06/16/2015 3:31PM

North America Cup: Post positions drawn for C$1 million final

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Last weekend’s elimination winners Wiggle It Jiggleit, Wakizashi Hanover and In The Arsenal headline a field of 10 for the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday (June 20) at Mohawk Racetrack.

The 32nd edition of the world’s richest pacing event, showcasing the finest 3-year-olds on the continent, will go postward at 10:40 p.m. and will be shown live on TSN1 in a special one-hour presentation from 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET and on DRF.com.   

Post positions were drawn Tuesday at Mohawk, with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Peter Holland as the guest drawmaster.

Last Saturday, three eliminations were held to determine the field for the final.   The top three finishers in each, plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot, qualified.  In addition, the three winners earned their connections the right to choose a post position before the balance of the field is drawn.  Seventeen of the past 31 Cup winners won their elimination.

The 8/5 morning line favorite is the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit, owned by George Teague Jr. of Harrington, Delaware and driven by his son, Montrell.  Turned over to trainer Clyde Francis in February, the son of Mr Wiggles has been positively brilliant all season. Francis selected post three for the colt at Tuesday’s draw.

Wiggle It Jiggleit set a world mark of 1:49 for 3-year-old pacers on a half-mile track on May 11 at Harrington, winning by 14 1/4 lengths.   He also won the first Cup elim last Saturday, coasting home by six lengths in 1:49 2/5.   Wiggle It Jiggleit sports a perfect 11-for-11 career record after starting only once as a 2-year-old, but has only banked a relatively modest $167,242.

The last undefeated horse to win the Cup was the incomparable Somebeachsomewhere in 2008. Teague also co-owned and campaigned 2006 Cup winner Total Truth and 2004 Harness Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue.

Wakizashi Hanover, owned by Tri County Stable of Truro, Nova Scotia, scored an upset in the third elim, beating the 1-5 favorite Artspeak by one and three-quarter lengths.   The son of Dragon Again, who was driven by Tim Tetrick, was clocked in 1:49 2/5, a life best. 

The connections of Wakizashi Hanover selected post two for the rich final and he has been installed as the 5/2 second choice. Overall, he’s taken six of 11 career starts, with four second-place finishes for trainer Joann Looney-King.  Tetrick won the 2013 Cup with Captaintreacherous.

In The Arsenal, trained by Kelvin Harrison, won his elim by a half-length over Penji Hanover in 1:49 4/5.  His connections selected post five for the million-dollar final.

The son of American Ideal is unbeaten in four starts this year and won the Rooney final at Yonkers on May 30.   With 10 wins in 15 career outings, he’s the field’s second leading money-earner with $606,843.   Brian Sears, who won the 2005 Cup with Rocknroll Hanover and last year’s renewal with JK Endofanera, will drive In The Arsenal. He is 7/2 on the morning line.

Artspeak, driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Tony Alagna, has won two of three races this year after a monstrous juvenile campaign which saw the son of Western Ideal win eight of 10 starts. His big wins in 2014 included the rich Metro Pace at Mohawk and Governor’s Cup at Woodbine, which spurred him on to 2-year-old colt pacer championship honors in both Canada and the United States.   However, the field’s leading money winner with $878,227 was upset by Wakizashi Hanover in his elim and drew post ten for the final. Alagna trained 2013 Cup winner Captaintreacherous.

Trainer Casie Coleman, who won the 2010 Pepsi North America Cup with Sportswriter, will send out Arque Hanover, a three-time winner in 15 starts who finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in his elim.  The Coleman trainee drew post seven for Saturday’s race.  The three-time winner is co-owned by three Ontarians, Jeffrey Gillis of Hillsburgh, Mac Nichol of Burlington and Big Als Stables of Woodbridge, along with Buffalo’s Gerald Stay.

Betting Exchange, trained and co-owned by Thomas Fanning of Jackson, New Jersey, finished third to Wakizashi Hanover in his elimination following a head loss to In The Arsenal in the $300,000 Rooney Final at Yonkers.   David Miller, who has twice finished second and twice third in the Cup, will drive the son of 2001 Cup winner Bettors Delight from post four.

North America’s leading trainer Ron Burke, who won last year’s Cup with JK Endofanera, has Yankee Bounty in the line-up from post six.  The son of 2003 Cup winner Yankee Cruiser finished third to Wiggle It Jiggleit in his elim.  Last year, he won eight of 10 starts and $328,501 but is winless in five outings this season.  Corey Callahan drives.

Penji Hanover, a son of last year’s Cup winning sire Art Major, finished a troubled second, just a half-length behind In The Arsenal in his elim, after also finishing second in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere on June 6.  Trained by Ben Wallace, Penji Hanover will be driven by Chris Christoforou from post nine.

Good Friday Three, trained by Rob Fellows for William Mackay of Grimsby and co-breeders David Serwatuk of Hamilton and Robin Watts of Burlington, closed to finish third to In The Arsenal in his elim, just three-quarters of a length behind.   The son of Mach Three, who sired Somebeachsomewhere, is the only horse in the field who did not race as a 2-year-old.   He’s won two of nine starts and will start from the rail.

Hurrikane Ali, trained by John McDermott, finished fourth to Wiggle It Jiggleit in his elim but drew into the final.  After going winless in five trips last year, the son of 2005 Cup winner Rocknroll Hanover has taken three of five starts this year with driver Yannick Gingras. The McDermott trainee has post eight in the final.

In 2012, Thinking Out Loud set the stakes record of 1:47 4/5 at Mohawk, eclipsing the former mark of 1:48 1/5 established by Well Said in 2009. Hall of Famer Bettors Delight won the race by the largest margin, four and one-half lengths in 2001.

Other winners of the Cup, which began in 1984 at Greenwood Raceway, include such champions as Jate Lobell (1987), Precious Bunny (1991), Presidential Ball (1993), Cams Card Shark (1994), Gallo Blue Chip (2000), Rocknroll Hanover (2005), Somebeachsomewhere (2008) and Captaintreacherous (2013).

The Cup was raced at Greenwood from 1984-93, followed by Woodbine from 1994-2006.  It was held at Mohawk Racetrack for the first time in 2007.  The shortest-priced winners, at $2.70, are Jate Lobell and Presidential Ball, while Goalie Jeff, in 1989, provided the highest win payoff, $93.60.

Horseplayers will get an added bonus on Pepsi North America Cup night when Mohawk will offer three Pick-4 wagers including an “All Stakes Pick-4”. The All Stakes Pick-4, with a $100,000 guaranteed pool, will run from Race 9 through 12 and features the $350,000 Roses Are Red for filly and mare pacers, Mohawk Gold Cup, Fan Hanover and concludes with the Pepsi North America Cup.

Post time for the first of 15 races on the spectacular Cup card is 6:30 p.m.

North America Cup Field
Post-Horse-Driver-Morning Line
1. Good Friday Three – TBA – 20/1
2. Wakizashi Hanover – Tim Tetrick – 5/2
3. Wiggle It Jiggleit – Montrell Teague – 8/5
4. Betting Exchange – David Miller – 15/1
5. In The Arsenal – Brian Sears – 7/2
6. Yankee Bounty – Corey Callahan – 20/1
7. Arque Hanover – TBA – 25/1
8. Hurrikane Ali – Yannick Gingras – 25/1
9. Penji Hanover – Chris Christoforou – 20/1
10. Artspeak – Scott Zeron – 5/1
AE: Split The House – Randy Waples – 15/1
 

-edited release (WEG)