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'Beach' Memories: N.A. Cup Final

Published: June 14, 2018 9:15 am ET

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It was 10 years ago this year that pacing colt Somebeachsomewhere dominated harness racing's headlines throughout his nearly flawless sophomore season.

In honour of the Canadian-sired superstar many consider one of the greatest Standardbreds to ever look through a bridle, Trot Insider will post the news stories from his on-track appearances throughout the year as they happened a decade ago along with the replays from those captivating races.

Ten years ago today, June 14, 2008, Somebeachsomewhere captured Canadian harness racing's most lucrative prize by winning the North America Cup in front of an appreciative crowd at Mohawk Racetrack.

Driver Paul MacDonell discusses the week leading up to the North America Cup win and the race itself in this special interview.

"It was something like winning the Stanley Cup in your home rink," MacDonell relayed to Trot Insider. "The crowd was with me, the horse and the connections. It was a fabulous time."

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.

Woodbine Mohawk Park track photographer Clive Cohen is giving away two copies of the poster below signed by driver Paul MacDonell. Click the image below for more info on how to enter.

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