TORONTO, January 16 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced the date of the Pepsi North America Cup, its spotlight Standardbred race, along with the rest of the $12 million 2014 harness racing stakes schedule.
The 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup will offer a guaranteed purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 14 at Mohawk.
The continent's finest three year-old pacers will line up behind the gate, with eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 7.
Captaintreacherous captured the race, first staged in 1984, last year.
The lucrative June 14 card offers a showcase for the continent's best horses across several divisions, including the $400,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $325,000 Roses Are Red for older pacing mares, the $270,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares, the $225,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotting colts and the $100,000 Gold Cup for older pacing horses.
"We are enthusiastic about the 2014 racing season and proud to announce one of the finest stakes programs in North America," said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice President of Racing. "Woodbine Entertainment Group plans to make this the best Pepsi North America Cup ever."
Mohawk will once again play host to some of the continent's most prestigious Grand Circuit events.
On July 19, the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot, for older trotters, will be offered for a 62nd time. Market Share won the 2013 renewal.
The $685,000 Metro Pace for two year-old pacing colts is set for Saturday, August 30. Ontario-owned, trained & driven Boomboom Ballykeel was victorous in the 2013 edition of the race.
Co-featured on the rich Labour Day weekend card are the $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers and the $450,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes for juvenile pacing fillies.
The Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC), for racing's best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, September 13 for a purse of $685,000. Royalty For Life won the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands en route to a score in the CTC last year.
The $375,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies, the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotting colts and the $365,000 Elegantimage, for three-year-old filly trotters, are also featured on the mid-September weekend.
The Grand Circuit stakes return to Woodbine for its Fall meet in October.
The $1.9 million Fall Four (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds,and Governor's Cup), will be contested on Saturday, October 25. These events were last held at Woodbine in 2010.
Also in 2014, all finishers in the stakes finals will earn purse money. The winner will continue to receive the traditional 50% of the total purse, while those sixth through last will get 1% each. Those finishing second through fifth will receive 50%-24%-16%-10%, respectively, of the remaining purse.
Plus, if 11 horses or fewer declare to start in a stakes series, there will be no eliminations and all declared horses will advance directly to the final. Byes will no longer be issued in stakes events.
The stakes nominating process begins February 15.
For the entire stakes schedule click here:
by Greg Gangle for WEG