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North America Cup News Centre

Published: June 14, 2008 11:39 pm ET

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The most anticipated event in recent harness racing history takes place tonight at Mohawk Racetrack with the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup.

The Beach Is The Best in Cup 25

"Once he got to the half, he got the breather he needed." Those were the words of Paul MacDonell after the undefeated Somebeachsomewhere cruised to a two length 1:49 win in the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

Leaving from post 2, MacDonell guided Somebeachsomewhere to sit fourth as Mucho Sleazy (Mark MacDonald) took the field of three-year-old pacers to the opening panel in :26.4, but MacDonell had designs on the front end and got there just after the first station. From there it was lights out as MacDonell guided last year's divisional champion through a :54.4 half and 1:22 for the three-quarters.

Pressure came in the form of Badlands Nitro (Brian Sears) but that one couldn't get to the leader's wheel as Somebeachsomewhere opened up with long and powerful strides down the Mohawk stretch, hitting the wire under without heavy urging in 1:49. Badlands Nitro was second best with Santanna Blue Chip (Jody Jamieson) finishing third.

"I've never felt anything like this," commented MacDonell after the win, bringing the horse back to the winner's circle with a standing ovation from the crowd. "The support from Canada and the U.S. has just been unbelievable. He's the whole show."

Trainer and co-owner Brent MacGrath admitted post-race that the foot that caused an early season scratch is still an issue.

"I did train him up this week, when you're going for this kind of money you can't be short.

"He's earned respect. Paul just let him cruise through the fractions. He was a stronger horse tonight, that back half was faster than last week."

When asked about comparisons of his colt to the great Niatross, MacGrath was quick to point out the differences between the eras.

"This horse goes [1]:50 every week, Niatross had weeks where he'd go :56. But he raced a lot more. It's just like comparing hockey players from different eras. It's too hard to do.

"He'll do nothing for two weeks but light jogging and then we'll get serious to prep for the Meadowlands Pace. The foot's coming in the right direction, and with the time off he should be at 100 per cent."

The pressure has never been something to get to the trainer, as MacGrath said "this isn't pressure. This is fun."

Somebeachsomewhere (Mach Three - Wheres The Beach) is now 9-for-9 for owners Schooner Stables (MacGrath, Reg Petitpas, Pam Dean, Jamie Bagnell Garry Pye, and Stu Rath) of Bible Hill, N.S. Bred by Stephanie Smith of Saint Louisville, Oh., 'The Beach' was a $40,000 yearling purchase that now boasts over $1.5 million in purses.

The North America Cup win was the first for sire Mach Three, the first for trainer MacGrath and the first for driver Paul MacDonell - who was also celebrating his wedding anniversary.

Thong Is Strong in Fan Hanover Consolation

The betting public made Tim Tetrick and Thong the favourite in Saturday night's $75,000 Fan Hanover Consolation, and those who did support them were not disappointed.

With a strong first-up move just past the half, Thong was an easy five length winner in 1:51.1, a new lifetime mark for the Western Hanover - Bikini Line filly. Im Just Special (Brian Sears) was second with Ladycino (David Miller) getting the show spot.

An off-season acquisition for Jerry Silva of Long Beach, N.Y. and North State Street Stable of Dover, Del., Thong is now 2-for-4 on the year and now sports earnings of more than $426,000.

Lantern Kronos Shines in Elegantimage

The big night continued for driver Paul MacDonell, with his second major stakes win of the night in the $588,706 Elegantimage Stakes Final aboard Lantern Kronos.

Rick Zeron ordered Warrawee June to the lead through a :28.1 first quarter, as the other elim winners Prada Hall (Trevor Ritchie) and Lantern Kronos lined up in second and third, respectively. Ritchie didn't want the pocket ride and pulled out to challenge, eventually clearing before the :57 half.

At that point, MacDonell pulled the favoured filly from third and with a wicked burst of speed cleared to the lead and started to open up on the field through the 1:25.4 three-quarter marker. Under mild urging to keep her mind on the task at hand, Lantern Kronos tripped the timer two lengths the best in a life's best 1:54.3. Warrawee June captured the place spot over Saorse (John Campbell).

"She's been training good, doing everything right and she's got a great pedigree," stated trainer Jimmy Takter after the win - his second straight in the event. "That pedigree comes through in big races like this."

When asked if Takter feels that his filly was all out to win, Takter replied, "I hope not. She went a tough race with that move around the final turn. She got a bit lonely in the stretch, and that was a long stretch drive for me to watch.

"She's handy, Paul says she's a sweetheart. I give Paul a lot of credit, he's so relaxed and he can focus. Some driver get distracted after winning million dollar races, but not him."

Lantern Kronos (Viking Kronos - Bell Power) is a homebred owned by Falkbolagen Ab of Malmo, Sweden. The full sister to European trotting star Going Kronos is now unbeaten in six starts on the season, with earnings over $403,000 lifetime.

Longshot Justice Cam Erupts in Open Pace

Phil Hudon guided Justice Cam to a pylon-skimming shocker, winning at odds of 30-1 in Saturday night's $47,000 Open Pace at Mohawk Racetrack.

Eagle Luck (Mark MacDonald) was the pacesetter through fractions of :26 and :53.4, with favoured Western Shore (JOdy Jamieson) in the pocket. As Secrets Nephew (Lyle MacArthur) came first up, Jamieson pulled the pocket and appplied pressure to the leader at the 1:22.3 three-quarter station.

The tightly-bunched field fanned out down the lane, with room for both Little Amos (Luc Ouellette) and Justice Cam (Hudon) to shoot up the inside. Justice Cam had the most pace, getting the to the wire one length better than Western Shore and 35-1 shot I Zee (Rick Zeron) in 1:50.4.

With his 20th lifetime win, Justice Cam (Camluck - Black Glass) is now 6-for-20 on the year for owner-trainer Jim Ainsworth and co-owners Bill Boden of Vancouver, B.C., Charles Lawrence of Blenheim and Martwest Racing Stable of Mississauga, Ont.

Chancey Lady Large in Fan Hanover

A pocket ride from Mark MacDonald allowed Chancey Lady to close with a ton of pace, hold off late challengers and win the $733,031 Fan Hanover Final for three-year-old filly pacers tonight at Mohawk Racetrack.

With both of Casie Coleman's horses - A Fiesty Affair (Jody Jamieson) and Chancey Lady leaving for position early, David Miller eased A And Gs Confusion for the lead and got there just after the :28.1 opening panel. John Campbell was sitting fourth with favoured and unbeaten Tug River Princess and Campbell pulled from fourth just before the half. That move, through a :56.4 half, flushed out Jamieson from third with A Fiesty Affair.

Jamieson and Miller hooked up through a 1:23.4 three-quarter panel with Campbell looming large second over and elim winner Artimittateslife (Brian Sears) on his back. But as the field paced home, MacDonald was able to find room and rocket Chancey Lady out of the pocket for the late stretch lead. Tug River Princess didn't fire from second over but Artimittateslife was flying at the end. At the wire, Chancey Lady was a half-length better than Artimittateslife, winning in 1:51.1 with Tug River Princess finishing third - her first ever defeat in 13 races.

"I must be living right," commented Mark MacDonald after the win on his luck of drawing in with both Chancey Lady and Lennon Blue Chip. "I was disappointed in the race last week. I had intentions of leaving but she got rough on me. She worked hard [in the OSS Gold Final] the week before in London so I wanted to save her as much as I could. I missed with her by inches.

"She felt good coming for home this week, and I knew I would have to hold off John [Campbell] who was spotted perfectly second over, of course. She's such a good filly she just put them away."

Chancey Lady (camluck - Art Of Design) is owned by Niele Jiwan of Burnaby, B.C. The win was her third in five starts this year and tenth lifetime. The lion's share of the purse lifts her career earnings to over $813,000.

Stakes Record in Cup Consolation

Tim Tetrick guided Upfront Hannahsboy to a 1:49.2 stakes record in the $100,000 North America Cup Consolation tonight at Mohawk Racetrack.

With Lonestar Legend (Mario Baillargeon) on the lead through a :26.3 first quarter and a :54.3 half, Tetrick pulled his charge from fifth and flushed cover in the form of Trade Editor (David Miller). That pacer towed Tetrick up through three-quarters in 1:21.4, and as the field hit the lane Tetrick right-lined his charge into the three path and he responded with a massive late kick. Upfront Hannahsboy hit the line more than six lengths the best in a lifetime best and stakes record 1:49.2.

Space Walk (John Campbell) closed well for second with Trade Editor holding on for third.

Ed Mullinax of Amherst, Ohio owns and Jim Arledge trains Upfront Hannahsboy (Dragon Again - Shes A Daisy), now a winner of two starts in four outings and earnings of $173,197 in his career.

Clerk Magistrate Rules in Goodtimes

Driver Trevor Ritchie confidently steered trotter Clerk Magistrate to a devastating win in Saturday night's $279,786 Goodtimes Final for three-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack.

As the field strolled to the opening quarter in :29, B Strike Three (Rick Zeron) took over from Guida Muscle (Randy Waples). Ritchie pulled Clerk Magistrate from third and engaged the leader in a classic duel through a :57.2 half and a 1:25 three-quarters, with neither horse giving in.

As the field hit the stretch, B Strike Three faded and Clerk Magistrate drove off by four and one-half lengths to win in a lifetime best 1:54. Guida Muscle finished second, but was placed fifth for a double lapped-on break under the wire. That placed late-closing Define The World (Paul MacDonell) up to second and B Strike Three from fourth to third. Favoured Windsong Espoir was a non-factor finishing a placed up fourth.

"It was a way different trip from last week, which wasn't what I wanted," stated driver Trevor Ritchie after the race. "I wasn't to get away mid-pack but it didn't turn out that way.

"I honestly didn't know what [Clerk Magistrate] had left in the stretch, but I knew I hadn't pulled the plugs on him so I hoped he'd respond. He proved he's the best of the group up here, coming first up like that you have to put him near the head of the class. I think he's account himself well against the horses in the States."

Trained by Per Henriksen for Asa Farm of Norwood, Ont., Clerk Magistrate (Andover Hall - Weather Bird) is now 4-for-8 on the year, with over $184,000 in lifetime earnings.

For the lines from Mohawk's Pepsi North America Cup card, click here.

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