June 13, 2017 – The post position draw for the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup took place today (Tuesday, June 13) at Mohawk Racetrack. The NA Cup will spearhead a spectacular evening of stakes racing this Saturday (June 17) at the Campbellville, Ont. oval, and the top three-year-old pacers on the continent will be the main attraction.
Matt Martin of the Toronto Maple Leafs served as the special guest drawmaster for the event.
Trot Insider learned earlier in the morning that David Miller, who won eliminations with both Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside in the eliminations, will steer Fear The Dragon in the final.
Prior to the open post position draw, the winners of the NA Cup eliminations selected their starting spots for the final. Via their victories last weekend, the elim winners – Huntsville, Downbytheseaside, Fear The Dragon – earned the right to choose their post position for Saturday’s final. The connections of Downbytheseaside picked first and selected Post 2. The connections of Huntsville then picked second and selected Post 3. The connections of Fear The Dragon then selected Post 4.
The open draw then took place and filled out the rest of the post positions for the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup.
The post positions for the Cup appear below.
$1 MILLION PEPSI NORTH AMERICA CUP
(Post – Horse – Driver – Trainer)
1 – Ocean Colony – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter
2 – Downbytheseaside – Brian Sears – Brian Brown
3 – Huntsville – Tim Tetrick – Ray Schnittker
4 – Fear The Dragon – David Miller – Brian Brown
5 – Sports Column – Chris Christoforou – Blake MacIntosh
6 – Classic Pro – Trevor Henry – Dr. Ian Moore
7 – Ozone Blue Chip – Brett Miller – Ronald Coyne Jr.
8 – Filibuster Hanover – Louis-Philippe Roy – Ron Burke
9 – Western Hill – Doug McNair – Tony Alagna
10 – Miso Fast – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke
Somebeachsomewhere colt Ocean Colony (PP1, Yannick Gingras) will be looking to strike from the rail in the lucrative NA Cup for trainer Jimmy Takter and reinsman Yannick Gingras. The bay won a pair of races in the United States to kick off his three-year-old campaign, and then followed those up with a speedy second-place effort to Fear The Dragon in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. Ocean Colony took a two-hole trip in his Cup elim last week and finished third to Fear The Dragon when all was said and done. Bred by Garth Bechtel (of Caledon East, Ont.), Ocean Colony is owned by Christina Takter (East Windsor, NJ), John Fielding (Toronto, Ont.), Hatfield Stables (Columbus, OH), Marvin Katz (Toronto, Ont.), Al Libfeld (Toronto, Ont.) and Sam Goldband (Toronto, Ont.)
Downbytheseaside (PP2, Brian Sears) is heading into the NA Cup final off of a two-length, 1:50.4 victory in his elimination. David Miller steered the Somebeachsomewhere colt to victory in his elim – which extended the bay’s 2017 unbeaten streak to four – but stated afterward that Downbytheseaside was not at his best during the race. Miller will drive fellow elim winner Fear The Dragon in the final, and pilot Brian Sears has picked up the mount on Downbytheseaside for Saturday. Brian Brown trains Downbytheseaside for owners Country Club Acres Inc. (Findlay, OH), Joe Sbrocco (Brecksville, OH), Richard Lombardo (Solon, OH) and Diamond Creek Racing (Wellsville, PA). The colt has won 12 of his 17 career races, has never finished off the board, and has banked more than $858,000 in overall purses.
The Ray Schnittker-trained Huntsville (PP3, Tim Tetrick) has been a force on the racetrack in his 15 career starts, as he has posted 10 wins and has never finished worse than second. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was sent away at five cents on the dollar in his NA Cup elim and he didn’t disappoint his backers. Huntsville grabbed the lead at the halfway point in his elimination and went on to register a four and a quarter-length, 1:49.1 victory, which was the fastest clocking in the elims. Schnittker (of Middletown, NY) co-owns the colt with his fellow breeder, Charles Iannazzo (Tappan, NY), along with Ted Gewertz (New York, NY) and Steven Arnold (Purchase, NY).
Fear The Dragon (PP4, David Miller) was on his game in last weekend’s NA Cup elims, as the son of Dragon Again paced to a one and a half-length win in 1:50. The colt jumped over a fallen head number in the homestretch, but quickly recovered and went on to post the victory for trainer Brian Brown and pilot David Miller, who will steer the bay in the final. Emerald Highlands Farm (Mount Vernon, OH) owns Fear The Dragon, who is a perfect five-for-five this season and has won 10 of his 16 career starts. The bay has more than $325,000 in career purses heading into Saturday and has missed hitting the board just once in his career.
After a third-place finish behind Downbytheseaside in his Cup elim, Sports Column (PP5, Chris Christoforou) will look to put it all together this Saturday when all the money is on the line. The Sportswriter colt was plucked for $20,000 as a yearling and has earned $243,000 racing out of the barn of trainer Blake MacIntosh. Although Sports Column has yet to record a win in his four starts this year, the colt still boasts a solid career slate of 4-2-3 from 10 starts. He won in 1:52.1 over Mohawk last year at age two and would surely love to record the biggest win of his career in Saturday’s marquee event.
Ontario-sired Shadow Play colt Classic Pro (PP6, Trevor Henry) will start mid-gate on Saturday and will look to improve on his second-place finish in his Cup elimination. The bay started his season by racing through the conditioned ranks over Mohawk and then made a miscue in his division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. After a qualifying mile, Classic Pro jumped into the Cup elims last week where he finished second behind Huntsville, who many have picked to win it all. Classic Pro is owned by his trainer, Dr. Ian Moore (Puslinch, Ont.), R G McGroup Ltd. (Bathurst, NB) and former Montreal Canadiens great Serge Savard (St-Bruno, QC).
Bettors Delight gelding Ozone Blue Chip (PP7, Brett Miller) will look to upset the apple cart in the Cup final. Trained by Ronald Coyne Jr. and driven by Brett Miller, Ozone Blue Chip had the daunting task of going first-up against Huntsville in his elim last Saturday. Although his bid was rebuffed and he finished more than four lengths in arrears of the winner, Ozone Blue Chip was able to hold on for third place. The $30,000 yearling purchase has recorded one win from five starts this year and would put a charge into the Mohawk tote board with a win on Saturday. Ron Coyne Stables Inc. (New Egypt, NJ) shares ownership of the gelding along with Canadian Blair Corbeil (Beaumont, AB) and Christopher Mazzone (Palm Harbor, FL).
Although he has only recorded one win in four starts this season, Filibuster Hanover (PP8, Louis-Philippe Roy) has been right there amongst some of the better ‘glamour boys’ this season. To go along with his lone win, the Somebeachsomewhere gelding has recorded three second-place finishes, including his runner-up performance to Fear The Dragon in his Cup elim last week. A member of the always-dangerous ‘Burke Brigade,’ Filibuster Hanover is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC (Fredericktown, PA), Joseph Di Scala Jr. (Katonah, NY), J And T Silva Stables LLC (Long Beach, NY) and Weaver Bruscemi LLC (Canonsburg, PA).
A homebred of Hamilton, Ont.’s Tom Hill, Western Ideal gelding Western Hill (PP9, Doug McNair) will have the arduous task of trying to capture the NA Cup final from the nine-hole this Saturday. The bay will be making his fourth start of the season when he faces the gate this weekend. After a tightener in a Mohawk overnight to start the season, Western Hill turned around and won a conditioned race over Mohawk before entering the Cup elims. He faced Downbytheseaside in his Cup elim and finished second, two lengths in arrears of the eventual winner.
After having been the fourth-place finisher in the Cup elims that was lucky enough to draw into the final, Miso Fast (PP10, Matt Kakaley) was slapped by the post position gods on Tuesday, as the Roll With Joe colt drew the worst starting spot of them all. The Ron Burke-trained bay has posted a record of 1-2-0 from five starts this year. After having started from Post 8 in his elimination, Miso Fast gave a good effort to get up with the leaders, but ultimately ended up finishing more than six lengths back of Huntsville. Burke owns the colt along with the Our Horse Cents Stables (Melville, NY) and J And T Silva Stables LLC (Long Beach, NY).