06/08/2013 10:04PM

Mohawk: Field set for $1,000,000 North America Cup

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Captaintreacherous will be the likely favorite in the North America Cup final on June 15.

The Standardbred racing community has been waiting all year for Captaintreacherous to have a chance to really show what he can accomplish. On Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, in the first of three eliminations for the $1,000,000 North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers, the Captain was tested and he passed with flying colors.

Starting from post five in a field of seven, the heavily favored Captaintreacherous was one of three leavers. After See And Ski took over from Evenin Of Pleasure, Captaintreacherous was driven on to the lead by Tim Tetrick well past the 26 3/5 opening quarter.

Once in charge, Tetrick backed down the half to just 55 seconds as Moonliteonthebeach began to get in gear first on the rim. Moonliteonthebeach applied some mild pressure to the chalk while followed closely by Captive Audience and Sunshine Beach in the outer flow.

With a stepped up 27-second third quarter, Captaintreacherous would put away Moonliteonthebeach and meet a strong and fresh stretch foe in Captive Audience. At one point it appeared that the Captain would go down with the ship. But Tetrick went to work and put the son of Somebeachsomewhere to an all out drive. Captaintreacherous not only fended off Captive Audience, but he appeared to be edging away in the last few steps of the 1:48 4/5 winning mile.

“I wanted to put him up close and do a little work; make sure he’s tight for next week,” said Tetrick. “When I saw the other horse, he dug back in. He’s kind of a lazy horse.”

Captaintreacherous is now perfect in two starts this year for trainer Tony Alagna and ownership group Captaintreacherous Racing. The elimination victory allows him the chance to pick his post in the June 15 Final. Captive Audience and Sunshine Beach also advanced.

In the second elimination, Fool Me Once one-upped the Captain with an even faster 1:48 1/5 winning mile.

Fool Me Once went directly to the front. Rockin Amadeus found his way into the pocket but allowed a parked out Martini Hanover to take that spot past a solid 26 2/5 opening quarter. After the half in 54 1/5, Rockin Amadeus was on the move and was able to push Fool Me Once to a sparkling 1:21 2/5 third quarter while hardly getting past his wheel disk.

The field hit the head of the stretch with Fool Me Once simply pulling clear from Rockin Amadeus and maintaining his margin over the pocket-sitting Martini Hanover, who got nipped at the wire by a late firing Wake Up Peter.

“I didn’t really want the front, but I got locked in last week,” said driver Sylvain Filion on his reasoning for being aggressive.

Fool Me Once is trained and co-owned by Mark Austin along with Daniel Smith. The son of Art Major has four wins in five starts this year.

Capturing the final North America Cup elimination was Vegas Vacation.

Sent off as the overwhelming public choice, Vegas Vacation waited for Apprentice Hanover to wrestle the early lead away from Resistance Futile past a 26 2/5 quarter before rushing to the front. Once on top, driver Scott Zeron had only a brief breather past the half in 54 1/5.

Johny Rock applied heavy pressure in the28 2/5 third quarter, with Odds On Equuleus breathing down his neck behind cover.

In the stretch, Vegas Vacation was put to a steady drive and held Odds On Equuleus at bay easily enough in a 1:49 mile. Apprentice Hanover raced evenly in the stretch for third and a spot in the final.

“We were just waiting to see what they (the other early speed horses) were doing up front before making our move,” said Zeron on his tactics.

Trainer Casie Coleman sent out the son of Bettors Delight for owners West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella, Anthony Beaton and Phyllis Saunders.

Lucking into the last spot on the gate for the $1 million Final was Twilight Bonfire, who drew in by lot.

I Luv The Nitelife dominated in the Fan Hanover elimination for 3-year-old fillies. She hung rated fractions of 26 4/5, 56 and 1:24 before sprinting to an easy 1:50 4/5 final time. Nine of the 10 mares signed on advanced to next week’s final to join Jerseylicious, who took a bye. Handsoffmycookie was eliminated.

The Goodtimes eliminations for second-year trotting colts were won by Gotta Secret (1:55) and Toocool Forschool (1:53 4/5). Joining them in the final on June 15 will be: Hamdalla, Denver, Rolls Blue Chip, Bwt Taj, Flanagan Memory, Rossini, Caveat Emptor and Brewmaster.