Twice The 'Cup' Chances For Team Beaton

Anthony Beaton, Nijinsky and Legendary Hanover
Published: June 12, 2024 07:15 pm EDT

With a field that many consider to be one of the most competitive in recent memory, having two chances at winning the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup is certainly much better than one.

Not only does trainer Anthony Beaton have two colts heading postward in the 41st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday, June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, he's going into the million-dollar dash with a pair of contenders that onlookers and experts could certainly make a strong case for hitting the wire first.

"It's very special. There's only 10 trainers a year that get their name in the program, and we get our name twice this year," Beaton told Trot Insider at the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup draw on Tuesday, June 11. 

The stable's star sophomore heading into the 2024 season was Legendary Hanover. Voted Canada's Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year at the 2023 O'Brien Awards, Legendary Hanover started his season impressively with two wins in May against conditioned horses at Mohawk -- pacing in 1:48.3 on May 18 to make him the fastest three-year-old male pacer this year. But he's been bested in most recent outings by rival Funtime Bayama, including a loss by a head in their N.A. Cup elim this past Saturday.

"I thought he raced very well," assessed Beaton. "The track wasn't very favourable for the front end there the other night. We had a very nice colt sitting on our back, and he got out and just got up to beat us." 

Thus, Legendary Hanover (Huntsville - Lillian Hanover) sports a 2-2-0 summary from four seasonal starts with $56,500 in the bank for owners Eric Good of Davidsonville, Md., West Wins Stable of Wellington, Fl. and Mark Dumain of Pine Bush, N.Y. Despite this solid slate, the Beaton trainee is listed at 6-1 on the N.A. Cup morning line -- the fifth choice on paper, and will leave from post eight on Saturday with regular pilot James MacDonald at the controls.

One of the horses with better odds is stablemate Nijinsky. That son of Bettors Delight - Pirouette Hanover didn't enjoy the same level of rookie season success, but has blossomed into a legit contender in the Glamour Boy division for Beaton and owners West Wins Stable, Dumain and John Fielding of Scarborough, Ont. He's four-for-four in 2024, with his three most recent wins coming in provincial and Grand Circuit stakes competition to accumulate a $123,500 seasonal bankroll.

Nijinsky prevailed in his N.A. Cup elim this past weekend, slingshotting off cover in the stretch for a 1:50.2 decision over Storm Shadow and Total Stranger. He's the 9-2 fourth choice in the 2024 Cup final, drawing post position four and retaining the services of driver Louis-Philippe Roy.

"Nijinsky's been awesome the whole year," gushed Beaton. "Actually, both of them have been awesome. Nijinsky's just really stepped up here. The [change in] maturity from two to three has just been amazing with him. And we hope that we can get another good trip again with him and obviously we hope we can get a good trip with both of them. We're not fussy on which one wins."

Hear Beaton's thoughts on his chances for a North America Cup victory in an interview with SC's Jeff Porchak below.

First post time for Saturday’s card is 6:30 p.m. To view Saturday’s harness racing entries, click one of the following links: Pepsi North America Cup Night -- Saturday Entries || North America Cup Card Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT).

(Standardbred Canada)

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