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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #1

Published: April 18, 2017 10:25 am ET

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The countdown to the 2017 Pepsi North America Cup is on, with Trot Magazine profiling the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize.

Huntsville is the #1 pick in Trot Magazine's 2017 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book, listed at 3-1.

One of three sons of 2008 North America Cup winner Somebeachsomewhere to crack Trot's top 10, 2016 Dan Patch Award winner Huntsville won seven of 11 races and never finished worse than second as he posted earnings of $720,234. He enjoyed a six-race win streak that included victories in the Breeders Crown, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship en route to divisional honours.

His 1:49 mile in the International Stallion at The Red Mile equalled the world record for a two-year-old pacer.

Huntsville (Somebeachsomewhere - Wild West Show) was driven by Tim Tetrick and bred by trainer Schnittker and co-owner Charlie Iannazzo. He is co-owned by fellow New Yorkers Ted Gewertz and Steve Arnold.

Schnittker provided Trot Insider with an update following a training mile Saturday morning at The Meadowlands.

Where did he winter?

"At my farm in Goshen, N.Y."

When did you start back with him?

"Middle of February."

Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?

"He just got bigger and filled out. He's pretty tall anyway. Probably put on another hundred pounds."

Where are you at with him now?

"He trained in 1:53 today (Saturday, April 15) at The Meadowlands. And he was very good."

When are you looking to qualify him?

"If the weather is good, probably next Saturday (April 22)."

What will his early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi NA Cup?

"I'm probably going to go The Meadows (on May 6), then to Pocono (on May 21), then to the Cup. I didn't make him eligible to the Somebeachsomewhere...too many weeks away from home."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?

"Basically he's in everything; it's just a matter of where I want to go. Hopefully I have that problem."

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"He's got a good attitude and that's a key for good horses...He can leave, sit a hole, and he’s very comfortable. He really feels like he wants to get by at the end of the mile; towards the wire."

At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?

"He trained good, but there was a start [at Harrah's Philadelphia] where he was off for like 30 days in August...and I told Timmy I'd like to have keep coming from off the pace. He let Yannick [Gingras, driving Blood Line] go going to the half and Yannick's horse kind of stopped around the last turn. Dave Miller came first over [with Fear The Dragon], cleared, and he came out and he was still charging at the wire in a :51 mile. Right then I said 'this horse has got it'."

You've won major stakes on both the pacing and trotting side. Where does the North America Cup sit on Ray Schnittker's bucket list?

"I had one at Greenwood Raceway [in 1992] that I drove [No Twister] and I was fifth...that's how many years ago that was, and I had One More Laugh [in 2010] who didn't get a cheque but probably would have won if he got through.

"I'd love to win it...the North America Cup, other than the Meadowlands Pace it would be the next pacing race I'd want to win. And I think you do a good job up there and it's fun to watch...and I think it's even tougher to win than the Meadowlands Pace because it's earlier, and everybody is still fresh and sound."

How do you keep a horse like him in such good form over what looks to be a long and grueling season?

"During the year I'll back way off with him. If he gets in every week he won't train and he won't do anything. Just try to keep him sound and keep him going, and keep his attitude good."

"Once these good ones get conditioned, they don't lose condition. If I keep him happy, he'll keep going."

Previous Profiles:

Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #10
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #9
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #8
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #7
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #6
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #5
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #4
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #3
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #2

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