Napier Named 2018 Caretaker of the Year!

Caretaker at Radnor-based Chris Beaver Stable

Sheila Napier, caretaker at the Radnor-based Chris Beaver Stable, has been named the coveted 2018 Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA).

Shelia Napier, with the 2011 Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John, has been named the Ohio Caretaker of the Year. Napier works at Radnor’s Chris Beaver Stables. (photo via Shelia Napier)

USHWA will honor Napier and other champions at its annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, Sunday, February 24, in Orlando, Fla. Napier will receive $500, a trophy, and an all-expense paid trip. The banquet honors the best and brightest performers, both human and equine. 

All North America caretakers are eligible for the award, with nomination letters detailing the skills and special qualities of the nominee. A seven-member USHWA panel, comprised of former caretakers, selects winners.

Beaver, who nominated Napier for the award says, “Sheila takes unrivaled pride in the condition of her horses.  I can rest at ease when she has a horse racing.  I know it will get on the road on time and will be wearing the right equipment, even if I can’t make it.  She truly loves horses and takes incredible pride in their accomplishments. My life would be a lot easier if more grooms brought the passion into their work that Sheila has.”

Napier, 37, has worked for Beaver for three years and usually cares for about eight horses. She was featured in a September article “Harness: A Caretakers Job is Never Done” in DRF. In 2018, her horses included the $500,000-winning three-year-old filly trotter, Custom Cantab.

“Oh, that filly,” says Napier, whose travels always include her 11-year-old daughter Jess. “Custom Cantab is one of those special little fillies that wants to finish in the top three her whole life.  She’s quite sassy, amazing and full of heart. I absolutely love that filly; she is very special.”

Napier also had four horses on the Ohio Sires Stakes championship card at Scioto Downs, including three in the Two-Year-Old Filly Trot.

“I’ve always read about the award; and this is really great,” says Napier, a native of Cincinnati. (Her first job working with horses came while in high school in 1995 at the Delaware Equine Lab. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and something I looked forward to as far as possibly getting, but maybe in Ohio and not this big.”

Napier to Appear on Post Time With Mike & Mike

Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the harness racing line-up for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Sheila Napier, the 2018 USHWA Caretaker of the Year; California Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductee, Robin Burns; USTA Handicapper, Bob Pandolfo; and Peter Kleinhans. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website  or on the archive at

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