Marysville’s Joe Paver drives Carmensdaleyapple. He was scheduled to compete today at the Delaware County Fair.
Joe Paver thought Carmensdaleyapple would be a good horse, but he never expected the homebred two-year-old male pacer to produce win after win after win. He has a total of 15, to be exact, without a single setback as he headed today to an Ohio Fair Racing Conference division at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
“It’s a big surprise,” said Paver, who bred, owns and trains Carmensdaleyapple. He added with a laugh, “I don’t usually win that many races in a year, let alone with one horse.”
True. Carmensdaleyapple has nearly equaled Paver’s previous career high for training wins in a season, 17 in 2005. This year, the 58-year-old Paver has posted 30 victories and career-best purse earnings of $152,833.
Carmensdaleyapple has won more races this year than any two-year-old in North America. The gelding’s 15 victories are tied for fourth among horses of any age and he is the only undefeated horse among the 69 with at least 11 wins.
“He trained down well,” said Paver, who trains his stable of five horses at the Union County Fairgrounds. “I’d been in 2:01 with him at home before I ever raced him. That was by himself, though. He’s been a little bit better than I thought. He’s a good-natured horse. He’s long barreled and I like his gait.”
Carmensdaleyapple is a son of stallion Mr Apples out of the mare Mydaleybread, who Paver bought in 2014 and raced briefly as a 14-year-old before breeding her. Carmen is Paver’s wife, who named Carmensdaleyapple.
Paver drove Carmensdaleyapple in his first start, at the Paulding County Fair, and won by nearly 24 lengths in 2:13 over a sloppy track. Since then, 20-year-old Pierce Henry has been Carmensdaleyapple’s regular driver. Last year, Henry drove another Paver homebred, Mannys Too Special, several times on the fair circuit.
“I didn’t have any help, I was having to paddock and drive, so I tagged Pierce and put him up,” Paver said. “He’s getting better every day. Experience is how drivers get better. I’ve got faith in him. He’ll be all right.”
Carmensdaleyapple has won nine of his 15 races by at least five lengths and his narrowest margin of victory has been 2-1/2 lengths. His best win time of 1:57.1 came Aug. 14 at the Mercer County Fair in Celina.
“A couple times he’s had miles cut for him, but most of the time he does it on his own,” Paver said. “But he can do it either way (from the front or following).”
Carmensdaleyapple and Henry was scheduled to start from post No. 1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds today. Carmensdaleyapple is the race’s even-money favorite on the morning line. Dan Noble’s Jus Chillin It, who has won five of eight races this year and not yet faced Carmensdaleyapple, is the 4-1 second choice.
Today’s card also included the $273,250 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers and $80,575 Buckette for 3-year-old female trotters.
“It hasn’t mattered so far to him, but it’s nice to draw the rail there,” Paver said about Delaware’s half-mile track. “We’ve got to hope for the best. Anything can happen. But I think he’ll be all right.”
Paver, who is a native of Marysville, followed his uncle, Tom, and father, Pearl, into harness racing. He started jogging horses around the age of 12 and bought his first horse in his mid-20s. He owns some horses with his father and brother, Dennis. Among their recent successes is Ohsowigglesspecial, a homebred 4-year-old female pacer who has won 19 of 54 career races and earned $166,478.
Carmensdaleyapple will race once more following today’s start, in the Ohio Fairs Championship next month. Then the horse will receive time off before preparing for his 3-year-old campaign.
“I’ll look and see what I want to do next year,” Paver said. “I know he will be in the sire stakes. I didn’t do it this year; I just staked him to the fairs to teach him to race. But there will definitely be some staking next year.”
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