06/13/2015 10:50PM

Mohawk: Finalists set for $1 million NA Cup

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Wiggle It Jiggleit has never lost in his career.

Wiggle It Jiggleit made the North America Cup trials on Saturday his 11th career victory in as many starts and in doing so likely placed himself as the probable favorite for the June 20 C$1 million final at Mohawk. The altered son of Mr Wiggles was one of three elimination winners and 10 finalists for the marquee 3-year-old race.

Wiggle It Jiggleit steamrolled from the starting gate with explosive speed and then showed another gear—a much slower one—in backing the half to a pedestrian 56 3/5. “It went exactly as I wanted it to,” said driver Montrell Teague following the victory.

The half was only half the story because Wiggle It Jiggleit blitzed his final half in 52 4/5 and was a wrapped-up winner in a 1:49 2/5 mile, defeating a determined Arque Hanover with Yankee Bounty finishing third.

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Owned by George Teague and trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit will be one of three allowed to select their posts for the final in Tuesday’s draw.

“He’s the best horse I ever trained,” said George Teague following the victory, looking past former North America Cup winner Total Truth as well as Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue in the process.

In The Arsenal remained unbeaten in four starts as a 3-year-old capturing the second $50,000 North America Cup elimination for driver Brian Sears. The son of American Ideal left the gate and allowed the dust to settle as Go Daddy Go and John Campbell put the field in line through fractions of 26 3/5 and 54 4/5. Sears put In The Arsenal in gear on the turn and met the leader on even terms through a rated 1:22 3/5 three quarters. In the stretch, In The Arsenal asserted himself and confidently went by the leader. Sears actively kept an eye on the competition without stressing his colt and In The Arsenal measured the win in 1:49 4/5. Penji Hanover knifed between horses for second with Good Friday Three blasting wide from the rear for third.

“He did it the hard way,” said Kelvin Harrison, In The Arsenal’s conditioner. “He’s a whole lot smarter this year and he knows what to do.”

White Birch Farm and In The Arsenal Racing own In The Arsenal, now with career earnings in excess of $600,000.

Wakizashi Hanover stayed off the pace and then rolled home powerfully to capture the third and final North America Cup trial as a 6-1 outsider. Driver Tim Tetrick guided the son of Dragon Again for trainer Joann Looney-King.

There was plenty of early action in the race with 1-5 favorite Artspeak leaving a little and settling in mid-pack. Rock N Roll World blasted to the front initially, but yielded to Split The House past the 26 3/5 opening quarter. Betting Exchange and David Miller moved quickly at that point, but needed the second quarter to clear in 54 2/5. Betting Exchange had control as Split The House pulled the pocket midway on the final turn. Sicily also approached with Artspeak third over and the race-winner setting up fourth over. Betting Exchange still led through a 1:22 4/5 three quarter clocking, but Tetrick moved Wakizashi Hanover four wide late on the turn and the gelding flew past the favorite and stormed past the leaders. Artspeak eventually caught gear to finish second with Betting Exchange gamely holding third.

Owned by Tri County Stable, Wakizashi Hanover paced to a 1:49 2/5 career best clocking.

“I was very confident in him coming in,” said Tetrick. “Artspeak was struggling on the turn and I just let him rip and he took off.”

In addition to the top three in each elimination, Hurrikane Ali, who finished fourth in the first division, drew into the final to complete the field of 10.