talented as she is, she couldn’t take hard trips. After she got roughed up, I had to turn her out for a couple weeks to get her attitude back. She’s more interested in her work this year, but we don’t know what she can do yet. She hasn’t been tested against really good 3-year-olds, but as far as I can tell, everything is there.”

A $65,000 yearling acquisition for Beaver and Donald Robinson, Pizzelle is eligible to all the big stakes, including the Hambletonian Oaks. Still, Beaver is trying to pick his spots for her. For example, although she’s dually eligible in New Jersey and Kentucky, Beaver skipped the New Jersey Sires Stake series so he wouldn’t overwork or over-ship her early in the season. Pizzelle goes from post 6 with Tyler Smith up.

If Pizzelle does get roughed up, Beaver has another Currier & Ives possibility — that’s her name, actually, Possibility, a daughter of What The Hill-Market Rally who’s done well in her own right, with $123,360 on her card. Beaver is more cautious about the $95,000 yearling purchase he owns with Bill Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Mark Moger. “She hasn’t really fired this year like she did last year,” he says. “Her stakes are in Ohio for the most part, and she’ll probably go into the stallion series.” Aaron Merriman pilots her from post 1.

In this, the 50th edition of the Currier & Ives, it’s fitting that Beaver has a pair of the leading contenders, as few, if any trainers, have enjoyed as much success in this historic stake — in both the Open and Filly divisions. In 2014, he sent out Il Sogno Dream, who triumphed in 1:53.2, still the stake record. Triumphant Caviar won for Beaver in 2009.

Beaver’s other Currier & Ives winners include To B Mz America (2002); Fraser Ridge (2017), Keystone Abbey (2019); Perron (2021) and Caviar Gold (2022). Beaver modestly calls his success a numbers game.

“It’s close to home, so I’ve staked a lot of horses to the Currier & Ives. A lot of times, you can avoid some of the top horses because there are so many other things going on.”

If Beaver’s Currier & Ives success is indeed a numbers game, it looks like the numbers are with him again.

The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen.

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