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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #10

Published: April 9, 2021 11:25 am ET

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With the scheduled date of the 2021 Pepsi North America Cup just over two months away, Trot Insider has profiled some of the race's top contenders as horses ready to compete for one of Canadian harness racing's biggest prizes.

At 24-1, Bayfield Beach begins the countdown at #10 in TROT Magazine's 2021 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

Bayfield Beach races for connections very familiar to North America Cup success. His breeder, Schooner II Stable, famously campaigned the colt's sire, Somebeachsomewhere, to a victory in the race in 2008, while his trainer Brian Brown won his first "Cup" in 2017 with Fear The Dragon. This Brian Brown trainee, with one win from 13 starts, gathered cheques in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and came a half-length from winning the $720,000 Metro Pace.

All in all, Bayfield Beach has banked $301,978 for owners Crossover Racing, Country Club Acres Inc., Richard Lombardo and Joe Sbrocco. Trot Insider caught up with trainer Brian Brown for an update on Bayfield Beach.

Where did he winter and when did you start back with him?

"He was turned out at Spring Run Farm and then I picked him up when we went south. He started late December. I trained him [Wednesday] in [1:]57 and a piece. He’ll qualify next Wednesday (April 14) at Miami Valley."

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

"I think the only real change, he probably got a little taller. He doesn’t really look a lot different, even if he is a little taller, but he does act a little bit smarter. You know last year, he thought everything was a game. You had to make him do everything. He’d some days train and you’d be at the top of the stretch in between a couple of horses to start the mile [and] he’d go to bucking...just play all the time. He even did that after he was racing. You’d be out training and he’d go to bucking and playing. He has not done that this year. He does act more mature and racier."

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

"I don’t know if I’ll qualify him twice and then head to Pennsylvania. I don’t know if I’ll go right into the first sires stake. It’ll depend on how he qualifies. I might even qualify once [and] put him in a non-winners of two. I just don’t know yet.

"I really would like to have one more week, an extra week between now and the first leg of the sires stake, so I could qualify twice and race once. Then I’d really know if I was ready for PA Sires Stake. You know, there was a colt at Pocono the other day that went [1:]50.2 already. I just don’t want to hurt the horse [in] his first start. So we have options. We just don’t know, until we get at least the first qualifier in, what we do from there. Will we go to the second qualifier, or do we throw him in a non-winners of two? Then we go from there."

Did you get the COVID-19 vaccine / Will you and your team be vaccinated by the time the North America Cup rolls around?

"We haven’t planned that out yet, but now that you’ve mentioned it I will talk to his groom tomorrow and see if she is interested in getting the vaccination. I don’t know if she can, and I don’t know what her feelings are about it. If she didn’t want to get the vaccination and the Canadian government says ‘Unless you’re an American and don’t have a vaccination, you’re not coming across,’ that’d be something we need to start thinking about. If she doesn’t want to get it, it’s fine. I’ll either take him up myself if they let me come across because I was vaccinated, or I just send him back up there. Ben [Hollingsworth] did a great job with him last year.

"Beau [Brian's son] is trying to go up there — he was actually planning on leaving this past Monday and going to Canada and drive and try to race some horses up there. If he was up there, I’d send him up to Beau. We have options; Teesha [Symes] is there. However it works out, the main thing is we have to get him ready for the race."

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

"He’s staked to everything."

What's his biggest asset / strength?

"I think, sure he has some speed and talent, whatever you want to call it. But the horse, he’s good-gaited and he tries. He’s lazy, but you can make him do it. You have to show him what to do and make him do it, but he can do it. You can start him up and leave, and then just take him right off. He can leave; he has left at times last year and put him in spots. But that might be his best attribute, his manners. You can leave hard, take him off and do whatever you want."

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

"We might’ve had that in the back of our mind even after his first race. He won his first sire stake in [1:]52 and a piece, that was his first lifetime start. After the Metro, he was second, you probably have a whole lot better idea that he could possibly be that kind of horse."

Any three-year-old stablemates in the barn right now that are paid up and also looking promising?

"I have Thelegend Hanover. He hasn’t been paid up yet. He did train much better today than the race Friday at Hoosier. He did finish up the year good; he was second in [1:]51.1 at Pocono in a sire stake, beat about a half length. The horse has ability, but we had to geld him the early fall. He got to where he wasn’t trying hard. I didn’t even take him to Lexington, I raced him here in Delaware and then I think I quit with him and gelded him. He has come back decent, but he just hasn’t been sharp yet. He did train much better today and we’ll see how he races Friday, whether we even make that last payment on him."

As someone who's been to and won the North America Cup before, how does it feel to have another contender in the race?

"I believe Bayfield Beach has an outside shot, let’s say it that way. He has a lot of improving to do to even talk in the same breath as Perfect Sting, Summa Cum Laude, Southwind Gendry, those kind of horses. He’s been in races with them. And how much do they improve? That’s going to be the question: how much do you improve and how much do they improve. He has improving to do before we can begin to say that."

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