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Wakizashi Hanover winning the 2015 North America Cup.
The 33rd running of the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk, one of the most important races on the continent for three year old pacers, will be run Saturday night June 18. Sponsored by Pepsi since 2001 and with a purse of $1 million (Canadian) it is the richest harness race in Canada and a key prep for the Pacing Triple Crown.
Unlike in thoroughbred racing, almost all harness races are run at a mile and entry into the finals of major stakes races involves eliminations the week before. For the North America Cup, two elimination races were run on Saturday, June 11th, and were won by Betting Line and Boston Red Rocks. These victories gave their connections the right to select their post positions first, while the rest of the field was drawn at random. The top five finishers in each elimination race moved on to the final.
Honorary drawmaster Mitch Marner (left), an upcoming young hockey player drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015, with Mohawk racing secretary Scott McKelvie.
The honorary drawmaster traditionally has been a local hockey personality, and this year is no exception as Markham-born and Thornhill-raised Mitch Marner was invited to randomly draw the names while racing secretary Scott McKelvie drew the post positions in the usual double-blind system. Marner captained the OHL London Knights to the 2016 memorial Cup title, and was named the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy winner as tournament MVP and the Ed Chynoweth Trophy winner as leading scorer. Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the 4th overall pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft, he is expected to play in Toronto this fall, joining expected first ovrall pick Auston Matthews with the big club. At 5'11" and 164 lb, he intends to spend this off-season working out to bulk up for the NHL game, joking that his mother will force-feed him food he doesn't like in order to help with this goal.
The draw board
The race is the 12th on Saturday and goes to post at 10:40pm ET. It will be shown on TSN2 in Canada from 10-11pm, or you can watch it online at the Woodbine website. The North America Cup is part of an excellent card of racing with five additional stakes races, including the $438,000 Fan Hanover, the distaff counterpart to the Cup. You can view the full card of entries here. Below are the entries for the 2016 Pepsi North America Cup:
|1||Big Top Hanover||Yannick Gingras||Ron Burke||6-1|
|2||Lyons Snyder||Yannick Gingras||Mark Silva||4-1|
|3||Betting Line||David Miller||Casie Coleman||5-2|
|4||Boston Red Rocks||Tim Tetrick||Steve Elliott||3-1|
|5||Michaels Victory||Scott Zeron||Mark Silva||12-1|
|6||Racing Hill||Brett Miller||Tony Alagna||10-1|
|7||Beast Mode||Trevor Henry||Christopher Nicol||20-1|
|8||Manhattan Beach||Corey Callahan||Ron Burke||15-1|
|9||Control The Moment||Randy Waples||Brad Maxwell||8-1|
|10||Magnum J||Doug McNair||Gregg McNair||15-1|
|AE||American Passport||Scott Zeron||Tony Alagna||-|
The North America Cup Trophy
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