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Connections enjoy success with first crop offspring of Triumphant Caviar
Friday, December 11, 2015 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- Wilbur Lang and Chris Beaver are happy with the performances of the filly Kestrel and the colt Kanthaka, who earned $191,650 and $140,814, respectively, during their recently concluded freshman campaigns. Both are from the first crop of trotting stallion Triumphant Caviar.

Although his name may not immediately leap to mind when discussing Ohio trotting stallions, world champion Triumphant Caviar is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Buckeye State. From his first crop, 31 of 41 registered foals have started and collected $827,706. He ranks 11th in earnings amongst all North American stallions as a sire of 2-year-old trotters and ranks fifth on the list of average earnings per foal in 2015 ($20,102) for the same age group.

“We are very, very pleased with how he has performed as a stud,” said Lang, a member of the stallion’s syndication group. “He has more than exceeded our expectations and he really seems to improve his mares. I bred all four of mine to him and all four of the foals were very nice.”

Triumphant Caviar, the third wealthiest son of SJ’s Caviar, earned $796,794 from 16 triumphs on the racetrack. He is out of the Tagliabue mare ENS Tag Session, which makes him a half-brother to Kentucky Sire Stakes champion Prayer Session (Like A Prayer) 3,1:53.2 ($678,401) and Theatrical Session (Broadway Hall) 3,1:55.3f ($160,879). He is a full brother to world champion Centurion ATM 2,1:53.2 ($437,462).

New Image Media photo
Triumphant Caviar earned $796,794 from 16 triumphs on the racetrack.

The stallion, who stands at Abby Stables, was a $13,000 yearling purchase at the 2007 Standardbred Horse Sale for Kerry Beaver, James Gallagher, Luc Ouellette and Paul Bernard. Conditioned by Chris Beaver, Triumphant Caviar was fourth in the Breeders Crown at age two and amassed more than $127,000. As a 3-year-old he was second to Muscle Hill in his Hambletonian elimination, captured the Old Oaken Bucket in a world record of 1:54.2 and was second in the Breeders Crown final to Muscle Hill. Racing as a 4- and 5-year-old, Triumphant Caviar banked more than $300,000 and lowered his mark to 1:51.4s.

He didn’t exactly knock his trainer off his feet when he first began to train down, but Triumphant Caviar showed his trainer he had high speed.

“He was rough gaited when we first started working with him,” Beaver said. “Once we got him down to a certain speed though he became very nicely gaited, had another gear and really cleaned everything up. His career statistics are a bit deceiving because he had some minor issues when the big money was on the line as a 2- and 3-year-old. At 2 it was foot abscesses in the summer and fall, while at 3, he was very good for the Hambletonian. After the elimination we think he was bitten by a bug and had an allergic reaction while he was in New Jersey. He was no good for the final and it took him some time to overcome it. That is when he bounced back at Delaware with his world record and he was second in the Breeders Crown. There were times he simply could not show his best.”

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Kestrel won six of her seven starts as a freshman and earned $191,650.

It appears Triumphant Caviar may now have the opportunity to shine in his second career. His two top progeny so far are Kestrel and Kanthaka.

Kestrel was a nose away from being a perfect 7-for-7, while Kanthaka established a new track record for his age, gender and gait at Northfield Park (1:58) on July 24. He then lowered it to 1:57.1 on August 21. The colt continued to exhibit his talent when he set another track record of 1:57.1 at Scioto Downs on Sept. 5 in Ohio Sire Stakes competition. Both 2-year-olds are co-owned by Lang and Beaver with the latter in charge of training duties.

“As I said I bred all four of my mares to Triumphant Caviar to show my support of him,” Lang said. “We sold one of them and kept three, Kestrel, Kanthaka and Soft Power. Elena, Kanthaka’s dam and Honey Thorn, Soft Power’s dam, both raced for us. They were and are very nice mares. Blackrock (Kestrel's dam) did not race (for us) and was purchased by us, but she is a nice mare also. Kestrel was her first foal.

We liked all of them right from the beginning. Kestrel was actually a demon to break, while Kanthaka and Soft Power were both good right from the start.”

Despite Kestrel’s juvenile attitude when it came to being harnessed, she turned into a push button filly when it was time to compete. It required a picture perfect drive by Kurt Sugg with Count On Kami to nip her at the wire in the $225,000 Ohio Sire Stakes final. She rebounded with a decisive win in a division of the Ohio Breeders Championship on Jugette Day.

“She has been a dream to drive all season,” Aaron Merriman, her regular pilot, said that day. “She is a pleasure and does everything we ever ask of her.”

Beaver concurs with his assessment, but also acknowledges Kestrel remains tough to handle in the barn.

“She doesn’t really like people and she doesn’t really like anything done to her,” he said. “It took us a long time of working with her every day to get her broken. Even then she got so irritated with us she kicked the stall door down and nearly took my wife’s head off. I think she is so good when she’s on the race track because no one is bothering her. She is all by herself and can do her own thing.”

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Kanthaka set a trio of track records during his freshman campaign.

Kanthaka, despite six consecutive victories and three track records to begin his career, did not finish his season as strongly as his connections hoped. He was third in the Sire Stakes final, fourth in his division of the Ohio Breeders Championship and fourth in his division of the Bluegrass Stakes in Lexington.

“We had a little problem with a testicle that was twisting on him, but we got that straightened out,” Beaver said. “It just seemed after he set that track record at Scioto he didn’t come back the same horse. He was very, very far off the pace when he had never been in that position before, so it was a huge effort for him to come and win that race. Especially for a 2-year-old.”

Both horses are turned out with Lang but will resume training at Beaver’s Delaware base after their third birthdays.

“Kanthaka has come back to himself with the time off,” Lang said. “Kestrel is doing fine as well. We are going to try them in some Grand Circuit Stakes next year. The story here is not really with either horse though. It is all about Triumphant Caviar. It is not only what these two horses have done, but his entire first crop. It is impossible not to be impressed by those statistics. They speak for themselves.”

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