Fields Set For NA Cup, Armbro Flight And Fan Hanover

2024 Pepsi North America Cup elim night winners
Published: June 8, 2024 06:07 pm EDT

Captains Quarters, Funtime Bayama and Nijinsky captured Saturday night’s (June 8) Pepsi North America Cup eliminations at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

A total of three $50,000 eliminations were contested on a rainy evening in Campbellville. The top-three finishers from each split punched their ticket to next Saturday’s $1 million final.

Metro Pace winner Captains Quarters converted off a perfect second-over trip to win the first elimination in 1:49.1 for driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Herb Holland.

The opening stages saw Gem Quality shoot out to grab command, posting fractions of :26.1, :54.1 and 1:21.4. Race favourite Captain Albano moved out from third to come first up on the far turn, while Captains Quarters followed out from fourth.

In the stretch, Captains Quarters would power by Captain Albano in the final eighth to win by a length. Ivy Park finished third to grab a spot in the Cup final, while Janelle Granny finished strong for fourth.

A son of Captaintreacherous, Captains Quarters was back on his top game Saturday after a second-place finish in last week’s Somebeachsomewhere Stakes.

“I think we knew last week that the horse wasn't the Captains Quarters that we know,” said Jamieson. “I expected a bigger effort. Last week's effort was pretty monstrous, but all things considered, he was bound to be better, and he showed it there tonight.

“I was able to slide into a slot where I could just wait a long time. We were stepping right along. And, you know, he's a great horse. And, what else can you say about a great horse? They just do great things.”

The well-managed Captains Quarters now has two wins in three starts this season and four in eight starts overall for his career. He’s now earned $582,154 for owner Rich Stiles.

A $2 win ticket on Captains Quarters paid $5.

Funtime Bayama edged Legendary Hanover in 1:50.1 to take the second Cup elimination.

Driven by Sylvain Filion, Funtime Bayama went forward as expected and got command at a :26.2 opening-quarter. Legendary Hanover quickly moved out from third and rushed to the lead in the second-quarter, posting clips of :55.3 and 1:23.1.

In the stretch, Funtime Bayama angled out to set up a stretch duel with Legendary Hanover, ultimately getting up on even terms in deep stretch and reaching up to win by a head.

Captain Luke was able to beat out Mirage Hanover for third.

Trained by Richard Moreau, Funtime Bayama improved his seasonal record to four wins from five starts and career record to eight wins in 12 starts for Bayama Farms.

“I was hoping to get covered up, which did happen, and I was pleased with the way he was relaxed,” said Filion. “He's used to racing on the front, but he was pretty good in the hole, sitting good. And he came out of it pretty good when I moved him. I was real pleased with him.  

“He means so much to all our family, to all the Filion family. They're all cheering for him. It's just an amazing thing right now.”

A gelded son of Hes Watching, Funtime Bayama has now made over $400,000. He paid $4 to win.

The third and final elimination saw Nijinsky continue his winning ways for driver Louis-Philippe Roy and trainer Anthony Beaton.

Total Stranger kicked things off with a wicked :25.4 opening-quarter. The leader backed things down to the half in :55 before stepping it up for a 1:22.1 three-quarter clocking.

Its Saturday Night came first up at the leader, while Nijinsky was out early from fifth looking for that cover and would eventually sit on that rivals back in a striking spot.

In the stretch, Nijinsky shot off cover and paced strong to a 1:50.2 victory. Storm Shadow hugged the rail throughout in fourth and fired up the inside to a second-place finish by three-quarters of a length.

Total Stranger was able to win a battle for third over Its Saturday Night.

A son of Bettors Delight, Nijinsky is now undefeated in four starts this season after winning just once in 10 starts last year.

“I thought I actually could get the cover on Storm Shadow, letting him in in front of me there, but we were forced pretty early on the backside to move and Storm Shadow elected to stay in,” said Roy. “I kind of grinded a little slower, and finally got the Dexter to go first up. It helped get a little break for my horse there.

“He sprinted again the last sixteenth there. So, I was really happy with him.”

Nijinsky has now made over $200,000 for owners West Wins Stable, John Fielding and Mark Dumain. He paid $2.50 to win.

Following the eliminations, a draw was held to determine the fourth-place finisher that secured the tenth and final spot in next Saturday’s rich final. Janelle Granny for trainer Ron MacDonald won the draw and will compete in the final.

The Pepsi North America Cup elimination winners all secured a starting spot in the final anywhere from post two through six. The draw will take place on Tuesday at noon during a special press conference and luncheon.

The finals for next Saturday’s Fan Hanover Stakes and Armbro Flight were also determined during the Saturday night card .

A pair of eliminations were required for both events, with three-year-old pacing fillies clashing in the Fan Hanover and older trotting mares meeting in the Armbro Flight.

My Girl EJ handed Geocentric just her second loss in the first $35,000 Fan Hanover split.

Driven by Dexter Dunn, My Girl Ej got the lead exiting the first turn before being covered up heading to the half. The Ron Burke trainee angled out going to three-quarters, grabbed the lead and would go the rest of the way.

Geocentric sat fourth throughout and was put down to the drive in the lane, working up at the leader, but ultimately coming up a head short in 1:50.1.

Pass Line, Flawless and Reigning Jade rounded out the top-five.

A daughter of Sweet Lou, My Girl Ej picked up her first win of the season in her second outing. She posted five wins in 13 starts last year, including a victory in the Breeders Crown.

“She was wandering a little when she got by herself,” said Dunn of My Girl Ej entering the stretch. “But then when she heard (Geocentric) coming she took off again. She's a game little filly.”

My Girl Ej is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Elizabeth Novak and Mitchell Friesen. She paid $11.20 to win.

The second Fan Hanover elimination saw Canigetalouploup ride the rail from last to a 1:51.1 upset victory for Dunn and completing a training triple on the night for Burke.

Its A Love Thing rallied from overland at the head of the lane and looked to have a victory in sights. However, the rail opened up for Canigetalouploup to fire through and pull off a 28-1 upset win by a length and three-quarters.

“I mean, there was a lot of speed early…we got away last, and there was lots of action,” said Dunn. “We were just sort of sitting back there, and we did a bit of ducking and diving and weaving, and she sprinted up the lane pretty good.”

Odds On Platinum, Pass And Stow and Caviart Belle completed the top-five to advance.

Canigetalouploup is now two for three this season and five for 18 overall. She’s earned over $170,000 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Lawrence Karr, Phillip Collura and Weaver Bruscemi.

A $2 win ticket on Canigetalouploup paid $59.90.

The draw for the $425,000 Fan Hanover final took place following the eliminations. Elimination winners secured a post from two to six.

1. Its A Love Thing
2. Pass And Stow
3. Canigetalouploup
4. Reigning Jade
5. Geocentric
6. My Girl Ej
7. Pass Line
8. Odds On Platinum
9. Caviart Belle
10. Flawless

The Armbro Flight for older trotting mares saw a pair of small field eliminations held.

M Ms Dream took care of business in the first $35,000 elimination for driver David Miller and trainer Burke. The five-year-old took the top spot in the second quarter and trotted home to a 1:52.4 score, improving to a perfect four-for-four this season.

Miller was effusive in his praise for the mare post-race.

“She's pretty steady, pretty consistent," Miller said. "I mean, she does some pretty amazing things."

M Ms Dream is now a 29-time winner for her career, with over $1.5 million in earnings for Eleven Star Stables, Frank Baldachino and Hillside Stables.

Tipsy Moni, Hp Mama B, Rose Run Yolanda and Adare Castle completed the top five.

M Ms Dream paid $2.90 to win.

Call Me Goo moved to the lead in the second quarter and went on to a 1:53.3 win in the second elimination. Tim Tetrick guided the Jason Skinner trainee to her third win in four starts this year.

A four-year-old daughter of Googoo Gaagaa, Call Me Goo is a 19-time career winner with over $500,000 earned for owners Graham Grace Stables.

Call Me Goo paid $3.60 to win.

The draw for the $233,000 Armbro Flight final took place following the eliminations.

1. Rose Run Yolanda
2. Tactical Mounds
3. Chake
4. Refined
5. Call Me Goo
6. M Ms Dream
7. Adare Castle
8. Warrawee Xenia
9. Hp Mama B
10. Tipsy Moni

The $36,000 Preferred pace provided its share of thrills in addition to the stakes eliminations. Taurasi (Doug McNair), who had come into the race having won all of his previous 11 starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park and 11 of his last 12 overall, finished third behind upset winner Abuckabett Hanover (Dexter Dunn), who went off at 8-1 and paid $18.90 to win. Saulsbrook Victor (Brett MacDonald) was second.

Taurasi started from post eight and was parked to the opening quarter alongside Saulsbrook Victor through a :27 opening quarter.  Abuckabett Hanover started from the widest post in the field of nine and was parked until he made the lead just past the 3/8-mile mark. Taurasi retook the lead before reaching the half in :54.4. 

When challenged on the final turn by Buzzsaw Russ, Taurasi had no answer. Buzzsaw Russ reached three-quarters in 1:22.1. Dunn brought Abuckabett Hanover off the cones with 5/16 to go and made the lead in deep stretch for the 1:49.3 score, giving Dunn the last of his three driving wins on the evening. 

Andrew Harris of Allentown, N.J., trains the six-year-old bay son of Betting Line and the Western Ideal mare All Tucked Up, and co-owns with Bill Pollock and Bruce Areman of Freehold, N.J.  This was the first visit to a winner's circle in 2024 for Abuckabett Hanover, who has now won 16 of his 61 lifetime starts and banked $1,322,994 in career earnings.

The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup is the main event on next Saturday’s (June 15) marquee night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. First post time is 6:30 p.m.

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

(Woodbine Mohawk Park/Standardbred Canada)

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