06/06/2012 8:24AM

Mohawk: Coleman has prime candidates for the North America Cup and Fan Hanover

New Image Media
Casie Coleman is loaded for the North America Cup eliminations on Saturday

On Saturday (June 9) at Mohawk Racetrack, trainer Casie Coleman will send out three stakes hopefuls looking for the opportunity to earn a spot in the rich finals the following week.

Michael’s Power leads the Coleman stable charge in the first elimination of the $50,000 North America Cup. The 3-year-old son of Camluck drew the rail against nine others, including Art Rooney winner Pet Rock (post 2), NJSS Final victor Time To Roll (post 7), and A Rocknroll Dance (post 6), who was the post time favorite in the same Sire Stakes final.

“We may have hit the lighter division,” said Coleman on the competition for Michael’s Power. “He’s been ultra-impressive and very sharp. Realistically he should be undefeated.”

Coleman holds the gelding on high regard and feels she has a big chance of making and possibly winning the $1.5 million final on June 16.

“I think my colt is as good as any in there,” said Coleman, who admitted she had about five other 3-year-old pacers in her barn capable of a 1:50 clocking that she elected not to enter because of the tough competition.

Michael’s Power has six wins in seven starts. He has earned $382,400 in his career and is fresh off a win in the $600,000 Upper Canada Cup at Georgian Downs.

Should Michael’s Power finish in the top five on Saturday and make the final, he will likely meet up with current divisional leader Sweet Lou, who is perfect in two starts this year and already owns a 1:49 3/5 victory in 2012. Sweet Lou starts from the rail in the second elimination against a stacked field that includes: I Fought Dalaw (post 2), Simply Business (post 3), Hurrikane Kingcole (post 4), Warrawee Needy (post 6), and four other hopefuls.
Coleman also has two entered in a pair of $35,000 eliminations for the Fan Hanover – one favorite and one roll of the dice.

Sarandon Blue Chip is fresh off a NJSS win of her own in the 3-year-old filly division. She paced a sparkling 1:50 3/5 mile while appearing well within herself crossing the wire.

“She was just awesome,” said Coleman on her filly’s NJSS performance. “Dave (Miller) said she was very handy. "She came out of the race good and she seems sharp,” continued Coleman, who was eagerly awaiting the filly’s arrival in Canada on Tuesday night (June 5).

Sarandon Blue Chip, who was unraced as a 2-year-old, is undefeated in two trips to the track for Coleman, who says the daughter of Western Ideal-Molly Can Do reminds her most of Yellow Diamond, a millionaire filly which she trained for a few starts in 2009.

While Sarandon Blue Chip (post 3) should be the favorite come post time for the 13-race card at Mohawk, she is certainly no lock. Pirouette Hanover (post 2), who finished second to Sarandon Blue Chip last week as the favorite, Jet Wash (fresh off 1:50 3/5 Onatrio-sired win), and Angel Scent (2 for 2 in 2012) are all prime players vying for a spot in the $600,000C final.

In the second elimination for the Fan Hanover, Coleman’s other entrant Persistent will have her work cut out for her. Another daughter of Western Ideal, Persistent (post 7) will face the nearly impossible task of defeating divisional standouts American Jewel (post 8) and Economy Terror (post 2).

“We got unlucky at the draw and I was hoping they would get three divisions instead of two,” said Coleman.

“She’s a very nice filly who has been winning handily,” she continued. “We are rolling the dice and taking a shot. If she is good enough, great. If not we will move on to plan B.”

One Coleman horse you will not see on Saturday but will be on the track in the $100,000 Gold Cup on June 16 is her top 4-year-old Betterthancheddar. The star pacer is perfect in three 2012 starts while facing somewhat easy competition in the Open ranks in Canada.

Betterthancheddar is skipping the Bettor’s Delight at Tioga Downs on June 10 where he would have faced much tougher competition.

“We decided to leave him in Toronto for the Mohawk Gold Cup,” said Coleman, whose stable is based mainly in Canada. “It is a big race for me and I’ve never won it.”

After the Gold Cup, Betterthancheddar will move on to Pocono Downs to tackle the division’s elite. Eliminations for the $500,000 Ben Franklin are scheduled for June 23, with the final on June 30.

“It would have been too tough of a trip to send him to [Tioga and Pocono],” said Coleman, who is “unofficially” expecting Betterthancheddar to race as a 5-year-old. “I’m trying to manage him and pick my spots since we are leaning towards racing him next year, though I’m not the only owner making decisions.”

Although he is facing older horses for the first time in 2012, Coleman remains very high on Betterthancheddar’s talent.

“Ever since day one I’ve said he is the fastest horse I’ve ever trained,” said Coleman. “So far the fastest horse I’ve raced was American Ideal, who went 1:47 4/5 (2005). I do believe he can beat that this year,” predicted Coleman, who chuckled, “maybe we shouldn’t print that.”

Post time for the Mohawk Card on Saturday is 7:10 P.M.