TAKE2 Champions: Tavish, Gold Label Take Top Honors In New Careers - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

TAKE2 Champions: Tavish, Gold Label Take Top Honors In New Careers

Tavish and Debra Ward

Between them, Cinthia McGreevy's Tavish and John Beebe's Gold Label made 55 starts at the track, winning eight times and earning a combined $269,456, but their athletic careers were far from over when they quit racing. Tavish has been named the TAKE2 High-Score Hunter Champion for 2022 after earning 2080 points over the season, and Gold Label racked up 1096 points to be crowned the High-Score Jumper Champion.

John Beebe, with 50 years of horsemanship under his belt, knows all about second careers beyond the racetrack.

“I rode show horses as a kid, but I left that behind when I was 15 to work with racehorses,” he reminisced. “I ran a Thoroughbred farm in Delray, but the owners passed away and the farm closed and I needed a job, so I went to work at the track.”

Beebe was an exercise rider and enjoyed a brief but successful stint as a jockey. He was the leading apprentice at famed Hialeah Park in South Florida back in the 1960s. But eventually he found his way back to the show world.

“I came back to it when my daughters started riding hunter/jumpers,” he explained. “That's how I got involved again.”

Beebe now runs Arlington Farms, the boarding stable partnered with top show barn Carriage Hill Farm in Delray Beach, FL. He has long been a supporter of the TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program, competing with Black Label in the TAKE2 Jumper division from 2014 through 2019. He has had Gold Label, who raced under the name Time Will Tell, since not long after the 9-year-old son of Malibu Moon ran his final race, a claiming event at Gulfstream Park in December of 2018.

Gold Label and Meredith Gallagher

“We were looking for a horse, and the connections ran an ad for him right after he retired from the track,” Beebe said. “He had been injured and they were just starting him back; they were just going over poles with him. We went up to Ocala to see him and bought him and brought him back home.”

When asked what caught his eye about Gold Label, Beebe enthused, “He's pretty!” He added, “He's a good-looking horse and he has a great barn personality. I like Thoroughbreds, because they are more athletic than warmbloods, they are quicker on their feet.”

Gold Label started on the TAKE2 circuit in 2021 and just missed taking the High-Score Award, finishing just 16 points behind champion jumper Nine Links. He ran away with the title this year, leading reserve champion Untitled Storm by 394 points.

Beebe believes the TAKE2 Program is helping to raise awareness of the success of Thoroughbreds in the show ring.

“I think TAKE2 is helping to make Thoroughbreds more popular,” he said. “There was definitely more competition in the TAKE2 divisions this year than when we had with Black Label. Participation is picking up, and I'd like to see it become even more active.”

Tavish, a son of the great Giant's Causeway, is owned by TAKE2 Board member Cinthia McGreevy. The 9-year-old raced under the name Black Tavish, competing on the Kentucky circuit and also traveling to Indiana, Florida, and Louisiana during his 27-race career. He was retired to Second Stride, a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance-accredited organization in Crestwood, KY, in 2018, and found a loving adoptive home in Ohio, but tragedy struck.

“He ended up with trainer Aubrey Hunt Sears in Ohio, but his owner very unfortunately passed away,” McGreevy said. “Through friends and colleagues, we were steered in his direction. We had been looking for a Thoroughbred hunter, and we feel extremely lucky that all the pieces fell into place when we came across him.”

A native of Maryland, McGreevy was raised around Thoroughbreds.

“My father was an owner/trainer,” she explained. “I exercised mornings for my father and showed my OTTBs.”

In adulthood, the horses took a back seat to McGreevy's career, first as a model and actress and then as a high-powered realtor in South Florida. But 10 years after getting into real estate, she found herself drawn back to racing.

“I met my husband, bloodstock agent Tom McGreevy, in 2010 and he brought me back full circle into the Thoroughbred racing world,” she said. “We went to Saratoga and Lexington and Ocala for sales and races. Eventually, I started taking horses from Tom to retrain for second careers.”

Tavish is the third TAKE2 Thoroughbred League member to compete for McGreevy. The striking dark bay gelding got a late start last season and was 53rd in the standings but moved all the way to the top this year to best reserve champion Purely Grateful by 67.5 points. His owner credits trainer Debra Ward of Grassy Ridge Farm with the rise through the ranks.

“Debbie also grew up riding and competing on Thoroughbreds,” McGreevy said. “She is extremely talented and patient and truly takes her time to bring each OTTB we take on to their fullest potential.”

McGreevy also recognizes the innate talent of Thoroughbreds in general, and Tavish in particular.

“Tavish has a very balanced and rhythmical canter, he has a beautiful natural jump, and he is very brave,” she said. “He made our job easy. We were tasked with giving him the experience and confidence he needed for all his abilities to shine.”

McGreevy believes that the TAKE2 Program that she is so committed to gives retired racehorses the opportunity to show just what they can do after they leave the track.

“The TAKE2 program is so important,” she said. “It has allowed us to have a platform, especially because these horses did not start out in the hunter/jumper industry and are transitioning. The impact TAKE2 has had thus far is greater participation of Thoroughbreds at shows and, more important, fewer people excluding Thoroughbreds from their searches when looking for horses. We believe this is a huge step forward, and we are just beginning to see them emerge again in the 'A' rated show world. TAKE2 is a great stepping stone for many to move on to compete in other divisions and showcase their many talents after the track.”

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