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Lather Up winning the 2018 North America Cup.
The 36th running of the Pepsi North America Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park, one of the most important races on the continent for three year old pacers, will be run Saturday night June 15. 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.
Honorary drawmaster Connor Brown (right), a Toronto Maple Leafs rightt winger, with Mohawk racing secretary Scott McKelvie.
The honorary drawmaster traditionally has been a local hockey personality, and this year is no exception as Toronto Maple Leafs 4th line left winger Connor Brown was invited to randomly draw the names while racing secretary Scott McKelvie drew the post positions in the usual double-blind system. The native of Toronto played junior hockey with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League before he was drafted 156th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joined the big club full time in 2016. Asked if he would rather have a Stanley Cup ring or a wedding ring, he said he is in a steady relationship so he hopes to have both rings very soon. His first NHL goal was against Frederik Anderson, then of the Anaheim Ducks, but is now his teammate with the Leafs. He played in all 82 regular season games in each of last 3 seasons, and as of the end of the 2018-19 season, has 43 goals and 56 assists, for 99 total points in 253 games.
WEG President and CEO Jim Lawson (right) with Honourary Drawmaster Connor Brown and Judith George of the Milton District Hospital Foundation, the official charity partner for the NA Cup
Honourary Drawmaster Connor Brown with the trophy and draw board
Trainer Brian Brown got first pick and chose post 4 for Workin Ona Mystery. The 2-1 morning line favorite is 8 for 9 lifetime, including the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at both Meadows and Pocono, followed by a career best 1:49 clocked when winning his elimination heat. Brown said, “‘Mystery’ didn’t scope as [well] after his race, so he’s actually in Lexington right now going through the hyperbaric chamber, so, technically, he’s supposed to be much better when he comes back this week.” Regular driver Tim Tetrick will be in the bike on Saturday night.
The other elimination winner was Bettors Wish. Chantal Mitchell, assistant to trainer Chris Ryder, chose post 3 for the 7-2 third choice. He comes here off his win in the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway, and is undefeated in his 4 starts this year. Mitchell said that the colt is "as consistent as consistent could be" and that "he's in the best shape he's ever been in." Regular driver Dexter Dunn tries to win his first North America Cup.
Completing the top three in the morning line is Captain Crunch who drew post 8 as the 5-2 second choice. After winning the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia (Chester), he was a disappointing 5th in his North America Cup elimination. Regular driver Scott Zeron is in the bike Saturday for trainer Nancy Johansson.
The race is the 11th on Saturday and goes to post at 10:14pm ET. It will be shown on TSN5 in Canada from 10-10:30pm, 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 $454,000 Fan Hanover, the distaff counterpart to the Cup for 3-year-old fillies as well as the $247,000 Goodtimes, the trotting equivalent. You can view the full card of entries here. Below are the entries for the 2019 Pepsi North America Cup:
|1||Aflame Hanover||Andrew McCarthy||Linda Schadel||20-1|
|2||De Los Cielos Deo||David Miller||Ron Burke||5-1|
|3||Bettors Wish||Dexter Dunn||Chris Ryder||7-2|
|4||Workin Ona Mystery||Tim Tetrick||Brian Brown||2-1|
|5||Captain Victorious||Yannick Gingras||Ron Burke||15-1|
|6||Tyga Hanover||Sylvain Filion||Ben Baillargeon||12-1|
|7||Best In Show||Bob McClure||Linda Toscano||15-1|
|8||Captain Crunch||Scott Zeron||Nancy Johansson||5-2|
|9||Hurrikane Emperor||Daniel Dube||John McDermott||15-1|
|10||Stag Party||Brian Sears||Casie Coleman||12-1|
|AE||Air Force Hanover||Yannick Gingras||Brian Brown|
The North America Cup Trophy
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