Filion Counting On A 'Funtime' Saturday

Sylvain Filion and Funtime Bayama
Published: June 13, 2024 11:30 am EDT

There's a guaranteed major presentation and celebration in Sylvain Filion's future. He'd like to add another one in advance of that summer ceremony.

Officially heading into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame this coming August as part of the Standardbred Class of 2024, Filion has a date with destiny this Saturday, June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He's headed postward in the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup with elimination winner Funtime Bayama, listed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. 

Sylvain Filion's first Pepsi North America Cup drive came 25 years ago with his father Yves's homebred pacer, Goliath Bayama. He finished second that year to The Panderosa, and that's the closest he's been to lifting the elusive trophy in the Mohawk winner's circle. Filion, arguably one of the most successful drivers in Canadian harness racing history, has made seven appearances in the Pepsi North America Cup final and finished in the top four in five of those attempts.

He'd like to add the number one at the front of that 0-1-1-2 summary, and it would mean more given his personal ties to Funtime Bayama's connections -- breeder / owner / developer Yves Filion and trainer Richard Moreau, making his Pepsi North America Cup training debut.

"It's a family horse; he was born, bred and raised on my father's farm," said Filion. "It's like a pet for us. That would be just amazing to be able to win the Cup with him."

Funtime Bayama (Hes Watching - Tymal Sugrbabydoll) sports a career summary of 8-3-1 from 12 lifetime starts, including a 4-1-0 summary from five sophomore appearances. He's been sent postward as the betting favourite in nine of his last 10 starts, including his N.A. Cup elimination on June 8, which he won from post six in 1:50.1 over the track rated good. He's drawn post six once again on Saturday, to the direct outside of the other elimination winners -- Nijinsky has post four, and Captains Quarters got post five.

From a statistical and strategical standpoint, Filion felt he and his colt will benefit from that mid-gate starting spot.

"I'm happy with post six; one of the winningest posts at Mohawk, and I'll get to see what the other horses inside of me will be doing."

Having the ability to make that decision when the gate leaves is key for success in a race with such contender depth. Having a horse that benefitted from a successful learning experience makes Filion even more confident.

"I was kind of hoping to get covered up [in the elim] because I'd been racing him on the front end every start of the year. When I saw James [MacDonald and Legendary Hanover] I was real happy to be able to follow him. He was the right horse to follow and he brought us right to the wire.

"I think he learned a lot from that trip."

Filion discusses his colt's North America Cup elimination performance and looks ahead to Saturday's final 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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