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Cup Final "Like A Chess Match"

Published: June 15, 2017 12:52 pm ET

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Tim Tetrick knows Huntsville will face challenges in Saturday’s $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. His goal is to make the race even more challenging for those that oppose him.

“It’s like a chess match,” said Tetrick, who will drive 8-5 morning line favourite Huntsville in the season’s first major open stakes event for three-year-old male pacers. “I try to drive three or four horses in a race all the time. I know where everyone is, and where I can put them. I always try to put them where they don’t want to be. That’s the name of catch driving.

“And you’ve got to think about speed and time and who’s leaving and who you want to follow. You’re looking for a little bit of an edge, where you can get a jump on somebody or keep them locked in.”

Huntsville is trying to become the fifth horse this century to receive a Dan Patch Award at age two and capture the North America Cup the following year. He would join Captaintreacherous, Sportswriter, Somebeachsomewhere and Bettors Delight. All but Sportswriter, who retired midseason because of injury, went on to claim a Dan Patch Award at three.

The 35-year-old Tetrick won the North America Cup with Captaintreacherous in 2013 and Wakizashi Hanover in 2015.

In addition to the 34th edition of the North America Cup, Saturday’s card at Mohawk Racetrack includes the $440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes for three-year-old female pacers, $365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes for older female pacers, $253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for older female trotters, and $251,000 Goodtimes Stakes for three-year-old male trotters.

Post time for the first of the 15 races Saturday is 6:30 p.m.

Huntsville, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Wild West Show, has won 10 of 15 career races and never finished worse than second. Last year he enjoyed a six-race win streak that included victories in the Breeders Crown, divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His 1:49 mile in the International Stallion equaled the world record for a two-year-old pacer.

He is trained by Ray Schnittker, who bred the colt with Charlie Iannazzo and owns the horse with Iannazzo, Ted Gewertz, and Steven Arnold. Huntsville has earned $801,263 in his career.

Last week Huntsville won his North America Cup elimination by 4-1/4 lengths over Classic Pro in 1:49.1. Fear The Dragon, the 2-1 second choice, won his elim by 1-1/2 lengths over Filibuster Hanover in 1:50 and Downbytheseaside, who is 3-1, won his elim by two lengths over Western Hill in 1:50.4.

Four of Huntsville’s second-place finishes have come to either Fear The Dragon or Downbytheseaside. The other, in his first career start, was to Filibuster Hanover. In fact, three of Huntsville’s five lifetime runner-up finishes came in his first four races.

“I think I’ve got one of the best horses, if not the best,” Tetrick said. “I’m very confident. He was super last week and I think I’ve got a great shot. When he’s on his game he’s very hard to catch.

“He’s a big strong horse and he can take air and he’s very, very fast. He’s had some (steering) issues, but other than that he’s got all the attributes of a great horse. He’s got tons of speed. I’ve never gotten him tired. He’s been beaten, but never tired. Once you get him in high gear he can carry his speed a long way.”

Huntsville will start the North America Cup from post No. 3, with Fear The Dragon and driver David Miller in post four and Downbytheseaside and driver Brian Sears in post two. Fear The Dragon and Downbytheseaside are trained by Brian Brown.

Jimmy Takter’s Ocean Colony, with driver Yannick Gingras, in post No. 1 completes the list of horses with inside starting positions.

“It’s all going to play out there in the first eighth (of a mile) or first quarter and we’ll see what happens,” Tetrick said. “I think the best four horses are 1-2-3-4. I’m sure someone on the outside is going to take a flyer.

“Mohawk is a very fair track; you can win both ways (from the front and from behind). But I’m just really super happy with my colt. It should be a great race.”

The post positions for the 2017 North America Cup Final appear below.

$1 MILLION PEPSI NORTH AMERICA CUP
(Post – Horse – Driver - Trainer - Morning Line Odds)
1 – Ocean Colony – Yannick Gingras – Jimmy Takter – 10-1
2 – Downbytheseaside – Brian Sears – Brian Brown – 3-1
3 – Huntsville – Tim Tetrick – Ray Schnittker – 8-5
4 – Fear The Dragon – David Miller – Brian Brown – 2-1
5 – Sports Column – Chris Christoforou – Blake MacIntosh – 25-1
6 – Classic Pro – Trevor Henry – Dr. Ian Moore – 20-1
7 – Ozone Blue Chip – Brett Miller – Ron Coyne Jr. – 25-1
8 – Filibuster Hanover – Louis-Philippe Roy – Ron Burke – 15-1
9 – Western Hill – Doug McNair – Tony Alagna – 20-1
10 – Miso Fast – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke – 20-1

To view the entries for Saturday's card at Mohawk or a free program, courtesy of TrackIT, click on one of the following links: Saturday Entries / Saturday Program Pages.

The Pepsi North America Cup headlines Mohawk’s mega-stakes Saturday card of harness racing that will also feature a $75,000 Cup Consolation, the $440,000 Fan Hanover Stakes (for three-year-old pacing fillies), $365,000 Roses Are Red Stakes (pacing mares), $253,000 Armbro Flight Stakes (trotting mares), $251,000 Goodtimes Stakes (three-year-old trotting colts), and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup (invitational pacers).

First race post time is 6:30 p.m. The 34th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup will go postward at 10:40 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on TSN3 and TSN5 from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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