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The Colt With Killer Instinct

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Published: June 24, 2010 8:36 am ET

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"This horse, the way he wants to chase horses and pretty much kill them at the wire, he’s just a great animal.”

With the results of all three eliminations for the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup coming down to the wire, the 27th edition of Canada’s richest harness race could offer up one of the closest and most exciting finishes in recent years. With his killer late kick, All Speed Hanover, the slight 3-1 second choice, appears to have an engine that will put him right there in the mix and among the best trainer Mike Vanderkemp has ever sat behind.

“I’ve sat behind a lot of good open horses and trotters like Mr Muscleman but it’s hard to compare horses," Vanderkemp told Trot Insider.

All Speed Hanover won five of seven starts in his freshman year banking nearly $500,000 with his biggest victory in the year-end Breeders Crown when he nipped Sportswriter at the wire in 1:52.

The son of 1994 North America Cup winner Cams Card Shark finished fourth while making his sophomore debut in a leg of the New Jersey Sires Stakes on May 22 and followed that up with a 1:50.4 victory, finishing first by a head to BGs Folly in his New Jersey Classic elimination on June 5. Sent postward as the one to beat in the $500,000 final the following week, All Speed Hanover rallied off cover and missed by a mere nose to BGs Folly in 1:49.1.

All Speed Hanover shook off a small bout of sickness and Vanderkemp says he made an adjustment to his colt's equipment to improve his game for the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations.

“Coming into the Cup we never heard him cough but a lot of other people heard him cough in New Jersey. He coughed about 10 to 20 times in retention,” explained Vanderkemp. “He had a high white cell count and [Pierce] couldn’t steer him so he had [some excuses] but he did get beat. He came back the other night and we dealt with those problems and his headpole and he overcame it like good horses do.”

All Speed Hanover proved his versatility when he left for the first time in his Cup elim, removed to the front and after being locked in the pocket and shuffled back to fourth, found a clear path just in time to surge ahead for the three-quarter length victory in 1:49.4.

2010 NA Cup Elims - All Speed Hanover - 1:49.4

“The trip didn’t go as we planned but he kind of had to get out there and we planned on Fred And Ginger being a lot closer than he was. That’s what Ronnie had in his mind. He’s never left before and he pretty much two or three moved him and things opened up in the stretch, which we needed to happen. It was a little hectic there for a bit.”

The connections of All Speed Hanover chose Post 4 and despite never having produced a winner in the history of the Cup, Vanderkemp says the four-hole appears to be a favourable spot with fellow elimination winners Rock N Roll Heaven (PP3) and We Will See (PP1), along with Hempt winner Fred And Ginger (PP2) to his inside.

“It’s a good starting spot,” laughed Vanderkemp when told the Cup history of Post 4. “Ronnie didn’t really care where he was as long as he’s somewhere close and he can spot him where he wants to. We talked Saturday night and we talked again today [before the post draw] and he’s really not too concerned. You know how Ronnie is, ‘as long as you get me close,’ he says, ‘I can get the job done’.”

Pierce, who also drove last year’s Cup winner, Well Said, for trainer Steve Elliot, will look to repeat with All Speed Hanover in Canada’s richest harness race to join John Campbell as the only two drivers to pull off back-to-back victories. Pierce also won the Cup in 2006 with the Brenda Teague-trained Total Truth.

Vanderkemp, who is stabled at Classy Lane Training Centre, says All Speed Hanover will follow a routine of jogging and swimming with a lot of paddock time leading up to the big day. “He’s pretty much there,” he said. The start with All Speed Hanover is the first for Vanderkemp in harness racing's richest race for pacers.

To view the recap of the post position draw, click here.

Mohawk's 13-dash Saturday program has a first-race post time of 7:10 p.m. Post time for the 27th edition of the Cup (Race 7), the richest pacing event in the world, is 9:40 p.m., The Score Television Network will air a special one and one-half hour telecast nationally from 8:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (ET).

To view free, printable program pages for Mohawk's Saturday card courtesy of TrackIT, click here.

To view SC's regular entries page for NA Cup night, click here.


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