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“It Would Be Sweet To Go Back To Back”

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Published: June 8, 2011 1:56 pm ET

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Casie Coleman won last year’s Pepsi North America Cup with Sportswriter. This year, she will send two pacers -- Betterthancheddar and Rock To Glory -- into Saturday’s Cup eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack in an attempt to become the first trainer since Bill Robinson (1993-94) to win the race in consecutive years.

“It would be sweet to go back to back,” Coleman said. “It’s a dream come true just to have horses good enough to go in the eliminations, and I think both of these horses are players. I think they both have a good shot to make it into the big dance.”

Coleman, who was honoured as Canada’s Trainer of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2010 and for the fourth time in her career, has seen horses from her stable make the big dance each of the previous three years. Art Colony was second in 2009 and Mucho Sleazy and Lennon Blue Chip reached the final in 2008.

Betterthancheddar is in the second of Saturday’s three North America Cup eliminations. He will start from Post 2 with driver Brett Miller.

Last Saturday, Betterthancheddar finished second to Roll With Joe in a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk. Betterthancheddar was beaten by three-quarters of a length and timed in 1:49.4. On May 30, the colt won by more than 10 lengths in 1:49.2 during an overnight at Mohawk.

Somebeachsomewhere Stakes - Roll With Joe - 1:49.3

Following the Somebeachsomewhere, Coleman had Betterthancheddar scoped because of a cough. It turned out the colt was a touch under the weather.

“I thought I was crazy at first because the horse just paced (1:) 49 again back in five days,” Coleman said. “I checked him and he was about 2.5 out of five for mucous. He definitely had some kind of little virus, but we’re going to be fine by Saturday night. His blood work came back quite good (Tuesday) morning and he’s acting like himself.”

Betterthancheddar has won two of four races and $43,435 for owners Steve Calhoun and West Wins Stable.

“'Cheddar' is a wicked horse,” Coleman said. “I’m not going to be able to train him much this week, but that’s not really going to affect him because he just paced two monstrous miles in five days.”

Rock To Glory is in the first North America Cup elim. He will start from Post 2 for David Miller.

Last weekend, Rock To Glory was fourth in his division of the Somebeachsomewhere. He was in the fastest split, finishing behind Up The Credit, Big Jim and Powerful Mist. He was timed in 1:50.

Somebeachsomewhere Stakes - Up The Credit - 1:49

“He raced very well,” Coleman said. “He did have some road trouble in the middle of the mile, but he paced home strong on the end of it. I was happy with him. Obviously, he’s got to step his game up a little more yet. He’s going to have to pace (1:) 49 to get some money in there. We’re just hoping he can step it up a little more. I think he can; I hope he can.”

Rock To Glory has won two of three races this year and four of 13 in his career. He has hit the board 10 times and earned $131,312. He was purchased privately by Mac Nichol after the start of his two-year-old campaign.

“He went some big miles over at Mohawk,” Coleman said. “He was very fast. He’s a good-gaited horse, a good-looking horse. He showed he had some potential. Mac Nichol was looking for a nice horse and I thought he fit the bill. We paid some good money for him, but he’s pretty much paid for himself already.”

A gelding, Rock To Glory is a son of Rocknroll Hanover--Faded Glory. His mother was a multiple stakes-winner and he is a half-brother to 2005 Fan Hanover runner-up Bound For Glory. His family tree also includes millionaire Jaguar Spur.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Coleman said. “He’s not a real big horse; I staked him a lot on the half-mile tracks throughout the summer because I think he’ll be very good on the half. But, he’s also very good on a big track.

“He can leave the gate like a rocket and then (relax). He can always put himself in the middle of the race, which is perfect.”

The fields for the three elims are listed below.

Elim No. 1 (Race 3)
PP - Horse - Listed Driver
1 - Mach Of Ballykeel - Sylvain Filion
2 - Rock To Glory - David Miller
3 - Big Jim - Phil Hudon
4 - Powerful Mist - Tim Tetrick
5 - Bestofbest Hanover - Jack Moiseyev
6 - Rockabillie - Sylvain Filion
7 - Custard The Dragon - Montrell Teague

Elim No. 2 (Race 4)
PP - Horse - Listed Driver
1 - Feel Like A Fool - Brian Sears
2 - Betterthancheddar - Brett Miller
3 - Up The Credit - Jody Jamieson
4 - Grams Legacy - Brian Sears
5 - Eighteen - Paul MacDonell
6 - Lookinforadventure - Brett Miller
7 - Townslight Hanover - Scott Zeron
8 - Shadyshark Hanover - Tim Tetrick

Elim No. 3 (Race 6)
PP - Horse - Listed Driver
1 - Mystician - Jody Jamieson
2 - Roll With Joe - Randy Waples
3 - Keystone Velocity - Jody Jamieson
4 - Western Alumni - Randy Waples
5 - Dutch Richman - Tim Tetrick
6 - Wink N Atcha - Brian Sears
7 - Big Bad John - Brett Miller
8 - Foreclosure N - Sylvain Filion


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


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