Day At The Track

Eliminations contested for North America Cup

05:14 PM 10 Jun 2018 NZST
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Lather Up, harness racing Stay Hungry, harness racing Wes Delight, harness racing
Unbeaten Lather Up and driver Montrell Teague won their fifth straight, a Cup division in 1:49.2
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Stay Hungry and driver Doug McNair
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Wes Delight splits horses to win his Cup division
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Stay Hungry
Wes Delight
Lather Up
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MILTON, ON - June 9, 2018 - The field is set for the 35th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup following Saturday evening's three $50,000 eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

A group of 29 three-year-old pacers were split into a trio of eliminations with the top-three finishers from each division, plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot, advancing to next week's $1 million final.

O'Brien Award winner Stay Hungry came from third-over turning for home to capture the first elimination in 1:50.

Driven by Doug McNair, Stay Hungry got away sixth and would see the two horses in front of him angle out at the half. Summer Travel led by the half in :55.4 and battled first-up challenger Done Well by three-quarters in 1:23.1.

In the stretch, Done Well eventually muscled by Summer Travel, but Stay Hungry charged home with a :26 final-quarter and got by in deep stretch to win by a head.

Hayden Hanover, who got the second-over trip, finished third, while Summer Travel was fourth.

Trained by Tony Alagna, Stay Hungry came into his elimination off a 1:49.1 qualifying mile last week at The Meadowlands, which followed a second-place finish in his season debut. The son of Somebeachsomewhere won six of nine starts last season, including the Breeders Crown, and banked over $500,000 for owners Brad Grant and the late-Irwin Samelman.

McNair, who was last year's top driver at Woodbine, will have his third-career drive in the Pepsi North America Cup and his first with an elimination winner.

"That's always what you dream of when you're growing up watching the race," said McNair. "To be in the race and have one that is legit and low odds is a great feeling."

Stay Hungry paid $4.10 to win.

Stay Hungry by Somebeachsomewhere

Wes Delight split between rivals to capture the second elimination for driver Corey Callahan and trainer Mark Harder.

A son of Bettors Delight, Wes Delight fired out early and got a two-hole ride, as American History cleared to the lead at a :26.1 opening-quarter and took the field by the half in :54.3.

Dorsoduro Hanover came first-up on the far turn to pressure American History, who paced by three-quarters in 1:22.4. Nutcracker Sweet sat on the back of the first-up challenger and was poised for a strong stretch bid.

In the lane, American History and Nutcracker Sweet met up for a battle, but both were surpassed by Wes Delight, as Callahan angled off the rail and had room to split rivals and win in 1:50.2. Nutcracker Sweet finished second by a neck, while American History was beat less than a length in third.

"Yannick's horse (American History) went on enough (in the stretch) that I could sneak out there," said Callahan. "This little horse is so gritty, he just loves to win."

Wes Delight is now five for six this season and has banked $108,496 for owners Rick Phillips, Deena Rachel Frost and Harder. The Bettors Delight colt increased his career numbers to eight wins and $232,573 earned with his Cup elimination score.

A $2 win ticket on Wes Delight returned $5.70.

Wes Delight by Bettor's Delight

Lather Up improved to five for five in 2018 with a dominating 1:49.2 victory in the third elimination.

The Clyde Francis trainee and driver Montrell Teague made an opening-quarter move from second to first, but didn't carry the lead long. Lost In Time rushed to the lead in the second-quarter and posted a :54.2 half.

Lost In Time continued to lead at three-quarters in 1:22.2, but had his momentum interrupted when Courtly Choice, who was pressuring first-up, got too tight and hooked wheels with the leader.

The lead pair became unhooked with a little more than an eighth of a mile to go, but the rail opened and Lather Up stormed by his rivals with powerful strides and drew away to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

St Lads Neptune finished second, while Hitman Hill was third. Lost In Time recovered to hang on for fourth and won the draw as the fourth-place finisher to qualify for the $1 million final.

A son of Im Gorgeous, Lather Up has been an incredible run to start his three-year-old season. The homebred for Gary & Barbara Iles is undefeated in five starts and passed his toughest task to date on Saturday.

"I knew there was going to be a couple of them leaving out of there and I wasn't going to be able to get my way the whole time like I been doing the last few times," said Teague. "I figured out a trip and it didn't look like the best one, but we figured it out.

Lather Up now has nine wins and career earnings of $167,100.

The Francis trainee paid $3.50 to win.

Lather Up by Im Gorgeous

Saturday's three elimination winners now earn the right to select their post-position for the $1 million final. The post-position draw will take place Tuesday afternoon (June 12) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

The post-position draw can be live streamed at and gets underway at Noon.

The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup takes place next Saturday (June 16). Doors open at 4 p.m. and first-race post-time is 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for the Pepsi North America Cup can be purchased at


The stacked Pepsi North America Cup undercard is set following Saturday’s eliminations for the Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Both events required two eliminations on Saturday, with 16 three-year-old pacing fillies competing in the Fan Hanover and 19 older pacing mares in the Roses Are Red.

Sudden Passing found room late to get up and defeat race-favourite Alexis Faith at the line in the first $35,000 Fan Hanover elimination.

Driven by Jody Jamieson, Sudden Passing got away second in the early-stages and was situated as the third-horse along the rail when the field reached three-quarters. Alexis Faith rushed from fourth to first at the half and led by the third-marker in 1:23.

In the stretch, Alexis Faith pulled ahead of her rivals and appeared to have victory in sight, but Jamieson was able to stickhandle into some open room late and shoot through to win by a neck.

Sudden Passing’s victory wasn’t called official immediately, as the judges reviewed the final turn for a possible pylon infraction, but deemed there was no violation.

Alexis Faith had to settle for second, while Reign On Me was third and Just Her Luck fourth. The final horse to qualify for the final from the first split was Big Thong.

Sudden Passing is trained by Gregg McNair for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. The Mach Three filly was two for three on the season coming into Saturday’s contest, with her most recent win coming in an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event.

Winless in five starts at age two, Sudden Passing now has three wins and over $112,000 earned in her young career. She paid $8.20 to win.

Sudden Passing by Mach Three

The second elimination saw Kissin In The Sand convert off a second-over trip from driver Scott Zeron to win in 1:51.1.

Race-favourite Youaremycandygirl was stretched out by early-leader Ubettergo Go to the half in :54.4 before carrying the lead around the far turn. OSS champion Percy Bluechip came first-up from fourth and supplied cover for Kissin In The Sand.

Youaremycandygirl reached three-quarters in 1:23.2 and was still the leader with an eighth of a mile to go, but didn’t have enough left in the tank.

Kissin In The Sand fired by rivals to win by a length and a quarter in 1:51.1. Im Trigger Happy and Shower Play rallied to finish in a dead-heat for second, while Kendall Seelster came up the rail to get fourth.

Ubettergo Go finished fifth, which meant standouts Youaremycandygirl and Percy Bluechip failed to make the final.

A daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, Kissin In The Sand was making her second start of the season after finishing second in her season debut. The Nancy Johansson trainee won seven of 14 starts as a rookie and now has eight wins and career earnings of over $275,000 for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables.

Kissin In The Sand paid $12.20 to win.

Kissin In The Sand by Somebeachsomewhere

The Roses Are Red eliminations kicked off with Blazin Britches completing a front-end mission with a 1:51 victory for driver David Miller.

The Brian Brown trained four-year-old was making her second start of the season and got to call the shots.

Blazin Britches and Miller posted fractions of :27.2, :56.1 and 1:24.1, before pacing home in :26.4 to win easy by three and a half lengths. L A Delight finished second, while Lyons River Pride was third.

The top-five was rounded out by Blue Moon Stride and Shartin N.

A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven, Blazin Britches was facing Grand Circuit mares for the first-time Saturday. The Brown trainee had an incredible three-year-old season, winning 11 of 15 starts and banking over $500,000.

A homebred for Emerald Highlands Farm, Blazin Britches is now a 12-time winner with over $550,000 in career earnings. She paid $14 to win.

Blazin Britches by Rock N Roll Heaven

Tequila Monday captured the second Roses Are Red elimination to make it a four-year-old sweep.

Driver Brett Miller circled from second to first after the opening-quarter and Tequila Monday never looked back. The Hunter Oakes trainee posted fractions of :55.4 and 1:23.3, before pacing home in :26.3 to win by a length and three-quarters.

The Joy Luck Club finished second, while Nike Franco N was third. The final two spots in next week’s final were secured by Firebby A and Artistic Madison.

A daughter of American Ideal, Tequila Monday is now three for five in her four-year-old season. She is a career-winner of more than $670,000 and Saturday’s victory was the 15th of her career.

Tequila Monday is owned by Northfork Racing Stable and Chuck Pompey. She paid $5.70 to win.

Tequila Monday by American Ideal

The post-position draws for the $415,000 Fan Hanover and $370,000 Roses Are Red took place following Saturday’s eliminations here.

Below are the fields for each final.

$415,000 Fan Hanover

1. Just Her Luck by Sportswriter
2. Sudden Passing by Mach Three
3. Kissin In The Sand by Somebeachsomewhere
4. Shower Play by Shadow Play
5. Kendall Seelster by Shadow Play
6. Alexis Faith by American Ideal
7. Reign On Me by Well Said
8. Im Trigger Happy by Art Major
9. Ubettergo Go by Art Major
10. Big Thong by Big Jim
AE: Youaremycandygirl by American Ideal

$370,000 Roses Are Red

1. Nike Franco N by McArdle
2. Lyons River Pride by Somebeacsomewhere
3. Tequila Monday by American Ideal
4. Blazin Britches by Rock N Roll Heaven
5. Blue Moon Stride by Rocknroll Hanover
6. Artistic Madison by Artistic Fella
7. Shartin N by Tintin In America
8. Firebby A by Courage Under Fire
9. L A Delight by Bettor's Delight
10. The Joy Luck Club by Camluck
AE: Pure Country by Somebeachsomewhere

by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

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