The $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup, held at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ontario, just west of Toronto, is the richest pacing race in the world and features the top 3-year-old pacers in North America going the standard distance of 1 mile, two turns of the 7 furlong stonedust oval, in what has become a major prep for the Triple Crown of Pacing. Celebrating its 28th running this year, the race has seen some of the greatest names in harness racing including Well Said, Somebeachsomewhere, Gallo Blue Chip, and the great Cam Fella who won the event when it was still called the Queen City Pace.
Three elimination heats were contested at Mohawk last Saturday night, with the rich final to be run this Saturday, June 18. Post positions for the Cup were drawn at a special lunch-hour event at Mohawk on Tuesday. Luke Schenn, a defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs and a gold medal winner for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships, was on hand to assist as the Honorary Drawmaster. While on stage he talked about his hockey career, the thrill of being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and his opinions on the Stanley Cup Finals which conclude this week.
The posts were determined in two stages. In the first stage, Schenn randomly drew the names of the three elimination winners, to determine the order in which those entrants' connections can come up on stage to pick the post position. 2-1 morning line favorite Big Bad John will start from post 4 as selected by trainer Ron Potter, who said, "He’s got a slick gait but to me it’s all about his attitude. Every time he goes out there, it’s a fight to him and he’s got the biggest heart, he wants to win. I was really nervous coming into the elimination, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m thrilled to be in the final." The son of Western Hanover is unbeaten in four starts this year and overall has won 11 of 13 career outings for owner Winchester Baye Acres Inc, and will have regular driver Brett Miller in the sulky. Trainer Carl Jamieson picked post 2 for his 5-2 second choice Up the Credit. Carl's son Jody, who drove 2007 winner Tell All, will drive. He said, "Picking third, post 2 was left and it’s a good spot. I think I will be able to get whoever I want in front of me and behind me and have a good trip from there. Posts 1 through 7, it’s a tightly contested race. It should be a great race."
After those had been taken, the rest of the field was drawn using the normal double-blind system.
The Pepsi North America Cup will go to post at 9:40pm ET on Saturday night carded as race 7 of a 13 race card. The race will be broadcast live on The Score network in Canada in a special telecast from 8:30 - 10:00PM ET, and will be available at simulcast locations across North America. In addition, the North America Cup card will be available on the TVG television network and account wagering system in the United States.
The card also includes three other rich stakes races, each with a full field of 10 drawn with 1 also-eligible. Kicking off the stakes action will be the $519,000 Elegantimage Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies, carded as race 3 at 7:53pm. The $347,000 Goodtimes Stakes, for 3-year-old trotters, will be race 5 at 8:41pm. The final stakes of the night will be the $601,000 Fan Hanover, the distaff counterpart to the Cup, carded as race 9 at 10:28pm.
|1||Big Jim||Phil Hudon||James "Friday" Dean||7-1|
|2||Up The Credit||Jody Jamieson||Carl Jamieson||5-2|
|3||Powerful Mist||David Miller||Wayne Givens||6-1|
|4||Big Bad John||Brett Miller||Ronald Potter||2-1|
|5||Shadyshark Hanover||Tim Tetrick||Ervin Miller||5-1|
|6||Rockabillie||Brian Sears||Dr. Ian Moore||15-1|
|7||Roll With Joe||Randall Waples||Edward Hart||8-1|
|8||Eighteen||Paul MacDonell||Dr. Ian Moore||25-1|
|9||Dutch Richman||Scott Zeron||Ervin Miller||30-1|
|10||Foreclosure N||Sylvain Filion||Mark Steacy||25-1|