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Kopas, Menary Talk NA Cup Eligibles

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Published: May 7, 2010 12:55 pm ET

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Pepsi North America Cup-eligible three-year-olds stepped out in fine form during blustery conditions at Mohawk Racetrack's qualifying session yesterday. Haul Away, Keystone Raptor and Grin For Money all made good showings of themselves, and their trainers have taken the time to discuss them.

Both Keystone Raptor and Grin For Money parade out of the shed row of veteran horseman John Kopas. Both colts were putting in their second qualifying miles of the year and both paced victoriously during the morning session at the Campbellville oval.

Jack Moiseyev was aboard Keystone Raptor (45-1 in Trot Magazine's 2010 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book) in Race 3. The Astreos colt got up from third at the three quarters to post the half-length win in 1:54.4. Driver Sylvain Filion was up behind Grinfromeartoear colt Grin For Money (35-1 in Spring Book) in Race 5. After working out a pocket trip, Filion got his mount up to score a neck victory in 1:54.1.

Qualifier No. 3 - Keystone Raptor

"They've trained back -- both of them -- very well all winter long, and I was very pleased with the way they qualified this morning," Kopas said during an interview with the Woodbine Entertainment Group. "It's quite windy, and we intended on going in about (1:) 54 with the two of them, and that is exactly what Jack and Sylvain did."

The pair of colts finished off their two-year-old campaigns with game efforts in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals at Woodbine Racetrack. During the interview, WEG's Greg Blanchard asked Kopas how the colts came out of the season-ending mile and how they subsequently wintered.

"Fortunately, they both came out of it very well and they both wintered extremely well," Kopas explained. "Grin For Money grew quite a bit, which was nice to see, and filled out. The other colt definitely filled out. He didn't get any taller, but didn't really need to be -- he was a big boy last year."

In terms of where the colts will go next and what he expects out of them this year, Kopas explained that the duo is being pointed to Flamboro Downs' Bud Light Stakes (Friday, May 14). He also stated that he is hoping that the two of them will turn out as nice OSS three-year-olds this year. In terms of some of the bigger stakes events this season, Kopas said "we've staked them to quite a few other events here at home, like the Confederation Cup and the North America Cup, but we may be dreaming a little, but we'll see."

Qualifier No. 5 - Grin For Money

Earlier in the card, the Dave Menary-trained and Jody Jamieson-driven Haul Away (42-1 in Spring Book) made his first charted start of the season and started from Post 9. The Modern Art gelding went on to cut the fractions (28.3, 56.2, 1:24.4) and just get nosed out in a 1:53.2 mile.

"I was really happy," Menary said during a WEG interview. "Coming into today I kind of wanted to go in (1:) 53, but after I warmed up I thought we would go in (1:) 55. It's pretty windy here today. I don't know how the rest of the miles are going to go, but I think that this is going to be a pretty good mile for the day. We had an outside post and had to roll along. I wish we were following the filly (eventual winner Western Silk, who took a pocket trip) instead of her following us. He's not very good on the front end. He kind of waits on everybody, so I was pretty happy with him."

In terms of changes from two to three, Menary touched on Haul Away's weight and racing attitude.

"He was big last year and he's big again this year. We'll see how it goes. Last year he started to get a little bit hot, and this year he's been a little bit lazy, but I'm sure once he gets back in the game he'll start to get a little bit aggressive. Other than that he's same-old, same-old. He's really filled out. He's always been a big colt, but by the end of last year he was pretty skinny and was still really growing. Over the winter he really filled out and now he's almost fat, so I'm sure we'll get the weight off him pretty quick and he'll get in shape."

Qualifier No. 1 - Western Silk

In terms of what he expects out of Haul Away this year and where the gelding will be going next, Menary explained that he knows where his charge is going in the next few weeks, but he is not too sure about what the future holds beyond that.

"We'll play it by ear. Everyone wants to dream a little. I'll probably try to get him a start this week and then head to the Upper Canada Cup. Right now that's my main goal, the Upper Canada Cup, because it's so big and so early. It's a great opportunity for Ontario-sired colts. He's eligible to the North America Cup, but I think the Upper Canada is a little more realistic, and thank god it comes first."

For a complete recap of Mohawk's Thursday qualifying session, click here.


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