06/11/2015 4:37PM

Mohawk: Artspeak headlines North America Cup elims

Derick Giwner
Artspeak has won his two starts this year in 1:49 and 1:48 4/5.

Trainer Tony Alagna has been there before. The conditioner captured the North America Cup in 2013 with Captaintreacherous and returns on Saturday night at Mohawk with three colts looking for placement in the June 20 C$1 million final.

“Artspeak trained well this morning,” said Alagna Wednesday. “We just shipped him up.”

Artspeak landed post seven in the last of three $50,000 eliminations for the Cup on Saturday, race eight on the program. The son of Western Ideal enters the contest with consecutive victories in New Jersey Sire Stakes action at the Meadowlands, including a 1:48 4/5 effort in the final on May 30.

“The only horse that I can compare him to as far as the kind of instant acceleration he has would be Lis Mara,” said Alagna about the gifted colt with 10 wins in 12 lifetime starts. Indeed moving pictures speak louder than words and in Artspeak’s case faster than words. In the New Jersey Sire Stakes final, Artspeak made a breathtaking move on the backstretch to secure the front and then was gone with driver Scott Zeron along for the ride.

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The competition level steps up a grade on Saturday night considerably, with only the top three in each division assured a spot in the final. Last year’s Breeders Crown winner Traceur Hanover starts inside of Artspeak from post six. With but one qualifier and a fourth-place finish in a Somebeachsomewhere division last Saturday, Traceur Hanover will need to show improvement.

Wakizashi Hanover has been brilliant racing in Pennsylvania with three victories in four starts on the year including a 1:50 2/5 mile for trainer Joann Looney-King. Tim Tetrick will be behind the son of Dragon Again from the rail position.

Betting Exchange nearly passed the more highly regarded In The Arsenal in the Rooney final and he’ll tackle bigger game from post two in this division.

Alagna hopes to find a spot in the final for Trading Up. “He raced big in the Somebeachsomewhere,” said Alagna, “If he didn’t take a couple of bad steps after coming wide, I think he could have been second.”

Trading Up drew post two in the first N.A. Cup elimination, race two on the card. This could prove to be the toughest of the three considering the presence of the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit (post five) in the field.

“You have to be concerned about Wiggle It Jiggleit,” said Alagna. “He’s done everything right so far.”

Montrell Teague has the assignment behind Wiggle It Jiggleit fresh of a scintillating 1:49 3/5 victory over a rain-soaked surface at Hoosier Park on May 30.

Hurrikane Ali may have been a touch too aggressively handled in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final, but the son of Rocknroll Hanover figures to bounce back in a big way in the Cup eliminations. He landed post four for trainer John McDermott and looks for his fourth victory in five seasonal starts.

The Ontario-bred Physicallyinclined has blossomed this spring for trainer Dr. Ian Moore. The Mach Three-sired colt most recently went five-eighths of a mile without cover, barely losing an Ontario Gold event at Western Fair. Physicallyinclined landed post eight.

Rooney winner In The Arsenal looks to keep his sophomore slate unblemished from post seven for trainer Kelvin Harrison in the other N.A. Cup elimination (race 6). His task won’t be easy given the presence of Hall of Famers John Campbell and Bob McIntosh supporting Go Daddy Go from the rail. In The Arsenal has done everything right this year with the exception of a little side-step at the wire in the Rooney on May 30 at Yonkers Raceway. As for Go Daddy Go, the homebred son of Ponder was a solid second from post ten in last week’s Somebeachsomewhere and should be rounding into peak condition.

Alagna has high hopes for Revenge Shark (post six) in this division. “He was really good in his own right finishing third behind Artspeak,” Alagna said, pointing to Revenge Shark’s effort in the NJSS final. “He deserves a shot against these.”

There could be some buried treasure in this division with Allbeef N Nobull, a colt that was blocked through the stretch in last week’s Somebeachsomewhere, and Dudes The Man, who may be peaking at the right time. Allbeef N Nobull drew post four and he steps into the Cup trials having finished first or second in all but one of his starts this year. Dudes The Man has been primed for action in Ontario by trainer Howard Okusko Jr. as evidenced by his sparkling 1:50 3/5 career best mile in the Somebeachsomewhere. Dudes The Man starts from post eight with Corey Callahan listed in the bike.

The 13-race card at Mohawk kicks off at 7:25 p.m. and also showcases eliminations for the Fan Hanover featuring Horse of the Year JK She’salady and the Roses R Red for older pacing mares.