Day At The Track

$50,000 North America Cup eliminations

05:48 PM 14 Jun 2015 NZST
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Wiggle It Jiggleit, with driver Montrell Teague In The Arsenal Wakizashi Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick pulled off an upset
Wiggle It Jiggleit, with driver Montrell Teague
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In The Arsenal remains unbeaten in four starts this year
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Wakizashi Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick pulled off an upset
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In The Arsenal
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CAMPBELLVILLE, June 13...The finest three-year-old pacers in harness racing battled it out Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in a trio of $50,000 eliminations for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup.

The first Cup elimination saw the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit, as expected, prevail with yet another dominant performance.

Sent postward the overwhelming public choice in the field of eight, the son of Mr Wiggles, who finished fourth to Well Said in the 2009 Cup, thus kept his unblemished record intact, now a perfect 11 for 11, 10 starts of which have come this year already in a very busy campaign.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, with driver Montrell Teague, the son of the owner, busted out from the start, getting the first quarter in :26.2, then slowing to a crawl while still in front, reaching the half in a pedestrian :56.3. From there, it was all over, as the pacesetter turned back a brief challenge from Arque Hanover, getting to three-quarters in 1:23.3, before coasting home by six lengths in 1:49.2.

Arque Hanover hung on for second, with Yankee Bounty third and Hurrikane Ali, who had chased the leader early, dropping to fourth.

Trained by Clyde Francis for owner George Teague Jr., Wiggle It Jiggleit has hardly been breathed on in his 11 romps, his smallest margin of victory being one and one-half lengths.

"Yes, that's exactly how I wanted it (a soft second quarter)," said Teague. "I didn't want to go another (1) :48 or anything like that. We'll wait till next week for that when the money's down. I took him off the gate just in case but I timed the gate perfectly and he stormed out of there like it was nothing. I hope he continues to do it (answer the call) and I'm having fun doing it with him."

There's a lot of similarities between Wiggle It Jiggleit and Mr Wiggles, said owner Teague, who also campaigned the sire.

"The other horse (Mr Wiggles) doesn't get the recognition he deserves," said Teague. "He won a couple of major races. But this horse is the best horse I've ever trained by far. Very intelligent, speed. I've never trained one as fast as him."

Teague also trained (along with sister Brenda) and co-owned Total Truth, who won the 2006 Pepsi North America Cup.

Last month, Wiggle It Jiggleit set a world record of 1:49 for a half-mile track when winning by over 14 lengths on May 11 at HarringtonPark in Delaware.

Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $2.10, $2.10 (no show wagering), combining with Arque Hanover ($8.10) for a $16.80 (5-3) exactor. A 5-3-6 (Yankee Bounty) triactor was worth $83.50, while a $1 Superfecta [5-3-6-4 (Hurrikane Ali)] came back $172.20.

Wiggle It Jiggleit

Following the impressive first elim win by undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit in 1:49.2, it was heavily-favoured In The Arsenal's turn to show his firepower. And he did. But just barely.

With Brian Sears at the controls, In The Arsenal tracked from fourth for most of the mile, as Go Daddy Go took the field through a quarter in :26.3, the half in 54.4 and three-quarters in 1:22.3.

The son of American Ideal had powered up to challenge the leader off the far turn, struck front in early stretch, then had enough left to hold off a raft of pursuers, including Penji Hanover, who once again finished a troubled second, a half-length behind, with Good Friday Three third and Revenge Shark fourth, in 1:49.4.

With the win, In The Arsenal remained unbeaten in four starts this year, including the rich Rooney final at Yonkers May 30, has taken 10 of 15 overall and will come into the Cup with earnings of over $600,000.

"He did in the hard way," said trainer Kelvin Harrison. "He come first up. He was a safe winner. I think the biggest thing about him this year is he's a whole lot smarter than he was last year. When we started him up last year, he was hard to stop. Now he'll race smart. He's very athletic. He's grown a lot actually. He was really small early. He's come through it in good shape. Wasn't that hard a race for him and seems nice and fresh when he came back. So hopefully we'll be okay. He's got wild speed, he's got it all."

Sears has won two Pepsi North America Cups...in 2005 with Rocknroll Hanover and last year with JK Endofanera.

In The Arsenal paid $3.90, $2.70 and $2.70, combining with Penji Hanover ($8, $6.20) for a $31.30 (7-2) exactor. A 7-2-3 (Good Friday Three, $11.30) triactor returned a solid $608.40, while a $1 Superfecta [7-2-3-6 (Revenge Shark)] was worth $1,509.40.

In The Arsenal

Wakizashi Hanover and driver Tim Tetrick pulled off an upset in the third and final Pepsi North America Cup elimination, roaring from well back and rolling to a one and three-quarter length win over the 1-5 choice, Artspeak.

A winner in three of his four outings this year, prior to the elim, the son of Dragon Again got the job done in a career best 1:49.2.

Owned by Tri County Stable of Truro, Nova Scotia and trained by Joann Looney King, Wakizashi Hanover was sixth and widest turning for home before turning on the jets and powering past the leaders. While no match for the winner, Artspeak, last year's two-year-old pacing colt champion in both Canada and the United States, came on for second, as pacesetter Betting Exchange hung on for third. Split The House wound up fourth.

"I was very confident coming in," said Tetrick, who steered Captaintreacherous to victory in the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup. "I knew Artspeak was a great horse and he'd be tough to beat. But I had a lot of confidence in my horse. He's been good all along. He's had some tough trips that haven't always worked out. But he's always right there. He's always on the ticket. He likes to finish.

"My horse was really grabbing on (around the final turn) and Artspeak was kind of struggling. I just let him rip. He circled them and he paced to the wire really strong. I'm really happy with the horse. He's coming into the race (next Saturday's final) great. The connections are doing a great job. Give us the right trip and I think he can go with just about anything out there."

Rock N Roll World took the field through an opening quarter in :26.3 before Betting Exchange grabbed command (:54.2 for the half, 1:22.4 for three-quarters), as Artspeak lingered in fifth and Wakizashi Hanover sixth, until turning for home.

Wakizashi Hanover paid $15.80, $4 and $3, combining with Artspeak ($2.30, $2.10) for a $37.10 (1-7) exactor. A 1-7-2 (Betting Exchange, $3.60) triactor was worth $190.40, while a $1 Superfecta [1-7-2-5 (Split The House)] returned $283.80.

Wakizashi Hanover

The top three finishers in each $50,000 elimination qualified for the 32nd edition of the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup final, along with one fourth place finisher drawn by lot (Hurrikane Ali). More importantly, each winner earned his connections the right to select a post position before the balance of field is drawn on Tuesday.

Here is the field, in alphabetical order, for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup.

Arque Hanover by Rock N Roll Heaven

Artspeak by Western Ideal

Betting Exchange by Bettor's Delight

Good Friday Three by Mach Three

Hurrikane Ali by Rocknroll Hanover

In The Arsenal by American Ideal

Penji Hanover by Art Major

Wakizashi Hanover by Dragon Again

Wiggle It Jiggleit by Mr Wiggles

Yankee Bounty by Dragon Again

AE: Split The House by Rocknroll Hanover

Jeff Timson for WEG Communications

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