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Another 'Sweet' Cup Moment For Pinske?

Published: June 14, 2012 3:28 pm ET

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In a race chock full of compelling storylines, this Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup will no doubt have special meaning to Tim Pinske and his family.

When this year’s $1.5-million classic gets underway, thousands of racing fans will have gathered at Mohawk Racetrack, while thousands more will be watching their TV sets to take in the 29th edition of the event.

For Pinske, who will be taking in the race from his home in Minnesota, seeing Sweet Lou, the 3-5 morning-line favourite, pace home a winner, would provide him with another fond Cup memory.

Pinske’s son, Brian, was the conditioner behind Yankee Cruiser, the sire of Sweet Lou, before he passed away suddenly at the age of 38 in November of 2002.

The following summer, Yankee Cruiser went on to win the 2003 Pepsi North America Cup in one of the greatest editions of the race.

Yankee Cruiser, widest of all at the top of the stretch, utilized a remarkable late kick to sweep past Allamerican Native and then held off Artesian in the closing strides of the blanket finish.

2003 NA Cup - Yankee Cruiser - 1:49.3

“That night is one of the greatest nights that could have ever happened to our family,” Pinske said. “We were so emotional that night, it was overwhelming and took a while to set in. It was evident during the interviews we did following the race.”

Some nine years later, Pinske still gets chills when reflecting on the evening.

“We think of Brian every day and we think of ‘Cruiser’ every day. When we look back, it’s almost like it was meant to happen. I said to my wife this week that ‘Cruiser’ continues to take care of us almost a decade after Brian’s accident with his success in the stud barn. It’s like he’s a part of the family.”

Frank Salive, who was the voice of the North America Cup from 1992-2005, remembers the 20th edition fondly.

“It was a very emotional time because of Brian passing,” Salive said. “Yankee Cruiser won from what appeared to be an impossible spot at the top of the stretch. It’s a race that I’ll never forget calling.”

“I’ve seen the replay of the win a million times. I have that race pretty much memorized and will always remember Frank giving the call,” Pinske added.

Dean Magee, like Brian, was a native of Illinois, the pilot behind the 1:49.3 winning trip.

"I can hardly speak. I think somebody was watching out for us...Brian. I really wanted to win this race for him. This was for him,” Magee said after the victory in 2003.

“Dean and Brian have been friends for years and to have him win with the horse was extra special. It was tears of joy,” Pinske added.

Pinske, whose charges have earned just shy of $6 million in purses, is hoping Sweet Lou can deliver another unforgettable triumph.

“He’s just amazing,” Pinske said of Sweet Lou. “There is no other way to describe him. I’ve been fortunate to see him a few times at the Meadows and he’s simply amazing. My blood pressure will likely be up when they line up behind the gate.”

For Pinske and his family, they’re hoping a strong start could yield another fantastic finish.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Entries.

World-Class Racing & Trackside Tent Party On Tap Saturday At Mohawk

Racing fans will be treated to world-class racing along with a number of exciting promotions this Saturday at Mohawk, the night of the 29th edition of the $1.5-million Pepsi North America Cup.

To kick off the evening, racing enthusiasts can get autographs from their favourite drivers, as the sport’s finest will be on hand for a meet and greet before the stakes-filled card gets underway.

Also, at the Trackside Tent Party…‘Your First Bet Is On Us.’

Mohawk's customer service staff will be giving away a free bet. Registration closes at 8:00 p.m. Guests must be 18 years and older to register.

Registering before 7:00 p.m. for ‘Your First Bet On Us’ qualifies fans for a chance to win two VIP seats at the finish line to watch the races from a pair of muskoka chairs. The lucky winner of the ‘Pepsi Best Seats in the House’ contest will also receive a cooler of Pepsi products, a $100 cash card and will be treated to a BBQ meal, popcorn and ice cream.

Each fan that registers will also be entered into a draw where they have a chance to be a finalist in the Road to the Breeders Crown 2012 Chevy Silverado giveaway.

The night’s draw winner will be invited back to Woodbine for the Breeders Crown on October 27 with nine other finalists. The other draw qualifiers will be chosen over the summer at each major stakes event.

Fans who register will also receive a free commemorative Pepsi North America Cup hat.

The popular betting seminars continue to be part of each major racing event. WEG’s Greg Gangle will host the seminar, which begins at 6:20 p.m. in the trackside tent. Special guest Jody Jamieson, who will drive the 9-2 second choice, Warrawee Needy, in the Cup final, will be on hand to offer insight and answer questions.

Handicappers can also participate in the Pepsi North America Cup Extreme Betting Contest.

Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. in the trackside tent. A $75 buy-in includes a $50 bankroll plus the $25 entry fee. The largest balance across the board wins and the $5,000 prize is split between the top five finishers.

Any wager amounts plus any and all bet types are allowed, however wagering is restricted to Mohawk’s live card.

Full rules and regulations for the Extreme Betting Contest and the ‘Your First Bet Is On Us’ promo are available on

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and racing will begin at 7:10 p.m. with the richest pacing event in the world set for 9:40 p.m.


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