06/13/2013 9:05AM

North America Cup: Best Value vs. Best Horse


Do you subscribe to the theory that Captaintreacherous is the best of this class or that he is possibly slightly better than these but could easily go down if placed under pressure, or that this is an evenly matched group? Answer that question and you are halfway to selecting a winner of the North America Cup.

[DRF HARNESS: Watch + wager on the Saturday North America Cup card at Mohawk]

In his elimination, I felt that anything above 3-5 was a gift on Captaintreacherous (he went off at 1-5). This week I’m listing his fair market value at 2-1 and his likely off-odds at 4-5. I think he is the best horse, but I haven’t seen enough to accept lower than 2-1; which means that I can’t wager on him.

Before I move forward, here are my projected post time odds and the price at which I would consider making a bet.

1 Apprentice Hanover 25-1 NONE
2 Vegas Vacation 3-1 8-1
3 Fool Me Once 6-1 8-1
4 Captaintreacherous 4-5 2-1
5 Twilight Bonfire 80-1 NONE
6 Wake Up Peter 10-1 8-1
7 Sunshine Beach 20-1 12-1
8 Odds On Equuleus 12-1 10-1
9 Captive Audience 20-1 NONE
10 Martini Hanover 80-1 NONE

Let’s get the obvious facts out the way first.

1) I do not consider Apprentice Hanover, Twilight Bonfire, Captive Audience and Martini Hanover to be serious threats in this race on the win end. The reasoning behind some is due to talent and others because of poor posts. I wouldn’t be shocked if one of them finished third or fourth, but they will not be higher than that on any ticket I play.

2) If this was a sporting event and I could lay points, I might take a shot with Captaintreacherous. I think he is the obvious horse to beat and most likely winner. He is far and away not the best bet.

3) I ranked the remaining five contenders in a close 8-1 to 12-1 range because I simply don’t see much separating the quintet. Any of the group is capable of winning given the proper trip. But with the expectation that Vegas Vacation and Fool Me Once will offer lower odds than desired at post time, they are both automatic toss-outs.

The three best-priced plays for my money are Wake Up Peter, Sunshine Beach and Odds On Equuleus. Without any inside knowledge on the tactics of each contender I am left to guess what may happen. There are three options for each horse: leave hard; float away from the gate for a tuck; don’t leave.

Since Sunshine Beach shows no early speed in his past performance lines over the course of his career, I think it is safe to assume he won’t be leaving the gate with reckless abandon. I do hear that his connections are high on this colt and that intrigues me. Plus, if you saw his Somebeachsomewhere win, he did it very easily.

Odds On Equuleus has early speed but seems to be trying to find his peak form. Horses that aren’t razor sharp typically do their best work from off the pace.

Wake Up Peter is a wildcard. Only driver Ron Pierce knows for sure if he will be aggressive or patient and despite the fact that he told me he wants to come from behind, I truly don’t think he will make a final decision until the wings of the gate spring open.

If we take my analysis above as gospel, the only logical choice of the three to make my top choice is Wake Up Peter. The other two are too likely to be reliant on others or will have to pass Peter in the stretch after following him.

I have a few more reasons why Wake Up Peter will attract my money.

1) He comes off a great prep; he didn’t have to work hard and posted a final quarter (26 1/5) that was as good or better than any in this field.

2) His mile two starts back in the NJSS Final showed he could handle adversity. He left, raced uncovered for a good portion of the mile and still only lost by one length.

3) Ron Pierce: He is a big-money driver that has won this race twice before (2006, 2009) and just about every other major race.

For the record, my official picks in order for the 2013 North America Cup are: Wake Up Peter, Captaintreacherous, Sunshine Beach

If I’m right, Brittany Farms will have a great night. If I’m a jinx, well, sorry Myron.

Suggested Plays: Win/Place (6) Wake Up Peter; Exacta Part-wheel Box 6,7,8 / 2,3,4,6,7,8


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