06/08/2016 10:57AM

Mohawk: Alagna trio ready for North America Cup eliminations

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Derick Giwner
Trainer Tony Alagna won the 2013 North America Cup with Captaintreacherous.

Tony Alagna won the Pepsi North America Cup three years ago with Captaintreacherous and the New Jersey-based trainer is back again this year hoping to advance three horses to the lucrative June 18 final.

Alagna’s Highlandbeachycove and Racing Hill are in the first of two nine-horse North America Cup eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers Saturday (June 11) at Mohawk Racetrack. The two will start on opposite ends of the gate, with Highlandbeachycove and driver Scott Zeron leaving from post No. 1 and Racing Hill and driver Brett Miller leaving from post No. 9. American Passport, Alagna’s remaining entry, will start from post No. 8 in the second elim, with Zeron at the lines.

The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the C$1 million final.

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Racing Hill and American Passport both won divisions of the International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes last year at Lexington’s Red Mile. Both horses have raced twice this year without a win, but Alagna is pleased with the way the two colts are heading to the North America Cup eliminations.

American Passport went off stride while battling for the lead in the stretch in his seasonal debut at the Meadowlands on May 21, but rebounded to finish second by a half-length to Casie Coleman-trained Betting Line in 1:50 1/5 in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes last Saturday at Mohawk.

“We thought we had him in good shape going into his first start and it looked like he was going to go a good mile, he just needed a little bit more fine-tuning before the Somebeachsomewhere,” Alagna said. “We worked on a couple things, took his hobbles in a little bit, and he trained back good and we expected him to be back on his game in Canada. And he was very good. He was back to his old self.”

American Passport is owned by Brittany Farms, Riverview Racing, Alagna Racing, and Jodi Siamis. He is a son of American Ideal out of the mare Star Of The Show. He sold for $29,000 under the name Rose Run Rascal at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. His mother is a half-sister to both Ideal Treasure, who is the dam of Canadian Horse of the Year State Treasurer, and stakes-winner Ideal Matters. The family also includes world champion Hit Parade.

For his career, American Passport has won three of 13 races and earned $212,534.

“He’s an extremely high speed horse,” Alagna said. “He’s showed that he can sprint as hard as anything. It’s just a matter of keeping him strong and healthy. I think he’ll take care of the rest.”

Racing Hill, a homebred colt for owner Tom Hill, heads to his North America Cup elimination with two second-place finishes this season. He finished second by three-quarters of a length to War-N-Munn in a conditioned race at Mohawk last Saturday despite a 25 4/5 final quarter-mile and finished second by a nose to Major War in 1:49 2/5 in his seasonal debut in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands.

“He was very good up there,” Alagna said about last week’s effort. “We just needed a nice start over the track to make sure we were ready for (this) week. All systems are go. Last year he was a good-sized horse but he’s even bigger and more muscular this year. I think he’s got a big shot too.”

Racing Hill, a son of Roll With Joe out of the mare Chasing Ideals, has won five of 12 career races and earned $140,926.

Highlandbeachycove was unbeaten in his first two races this year, but finished ninth in his division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes last weekend. Alagna said the horse scoped sick following the race.

“He was loaded with mucous, everything down deep coming from his lungs,” Alagna said. “He didn’t get the best trip, but he still shouldn’t have gotten tired like he did. He’s a much better horse than that.

“We’re going to treat him and put him back in and give him a shot. He jogged back good, never missed a meal, had no temperature or anything like that. He just scoped bad. Hopefully we’ll get him cleaned up.”

Highlandbeachycove has won three of eight lifetime starts and earned $40,388. He is owned by Alagna Racing, Eagles Soar Partners, Joe Sbrocco, and Alan Alber. The colt, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Rockn Highland, sold for $100,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. His dam is a half-sister to millionaire Armbro Animate as well as Artistic Vision, the mother of 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven and $2-million-earner Clear Vision.

Saturday’s card at Mohawk also features two eliminations for the Fan Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old female pacers and three eliminations for the Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers.

Here are the full fields for the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations.

Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer
1st Elimination
1. Highlandbeachycove (Scott Zeron–Tony Alagna)
2. Check Six (Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke)
3. Control The Moment (Randy Waples–Brad Maxwell)
4. Lyons Snyder (Sylvain Filion–Mark Silva)
5. Beast Mode (Sylvain Filion–Robert Reid)
6. Betting Line (David Miller–Casie Coleman)
7. I'm Some Graduate (John Campbell–Tom Cancelliere)
8. Ideal Rocky (Corey Callahan–John Butenschoen)
9. Racing Hill (Brett Miller–Tony Alagna)

2nd Elimination
1. Nocturnal Bluechip (Paul MacDonell–Mark Steacy)
2. Boston Red Rocks (Tim Tetrick–Steve Elliott)
3. Brookdale Sonny (Mike Saftic–Dr. Ian Moore)
4. Nvestment Bluechip (Jody Jamieson–Dave Menary)
5. Michael's Victory (Sylvain Filion–Mark Silva)
6. Big Top Hanover (Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke)
7. Manhattan Beach (Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke)
8. American Passport (Scott Zeron–Tony Alagna)
9. Magnum J (Doug McNair–Gregg McNair)

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com