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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #9

Published: April 5, 2017 9:44 am ET

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

At 20-1, Ideal Wheel comes in at #9 in Trot Magazine's 2017 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

A $150,000 yearling purchase, Ideal Wheel has both talent and experience on his side. The lightly-raced stakes winner is owned by Burlington, Ontario's Mac Nichol and trained by Cambridge, Ontario's Casie Coleman. Those two participants hoisted the 2016 North America Cup after Betting Line was victorious. Coleman also captured the Cup in 2010 with Sportswriter.

Coleman provided Trot Insider with an update on the speedy son of American Ideal.

Where did he winter?

"He was with Dr. John Cummins, turned out at his farm in Kentucky, and then he came to me at the South Florida Training Center.

When did you start back with him?

"Right around the first of the year."

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

"When he ended his season we had problems with stomach ulcers on him that we'd been treating; that's the reason he tailed off at the end of his season. He wasn't looking good; he was underweight, he wasn't muscled up, I wasn't happy at all with him, just fighting the ulcers and trying to get him right. And he wasn't one of those horses that liked turnout.

"We got him back here and got him on a good plan for his stomach, got him back into his day-to-day routine and he's good now. He's gained most of weight back, he's got muscle on him and I'm really happy with him now."

Where are you at with him right now?

"I trained him on March 30 here in Florida in 2:02 in the bike and he was just awesome, I couldn't have been any happier with him. He's strong through his miles, he's not hot this year like his was last year. I'm sure everybody saw that race where he went 1:20 to the three-quarter pole...that definitely wasn't planned, he just kind of took off on David Miller and did that but he's got really good manners, good-gaited...I'm really happy with where he's at right now."

When will he qualify?

"I'll ship him home middle of April, April 18 we're leaving so I'd say it will be right around early May that we'll end up qualifying him...somewhere around there.

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

"My plan would be obviously the Somebeachsomewhere, like a race or two before the Somebeachsomewhere and then the Cup."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the NA Cup?

"He's fully staked; he's in the [little Brown] Jug, he's in the Breeders Crown, he's in pretty much everything."

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

"From Day One. Honestly, right from the time this horse was a baby."

What's his biggest asset/strength?

"His gait, he's got a phenomenal gait. He tries hard, and he's a smart colt."

You've won this race twice, including last year's edition with Betting Line. Is this race still as sought after for you even though you've won it twice?

"100% It's the North America Cup! There's going to be a huge fan base there, the place is always packed, it's a million-dollar's the highest purse race for a pacer and it's a great thrill just to be in the NA Cup. I've been lucky enough to win a couple of them. A three-peat would be pretty sweet so we'll definitely be giving it our best shot."

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