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

Entering the Currier & Ives, a number of factors marked Spaaaanzano as the horse to beat.  For one, he’d already banked $372,150 in his career. For another, he’d recently taken the $100,000 Battle of Bunker Hill at Plainridge and finished second in a pair of Ohio Sire Stakes. Perhaps most importantly, he’s trained by Chris Beaver, who owns the Coraggioso-Grace N Charlie gelding with Spaaaartners, Bill Manes and Leo Fleming.

Since 2002, Beaver had won the Currier & Ives — counting filly and open divisions — seven times. While he didn’t claim ownership of the event on Saturday, he certainly extended the lease. Once Aaron Merriman put Spaaaanzano on top, he had only to deflect the mild first-up challenge of Reggianito, who ultimately broke stride, and cruise home under wraps by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:53.3. Memorynimagination and Bird And Grenade rounded out the ticket.

“I was 100 percent under wraps,” Merriman confirmed. “I know Chris won’t over-race him, but I think he’ll give this guy some opportunities against Grand Circuit horses. This horse has done everything that’s been asked of him.”

Merriman also offered some insight into the colt’s name and why it contains four consecutive a’s. “They knew I’d be driving him, and my name starts with two a’s,” he said. “They wanted two a’s for him, and they just combined them.” Hmmm.

In Saturday’s $19,200 Open Handicap Trot. Tequila Talkin survived a surprising first-over bid from long shot Guido Di and notched his third straight victory, edging Guido Di by a nose in 1:53.1, with early leader Emerald’s Legacy third. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. piloted the 9-year-old Cantab Hall-Margarita Nights gelding, who vaulted over $600,000 in lifetime earnings, for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC.

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.


Dave Palone and Wrenn each collected four wins on the 13-race card while Merriman enjoyed a triple.

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