More Mohawk Million-Dollar Mastery For Sportswriter

Published: June 26, 2010 10:04 pm EDT

Sportswriter made headlines once again for Casie Coleman and Mark MacDonald as he captured the 27th edition of the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack


Kyle Major (Jody Jamieson) gunned to the lead from Post 9 with Sportswriter and Mark MacDonald driving up and clearing past the :26.2 opening quarter. The son of Artsplace-Precious Beauty, who finished a close third in his 1:48.4 elimination last week, raced past the half in :53.4 before Fred And Ginger (Dave Palone) applied first over pressure. Sportswriter turned back that rival as he hit three-quarters in 1:20.4 – the fastest third quarter clocking in the Cup’s history – opening up three lengths on the field and charged home to win in a career-best 1:48.3. We Will See (Brett Miller), 34-1 on the board, was the runner-up finishing three-quarters of a length behind after he slipped up the rail and took it to Sportswriter late in the stretch with 98-1 Piece Of The Rock (Paul MacDonell) finishing third.

Sportswriter paid $8.50 to win as the 3-1 third choice.

“Well, I think there was a little divine intervention to be honest with you because pretty much everything had to go wrong for this to go right for me and it did,” said MacDonald, choking up, as he jumped off the bike. “I got lucky, I’m a really lucky guy. It’s a big win for me, it’s pretty emotional."

MacDonald also teamed up with Coleman to win the $666,000 Fan Hanover earlier with Western Silk, making the duo the first trainer-driver combination in harness racing to capture both the Fan Hanover and the Pepsi North America Cup.

“All my big wins have pretty much been with her [Casie Coleman] and Ontario-sired horses," continued MacDonald. "I just got really lucky to get the drive back on this horse. Casie does a great job. We have a great relationship and she’s been texting me all week telling me how good they were and we talked almost everyday. She did an amazing job and what can you say? She won both big races and I’m thrilled."

Sportswriter, last year’s Metro Pace champion, overcame quarters cracks, which he endured early this season, to earn his first win in four 2010 starts and boost his earnings to $770,000 for owners Steve Calhoun of Chatham, the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON and Southwind Farm of Pennington, New Jersey. It is the first Cup win for trainer Coleman, driver MacDonald and sire Artsplace.

“His issues were my own stupidity,” said Coleman, who finished second in last year’s Cup with another son of Artsplace, Art Colony. “I decided to put aluminum shoes on him after his first qualifier thinking that was going to help him. He blew one quarter crack on the left front and one on the right front. I needed to do all that before I decided to put his steel shoes back on. Thanks to Jeff Boyd, our blacksmith, he did an unbelievable job. Michel Turgeon, he’s his caretaker, and Harry Wilson, his assistant trainer, they did an unbelievable job. The Mohawk Spa here, he’s been in there everyday, twice a day on most days and I owe this one a lot to that Mohawk Spa. I suggest some of you guys get in there because it definitely worked on this horse.”

Bred by James Avritt of Kentucky, Sportswriter has won eight of 12 career starts and has never finished worse than fourth. With the win the colt also surpassed the million-dollar mark in earnings and now sports a bankroll of $1,645,411.

“This is the pinnacle of success for us, for sure," added part-owner Steve Calhoun. I can’t imagine anything better than this. I can’t believe my knees are actually holding up. This is the greatest thing in harness racing for us.”

Trot Magazine selected Sportswriter as their 2010 NA Cup Spring Book favourite.

Click here for recaps and replays of the action-packed Pepsi North America Cup undercard, which included the $387,000 Goodtimes Trot, the $666,000 Fan Hanover Stakes, the $557,000 Elegantimage Stakes and consolations.

To view Saturday’s results, click here.



Congratulations to all participants involved in a big night of racing, great races, you put on a great show. I do have on question though. In the newspaper I read the Queens Plate has a two page write up and I saw absolutely nothing on the NA Cup. Was this an oversite on behalf of WEG? They do stage both races, maybe the promotions department forgot one. If the sport isn't promoted, how do you get fans and bettors to the track????? Just wondering.

Greg Parke

It should be standard/forced reading for Owners, Trainers, Grooms, Drivers, Judges, and Racing Officials the comments of Mr. Robert Irving.

This is the biggest race in Canada and you would think that Casie would dress up a little bit for the cup presentation. I think that the track should have a dress code for such races. Other that that nice win.

John McLane

In reply to by john1948

In reference to John McLane's comment:

I say AWESOME WIN for Casie and Sportswriter!!! And I think when you have the talent that girl has, you really don't need to come to the party dressed like Victoria can just show up and your talent does the talking, not the fancy outfit you are rockin'! Besides, I think her casual look suits her just fine...

A very gutsy performance last night by Sportswriter, I think a lot of critics were silenced by that performance , I know I was. Congratulations to Mark and Casie and all her hard working crew. Job well done.

Congrats Casie and Mark. Way to silence your critics JR. Who is Brian Sears anyway?


Congtatulations Casie on your big night at Mohawk. From Ray Gemmill and all your friends at Fraser Downs.

I wonder what the connections of Sportswriter were thinking when they offered the colt to Brian Sears instead of keeping Mark MacDonald. The reasons published were lame.
A Pippin Hanover, Art N Charm, Livefreeordiehard etc. needed a change to "outside drivers"? Just curious.

I am very proud of the local drivers, they dominated the stakes events and the whole night. Why anyone would consider taking Mark off of Sportswriter is beyond me. Awsome night fellas!

I am not trying to rain on someones parade.I am a fan of harness racing and hope the industry learns something from last night.

"It was a conditioned race and i wasn't sending him.Don't get me wrong,i wanted to win".

Those words above were spoken from Casie Coleman in her post race interview after having won the 1.5 million dollar pepsi race.She wanted to win the race but the instructions to her driver was to win EASY or don't win at all.The race in question was a 20 thousand dollar non-winner conditioned race three weeks ago,where the horse went off at 1-9 and the total amount bet(win) on the race was 12thousand dollars.What is a horse(s)doing running for 20thou dollars when they will be running for 1.5 million in a couple of weeks!!

Last night was proof that people will come to the races if they are meaningful races.With the money on the line last night,fans knew that there wasn't going to be any "i wasn't sending him horses running".What they got last night was honest racing.

The enemy isn't casino's or lotteries,the enemy is within the racing industry.The tracks don't work together and it's hurting the quality of racing.The way racing is set up,almost 70 percent of races have "i wasn't sending him,don't get me wrong i wanted to win horses in them".

Reduce racing to eight months a year WEG.Bring some accountability to racing.With WEG reduced to eight months,purses will be huge compared to a "b" track and trainers will be forced to run their horses.The owners will still be running for the same amount of money,just not as many races.They will have eight months to make the big money or go and run for less at a "b" track.

Last night WEG was the premiere track of Canada and the people came out to watch and wager.

You should have done a survey last night WEG and asked the people why last night and not the rest of the year!The consensus would have been,it's the most honest racing of the year.


Congrats to Sportswriter, Casie & Mark -- great win for you guys

Marie Stoyles-Moura


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