"I’ve had a lot of offers to buy him, but I’ve always had the feeling he’s a pretty decent horse if he gets it together."
Caviart Luca is not a horse who wins many races, but he also rarely embarrasses himself.
The four-year-old pacer, who on Saturday competes in the $59,000 final of the Clyde Hirt Series at the Meadowlands, has three victories in 30 lifetime races, but has earned a check in 20 of his most recent 21 starts, a span that dates back to October 2013.
So far this year, Caviart Luca has one win and two second-place finishes. Both runner-up performances came in the preliminary rounds of the Hirt Series, where he was second to Rockeyed Optimist in each round.
Caviart Luca and driver Andrew McCarthy will start the Hirt final from post four in a six-horse field.
“I’m real happy with him,” said trainer Noel Daley, who shares ownership of Caviart Luca with Buck and Judy Chaffee’s Caviart Farms. “I think he’s a pretty decent horse. He does some goofy things, but he’s a big good-going horse. There’s a lot of speed there. He’s always had a heap of speed.”
Caviart Luca is a son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Caviart Sierra. He is a half-brother to stakes-winner Caviart Sydney.
Last year, Caviart Luca finished third behind Always B Miki and Capital Account in a division of the Tattersalls Pace and was fifth in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes. The only time he failed to earn money in his most recent 21 races was when he finished sixth in his elimination for the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers.
The gelding has earned $119,722 during his career.
“He’s not the smartest horse racing,” Daley said. "I wouldn’t put him in front at this stage of the game. He’d race them if they got to him, but if he got left alone he’s just as likely to pull up. You’ve got to watch what you do with him.
“But I’ve always thought he was quick and has ability, and he does.”
Rockeyed Optimist won last week’s Hirt preliminary by 3-1/2 lengths over Caviart Luca in a national-season’s-best 1:48.3 and he captured the opening round by four lengths in 1:49.3. Rockeyed Optimist will start the final from post one with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Steve Elliott.
“That horse is going as good as any around at the moment,” Daley said, adding with a laugh, “We can’t keep coming first over to him every week. That’s not going to beat him.
“I don’t know if we can get in a position to beat him. It just doesn’t look a good spot there with a short field.”
Following the Hirt Series, Caviart Luca is eligible to the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. The Weiss Series concludes with a $30,000 final on April 18. The Graduate Series ends with a $250,000 final on July 3.
“I put him in the Graduate Series and I think he’ll get pieces there,” Daley said. “He got me a piece against Always B Miki (in the Tattersalls Pace) and I think he’ll be a better horse this year. I don’t know how many races he’s going to win, but he’ll get pieces of them. I think he can whack away and make good money.
“Touch wood, he’s sound. I don’t think he’s a champion, but he’s got the makings of a very decent horse. I’ll try to get him through this year and see what happens.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.