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2016 North America Cup Entries

Wakizashi Hanover winning the 2015 North America Cup.

Date: 06/14/2016

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.
First run in 1984 at Greenwood Raceway, the race has featured a who's who of pacing history, with such winners as Jate Lobell, Precious Bunny, Gallo Blue Chip, Cam's Card Shark and Somebeachsomewhere. The late Cam Fella won the race in 1982 (when it was still called the Queen City Pace), and went on to sire four North America Cup winners: Goalie Jeff, Precious Bunny, Presidential Ball and Cam's Card Shark. 1987 winner Jate Lobell went on to sire three winners of his own: Safely Kept, David's Pass, and Gothic Dream. Last year's winner was Wakizashi Hanover who upset the heavy favorite and eventual Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit.

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
Betting Line won the first (and fastest) elimination heat and was also drawn to pick first. Trainer Casie Coleman chose post 3 for the 5-2 morning line favorite. The son of 2001 winner Bettors Delight comes here off 3 straight wins including this division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. Coleman is looking for her second Cup win after 2010 with Sportswriter, while driver David Miller is still looking for his first, in his 16th try. The second elimination was won by Boston Red Rocks, with trainer Steve Elliott taking post 4 for his 3-1 second choice. The son of 2005 winner Rocknroll Hanover leads all entrants in earnings with $735,418 and was last year's champion 2-year-old male pacer, having won his Breeders Crown race. Two-time NA Cup winner Tim Tetrick will be in the bike Saturday night. Third choice is 4-1 Lyons Snyder out of post 2. The son of 2009 winner Well Said was second behind Betting Line in his elimination, after winning the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and his Somebeachsomewhere division. Sylvain Filion gets the call for trainer Mark Silva.

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:

1Big Top HanoverYannick GingrasRon Burke6-1
2Lyons SnyderYannick GingrasMark Silva4-1
3Betting LineDavid MillerCasie Coleman5-2
4Boston Red RocksTim TetrickSteve Elliott3-1
5Michaels VictoryScott ZeronMark Silva12-1
6Racing HillBrett MillerTony Alagna10-1
7Beast ModeTrevor HenryChristopher Nicol20-1
8Manhattan BeachCorey CallahanRon Burke15-1
9Control The MomentRandy WaplesBrad Maxwell8-1
10Magnum JDoug McNairGregg McNair15-1
AEAmerican PassportScott ZeronTony Alagna-

The North America Cup Trophy
More North America Cup info:

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