Captains Quarters Is The Fresh 'Cup' Threat

Herb Holland and Captains Quarters
Published: June 14, 2024 03:40 pm EDT

Given that many of the 10 three-year-old pacers lining up in the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup will not have an opportunity to race for a purse higher than the $1 million offered on Saturday, June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, it stands to reason that nothing will be left to chance and very little will be left in the tank.

If freshness counts, and with horses it most certainly does, the freshest horse in terms of lifetime starts in this field is 2023 Metro Pace winner Captains Quarters.

Both this year (three starts) and lifetime (eight starts), Captains Quarters heads into Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup final as the horse with the fewest amount of appearances. Funtime Bayama is next on that list with 12 career starts, and Janelle Granny easily tops the charts with 23. But having the least experience in terms of race miles also equates to having a horse that hasn't had to race all that hard all that often.

That's the advantage trainer Herb Holland hopes help him hoist the Pepsi North America Cup trophy on Saturday.

Holland conditions Captains Quarters, a son of 2013 'Cup' winner Captaintreacherous and 2018 Three Diamonds winner Prescient Beauty, for owner Rich Stiles of Chelsea, Mi. A $235,000 Lexington Selected yearling, Captains Quarters sports a 4-2-2 summary from his eight appearances with $582,154 in earnings and a mark of 1:49.1. That mark came over the 'good' track on June 8 in his N.A. Cup elim with two-time 'Cup' winner Jody Jamieson at the controls, converting off a perfect second-over trip.

"The result was excellent, the horse raced great, Jody gave him a fantastic trip," said Holland at the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup draw on Tuesday, June 11. "If we're so fortunate to do that this week, we'll be in the winner's circle."

Oddsmakers agree, to an extent. When the morning line for a very contentious 2024 N.A. Cup final was revealed on Wednesday morning, Captains Quarters was installed as the 5-2 favourite. He'll head to the gate on Saturday, lining up in post position five, smack dab between elimination winners Nijinsky (PP4, Louis-Philippe Roy, 9-2) and Funtime Bayama (PP6, Sylvain Filion, 3-1).

"I think the three local horses being side-by-side is pretty awesome, but it's where you start that doesn't matter. It's where you end up at the end. It could be an outside horse, you never know."

One thing Holland does know is that Captains Quarters is the best horse he's ever had between the shafts, and a win in Canada's premier pacing event for three-year-olds would be a dream come true.

"It would be super, and for the owner, himself, he's been in the business a long time. It's his dream to have a horse like this...and, of course, it's mine, also. It's come at a great time for both of us. We're kind of getting up there [in age] and there's not a lot of opportunities like that."

Holland's opportunity for harness racing glory comes this Saturday, June 15 around 10:40 p.m. (EDT). He discussed his colt's North America Cup elimination performance and offered his thoughts on Saturday's test 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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