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Palone, Rickert Discusses Caviar Crown

Published: September 9, 2009 12:31 pm ET

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Caviar Crown, a $6,500 yearling purchase described as an overachiever, has attracted a lot of attention as he readies for the $200,000 three-year-old trotting colt and gelding division of the Pennsylvania Championship finals on Saturday, September 12 at Pocono Downs.

There will be four $200,000 Pennsylvania Championship finals for three-year-olds Saturday afternoon. In addition to the championship races, there will be four consolation finals that will have purses of $50,000 each.

Dave Palone, one of the top catch drivers in North America, will be driving Caviar Crown. Palone was in the sulky June 12 at Pocono when the three-year-old SJs Caviar colt established a World Record of 1:53.1 over a five-eighths mile track.

“Caviar Crown is a real nice horse to drive,” Palone said this morning. “The trotter has been a pleasant surprise and an overachiever. He’d rather follow than be on the lead early on. But he can leave the gate well and has a good attitude.”

Palone noted it was a very tough decision to make as to which trotter he was going to drive in this $200,000 final; that’s because he had won with both And Heez Perfect and Triumphant Caviar, two of the other trotters that will be in the Saturday afternoon final.

“I really believe that all three of trotters have equal ability and it will all depend on the posts drawn for the $200,000 race,” said Palone. “This will be the biggest moment for Caviar Crown since he wasn’t staked to any of the other big races this season.”

Kris Rickert, Caviar Crown's 32-year-old trainer, agrees with Palone.

“This is definitely the biggest race I have ever been involved in,” Rickert said. “I never in my life would have dreamt that he would establish a World Record. I’m really looking forward to Saturday afternoon at [Pocono]. My horse has been looking good this week. We swam him a little bit and he’s ready. He’s a real gutsy horse.

“I’d like to see him coming out of a hole in Saturday’s race, but he’s starting to learn on the front end.”

Rickert noted that Caviar Crown was the first-ever yearling purchase made by owner Dale B. Wareham of Fredonia, Pennsylvania. He paid $6,500 at the Morrisville Sale.

“Dale came to our farm and was talking to my parents about purchasing a riding horse,” Rickert noted. “I talked him into getting a race horse.”

And race horse indeed, as Caviar Crown has lifetime earnings of $121,345, six wins, six seconds and two thirds from 15 starts.

Shermans Mountain -- a three-year-old trotting gelding that also established a World Record in those three-year-old trotting colts and gelding races back on June 12 at Pocono -- was tops in the point standings for the sire stakes leading up to the championship finals. Shermans Mountain, trained by Chris Oakes, had 110 points to Caviar Crowns 103.

But Shermans Mountain injured himself on the farm a few days after the race and will not be in Saturday’s $200,000 final.

“He hurt his leg and it was just one of those tough luck deals,” said Oakes, leading trainer at Pocono. “I could have patched him up but I didn’t want to push the envelope. He’s just too good of a horse and will be back in 2010.”

(With files from Pocono)

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