09/17/2011 11:02AM

Kentucky Downs: High Alpine looking for softer spot in allowance


History is a big part of the Kentucky Downs allure, what with the legacy of pistol duels involving iconic figures such as Sam Houston and other ages-old tidbits.

John Gaver III knows a little something about racing history, having lived it through his grandfather and father, and when he brings a 3-year-old filly named High Alpine to Kentucky Downs to race Monday, it will be for an outfit with a rich racing history as well – Overbrook Farm.

High Alpine will run in the second of two allowances carded Monday at turf-only Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., where a four-day meet wraps up with eight races. The filly will be ridden by Marcelino Pedroza when breaking from post 12 in the seventh, a $27,000, first-level race at a mile.

Gaver’s grandfather, John Sr., trained for Greentree Stable during its 1940s heydays and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1966. After John Sr. suffered a stroke, his son, John Jr., took over the stable, with perhaps his most notable feat being an upset of Alydar with a horse named San Juan Hill in the 1979 Oaklawn Handicap.

John Gaver III, 43, worked for four years for Daily Racing Form before starting his own public stable in 2007. Overbrook, which won the Kentucky Derby in 1996 with Grindstone and a number of other major events, dispersed most of its racing and breeding stock in the aftermath of the 2004 death of W.T. Young, but still surfaces with the occasional runner with Christophe Clement, Todd Pletcher, or Gaver.

Gaver, who has a 12-horse stable at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, including seven for Overbrook, said he likes the way High Alpine approaches her next race Monday, saying her last race, an Aug. 28 starter allowance at Arlington Park, “came up really tough, I thought. She was pinched at the start and never really got a chance to run. She’s trained well since then and seems to like the turf. I’m hoping this will prove to be a softer spot and she’ll get to show what she can do.”

High Alpine, a two-back winner over the Ellis Park turf, looks as good as any among the full field in the seventh, with Ladyflickerflacker and Poortown Princess being other logical contenders.

The other allowance race goes as the sixth and looks similarly competitive. It’s a $29,000, second-level allowance that has Magic de Naskra, Faithope, and Ninety Schillings as favorites in a field of 11.

First post Monday is 12:40 p.m. Central, with races run every 30 minutes.