Nijinsky Wins The 2024 Pepsi North America Cup

Published: June 15, 2024 11:04 pm EDT

The talk surrounding the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup was trip. Trip would be the factor, and driver Louis-Philippe Roy worked out the best trip for Nijinsky.

In a race chock-full of contenders, it was Nijinsky, courtesy of a flawless journey orchestrated by Louis-Philippe Roy, who came out on top in the 41st edition of the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday, June 15 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.  

Showcasing a wide-open field with no shortage of sophomore horsepower, the premier North American event for three-year-old pacers promised plenty of drama to be played out in front of a packed house at the Milton oval.

And it certainly delivered on that front.

The action began as soon as the starter car sped away, with Funtime Bayama (Sylvain Filion) grabbing the early lead, followed by Captain Albano (Todd McCarthy), Captain Luke (Scott Zeron) and slight 5-2 choice Captains Quarters (Jody Jamieson).

It got more compelling after Funtime Bayama carved out an opening quarter in :26.1, as Captain Albano sped to the front, only to be passed by Captains Quarters. Nijinsky was seventh but travelling comfortably with a patient Roy at the controls.

Jody Jamieson had Captains Quarters on top by 1-1/2 lengths through a half in :54.1, followed by Captain Albano, Funtime Bayama, and Legendary Hanover (James MacDonald), who announced his presence from in fourth.

Heading into the turn for home, Captains Quarters, a length clear through three quarters in 1:21.2, was still calling the shots as Legendary Hanover looked to reel in his rival. Captain Albano was third, but a hard-charging Nijinsky arrived on the scene and was rolling mid-way down the lane.

A game Captains Quarters dug in gamely to the inside, but Nijinsky had the momentum and went on to win by just over a length in a lifetime best 1:48.1. Funtime Bayama, who had been locked-in at the rail, re-rallied to finish third. Captain Albano was fourth.

“It [the trip] worked really well,” said Roy, who won his first Cup in his fourth appearance. “I have to give credit to the horse himself. You can do whatever you want, and he’ll respond to you any time in the mile. He’s just so easy to drive.

“I knew coming down the lane. I didn't know how much Jody had left, but I really liked my chances there. I knew coming off the helmet, he would give me a pretty good kick.”

It was the fifth win in as many starts this year for the bay colt trained by Anthony Beaton for the ownership group of West Wins Stable (Casie Coleman and Ross Warriner), John Fielding, and Mark Dumain.

As a two-year-old, Nijinsky, who was runner-up in two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions, went 1-2-3 from 10 starts, accompanied by $99,862 in purse earnings.

“He was a very nice colt last year,” said first-time Cup winner Beaton, who spent 10 seasons as assistant trainer to Coleman. “He just had a little immaturity and that, but he was always showing these high speeds at the end of the miles.

“This year, he came back and he's so much more mature,” continued Beaton, whose other Cup trainee, Legendary Hanover, finished fifth. “You could just do anything with him, and he’s still got that high speed."

Nijinsky and connections celebrate winning the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup

Bred by Jeffrey Snyder, the son of Bettors Delight-Pirouette Hanover was a $120,000 purchase at the 2022 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

Nijinsky paid $7.90 to win as the slight second choice in wagering, and now sports a career bankroll of $723,362 after his sixth lifetime victory.

To view Saturday’s harness racing results, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(with files from Woodbine)



The first TopTen Poll of 2024 will be released on Tuesday. Nijinsky has earned more money than any standardbred in North America and has paced the fastest mile of any 3yo this year, so I can't see how he won't very deservedly be ranked #1 when the poll is released.

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