|Normally, multiple Group winners are the figureheads of racing that everyone knows, but in the USA a horse caused a sensation that is probably known primarily to insiders. We are talking about Beverly Park, a four-legged horse that celebrated no less than 15 victories in 30 (!) starts in 2022! That is quite an achievement to convert half of his appearances into hits. This made him the first horse since the unbeaten Rapid Redux (19 consecutive wins in 2011) to win more than 13 races in a season.
"His front legs are as cold and firm as any young horse," trainer Norman "Lynn" Cash said. But there have been other times. The trainer was showered with criticism last winter when the six-year-old Munnings son competed in eight races in a two-month period. Cash, 58, admits he`s still a novice in the business - he only earned his trainer`s licence two years ago after running the family`s roofing company for decades - but he knows his horse better than most. As Beverly Park`s constant travel partner during the 16 months they spent together, he often drove the van himself to various racetracks around the country, just him and "Beverly".
"He`s a workhorse," says the coach. "Whether it`s racing or going to the track in the morning, he wants to go out there and do his job. Sometimes when I`m watching training from the other side of the track, I can always tell from a distance that he`s going to the track because he bounces his head so happily when he comes on and when he leaves the track."
As the dreary winter turned to spring, a more steady pace was maintained at Beverly Park with 19 days off between races, which Cash believes is best for his horse. "I also feel better about the business in general," Cash said. "It`s a rollercoaster ride sometimes in this business. One day you`re winning and you`re on top, and the next day you`re a beaten favourite, defeated by six lengths. If you can`t handle the lows, you can`t handle the highs."
Cash and his wife Lola had a taste of the industry a few years ago after watching I`ll Have Another win the Kentucky Derby in 2012. "I said to my wife, "This horse (I`ll Have Another) was bought for only $35,000. We should buy a racehorse too - that would be great.` And so we did. And then we kept buying horses when we had some money available through the roofing business. But when I owned horses, I realised that I loved the sport and the animals. It just grabbed me."
In 2021, Cash handed over the running of his long-time roofing business to his two sons and took the plunge to create a dream. The racing stable started with a few horses and grew to nearly 50 four-legged horses by December 2022, all running under the name Cash`s Built Wright Stables. Cash is currently in charge of the horses at both Laurel Park and the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington.
The day before Beverly Park defeated his opponents in a December 31 race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Cash had two horses entered at Aqueduct Racetrack, two at Laurel Park and one (Aunt Bee) at Mahoning Valley Race Course. Aunt Bee won the $75,000 Bobby Bricker Memorial Handicap by a slim margin.
"We got in with a couple of horses and had immediate success," Cash said. "Even though it didn`t always go smoothly at first. Sometimes (Lola) would look at the account and say, "Honey, what`s wrong?" And I`d say, `The money`s there, it`s just not all in cash, these are good demands we`ve made.` I come back to the theory with the cars. You have to put cars on the lot if you want to sell cars. You have to have cars on the lot."
Although Cash is primarily a sales racing expert, he has had remarkable success turning horses into stakes winners. Double Crown, a gelding he purchased for $40,000 at Churchill Downs in June, was the trainer`s first taste of such glory. In a sensational 42-1 decision, Double Crown pulled past heavily favoured Baby Yoda in the Kelso Handicap at Aqueduct on 29 October. It was Beverly Park, however, that really put Cash`s name in the spotlight.
"There`s a lot written about this horse," Cash said. "Everywhere I go, people ask me about him. He`s really 98% great animal and 2% me." These are the stories that only racing can write.