As the grandson of Racing Hall of Fame trainer John Gaver and the son of noted trainer John “Jack” Gaver, both of whom were associated with Greentree Stable, John M. Gaver III would seem destined to be a successful trainer.
“It is a big name to live up to, but I never really thought of it as a burden,” said the younger Gaver, 40. “It’s a motivation.”
“He’s bred more for the turf, but he seemed to take a liking to the Polytrack,” Gaver said about Borobudur, who is a half brother to champion sprinter Aldebaran and has a female family full of accomplished horses. “We’re taking a shot (in the Fayette), that’s for sure. He’s stepping up in class. He’s a deep closer who’ll need some racing luck for things to go his way. He’ll need some pace to run down.”
Born in Aiken, South Carolina, Gaver was raised in Lexington and has an English degree from the University of Kentucky. He worked for Daily Racing Form, mostly as a handicapper and writer, and later for Churchill Downs, spending mornings working for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and the rest of the day working on the track’s website. He also credited his cousin Mike Bell with helping him further his racing education.
Gaver said he had decided that before he got too old, he wanted to train racehorses. He launched his training career in November 2007 at Turfway Park and has 10 horses at Keeneland.
Gaver, who uses the brown and yellow colors of his father, credits his grandfather, a noted perfectionist, with his work ethic. He never tires of hearing stories about the two men who were such an influence on Thoroughbred racing.
“My grandfather, especially, and my father to a certain degree had a lasting impression on the game,” Gaver said. “It’s nice to hear people talk about the old days like that. People have been really supportive of me.”
KEENELAND CHANGES FIRST POST ON SATURDAY TO 12:55 P.M.
Keeneland has changed the post time for its first live race on closing day, Saturday, October 25, to 12:55 p.m. ET, 15 minutes earlier than previously scheduled.
Keeneland will run seven live races on Saturday, closing with the $150,000 Fayette (G3), a 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-olds and older horses. Post time for the Fayette is 4:50 p.m.
Keeneland will simulcast the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on both Friday and Saturday. The first Breeders’ Cup race will go off at 3:35 p.m. on Friday and at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday.
Advance wagering will be available on Friday for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup card. Post time for the first of Keeneland’s nine live races on Friday is 1:10 p.m.
Drive-thru wagering will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Wagering also will be available at the tent near the Gatehouse.
On Saturday, Keeneland will show the UK - Florida football game on the infield LED board and on monitors throughout the track. The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m.
KEENELAND HOLDS PINK DAY ON FRIDAY
On Friday, fans are encouraged to wear pink to Keeneland for Pink Day to benefit two organizations devoted to breast cancer awareness and treatment. Meanwhile, the first 1,000 women with paid admission will receive a pink fleece scarf.
Pink Day is in conjunction with the all-female card of racing during the first day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita. The event benefits Horses and Hope, an initiative of First Lady Jane Beshear that is centered on the women who work in the barn areas of Kentucky tracks, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the noted national organization. Representatives of Komen for the Cure, a supporter of Horses and Hope, will also be on hand to promote breast cancer awareness.
Other Pink Day activities include:
The Horses and Hope, the fifth race for fillies and mares to be run at 3:15 p.m. Racehorses will wear pink Horses and Hope saddle towels, while the jockeys will wear pink armbands and helmet covers. Beshear will present a julep cup and a Horses and Hope blanket to the winning owner.
Turf Catering will sell pink jockey cookies and hot chocolate with pink marshmallows in the paddock. Proceeds from snack sales will benefit Horses and Hope.
Ladies’ Only Pick the Ponies Wagering Contest, benefiting Horses and Hope, will take place in the paddock area. Women will make a mythical $2 across-the-board wager on one horse only in Keeneland Races 4 – 9. Prizes will b awarded for first, second and third place and will include deluxe gift baskets from The Keeneland Shop and an overnight stay and spa package from the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa in Lexington.
Established this year, Horses and Hope is initially focused on and outreach, enabling women – many of whom are underinsured or do not have insurance -- to receive free breast-cancer screenings.
DUNCAN WINS FINAL FALL FORMULATOR HANDICAPPING CONTEST
Jason Duncan, one of Keeneland’s top handicapping contest players, wagered on longshot winner Romin Robin in the fifth race on Wednesday and then coasted to victory in the final Formulator Handicapping Contest of the fall meeting. The Lexington resident posted a final tally of $121 and took home the $1,250 winner’s share of the $2,510 purse.
Duncan, who describes himself as a visual handicapper, said Romin Robin, “looked best in the paddock by far.”
William Rogers of Stanton, Kentucky, finished second with a score of $106 and earned $550 for his afternoon’s work. Jackie Catron, a loyal Keeneland simulcast patron, finished third with $98.40 and picked up $250. Cash prizes were paid to the top 10 finishers.
“It was great to have some of our regular players do well in the final contest before Keeneland’s Tournament of Champions,” said contest coordinator Jude Feld. “There were several on the verge of qualifying for that contest, which rewards players who do well in the any of the handicapping contests we conduct on Kentucky racing. Two trips to the $1 Million Coast Casinos Horseplayer World Series are well worth playing for.”
The Tournament of Champions will be held at Keeneland on Saturday, November 22.
CLOSING WEEK SPECIAL EVENTS
Saturday, October 25 – Breakfast With the Works – Bring the family out for Breakfast With the Works, from 7 – 8:30 a.m. Enjoy a Southern-style breakfast and free children’s activities. This Saturday, Asbury Equine will give a demonstration in the paddock at 8:45 a.m.
Saturday, October 25 — Handicapping Seminar – Listen to expert handicappers trackside each Saturday during the meet, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
2008 KEENELAND FALL MEET LEADERS
(Stats Through Wednesday, October 22)
Current Meet Leading Jockeys
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Robby Albarado 104 22 19 20 $1,760,622
Julien Leparoux 111 19 14 8 $1,151,097
Kent Desormeaux 55 9 6 5 $820,342
Jesus Castanon 78 8 10 4 $276,511
John Velazquez 34 8 3 5 $818,162
Rene Douglas 91 7 9 12 $483,783
Miguel Mena 96 6 16 9 $353,362
Jamie Theriot 79 6 9 10 $562,614
Calvin Borel 76 6 7 6 $345,020
Shaun Bridgmohan 66 6 1 9 $238,137
Current Meet Leading Trainers
Name Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Purses
Ken McPeek 36 7 4 4 $521,198
Michael Maker 33 7 3 3 $160,360
Albert Stall Jr. 15 5 5 1 $279,543
Bill Mott 29 5 3 4 $327,237
Ian Wilkes 16 5 1 3 $149,647
Kiaran McLaughlin 17 4 3 1 $594,822
Tom Proctor 24 3 3 2 $186,774
Robert Holthus 13 3 3 2 $ 98,951
Jonathan Sheppard 9 3 2 0 $508,523
Todd Pletcher 38 3 1 4 $294,423
Current Meet Leading Owners
Ken & Sarah Ramsey 6
Adele B. Dilschneider & Claiborne Farm 4
Augustin Stable 3
Zayat Stables LLC 3
Glen Hill Farm 2
B. Wayne Hughes 2
Lewis G. Lakin 2
A. Stevens Miles Jr. 2
Carl R. Moore Management LLC 2
Pin Oak Stable LLC 2
David A. Ross 2
Shadwell Stable 2