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Playtime Over For 'Captain'

Published: June 5, 2013 5:29 pm ET

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Tony Alagna has been impressed by Captaintreacherous’ improved maturity this year. He says the three-year-old colt pacer still likes to fool around, but now knows when it is time to get serious.

It is time to get serious.

Captaintreacherous heads to Canada this week for the eliminations for the $1 million North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack. The colt is in the first of three seven-horse eliminations on Saturday night; the top three finishers from each split plus a fourth-place finisher drawn by lot advance to the June 15 final.

Last season, Captaintreacherous won eight of 10 races and earned $911,277 on his way to becoming the first two-year-old pacer in 25 years to be named Pacer of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He also received honours as best two-year-old male pacer in both the U.S. and Canada.

This is the 30th edition of the North America Cup, which has been won five times by horses named the best two-year-old male pacer in the States: Jate Lobell (1987), Presidential Ball (1993), Bettors Delight (2001), Somebeachsomewhere (2008) and Sportswriter (2010).

“I think he’s coming into the North America Cup elimination in good shape,” said Alagna, who trains the horse for the Captaintreacherous Racing stable. “I don’t anticipate the horse being anything but on his game.

“His maturity level has changed quite a bit. His demeanor in the barn; he was so playful last year. He still has that playfulness, but he knows the difference between when it’s time to be serious and when it’s not.”

Captaintreacherous has raced once this season, winning by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:49.4 in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on May 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

The horse skipped the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk last weekend as Alagna preferred to keep Captaintreacherous close to home. The New Jersey-based trainer hoped to race in a three-year-old open at the Meadowlands, but the race didn’t fill. Instead, he trained Captaintreacherous at the Big M on Saturday.

“We didn’t want to be away from home for three weeks up in Canada; we were worried about sickness and being away from home,” Alagna said. “If everything works out right everyone will say ‘Wow, what a great idea’ and if it doesn’t go perfect everyone will say ‘Boy, you should have raced him.’ We made the decision together and don’t feel it’s going to affect the horse either way. If he’s on his game it shouldn’t matter.

“I think the biggest thing was getting his first start in him. We got a nice positive first start into him, so whatever is going to be is going to be. He was as good as ever in that start and he trained great on Saturday at the Meadowlands.”

Alagna also trains North America Cup hopeful Wake Up Peter, who has a second and third-place finish from three starts this year. Wake Up Peter was third in last weekend’s New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, beaten only a length in a 1:49.3 mile after racing on the outside for most of the mile from post nine.

Last year, Wake Up Peter won two of nine starts and earned $287,025. He was second to Rockin Amadeus in the Breeders Crown and fourth in the Metro Pace, which was won by Captaintreacherous.

“[Wake Up Peter] raced as big as a horse could race the other night in the Jersey final,” Alagna said. “The colt gets a lot of bad posts and bad things happen to him. That’s kind of how his things go. Everything will come together for him and he’ll get his big payday.

“He’s a very nice horse. He has a tremendous turn of speed. He’s not quite as versatile as 'Captain'; he’s got a big brush on the end of a mile but he can’t put four quarters together like 'Captain' can. But not all of them can.”

Captaintreacherous is the 3-1 favourite in Trot Magazine's 2013 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book while Wake Up Peter ranks fourth and has been assessed at odds of 8-1.

Sunshine Beach, who won one of the two Somebeachsomewhere Stakes divisions last week, is among the starters in Captaintreacherous’ North America Cup elimination. Wake Up Peter’s split includes Rockin Amadeus, who won the New Jersey Sire Stakes crown last week by a neck over Johny Rock. Johny Rock and Somebeachsomewhere division winner Vegas Vacation are in the third North America Cup eliminiation, along with multiple-stakes winner Odds On Equuleus and Apprentice Hanover.

To view entries for Saturday's stacked card of harness racing at Mohawk, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.

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

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