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A Wish To Win The NA Cup

Published: June 12, 2019 11:55 pm ET

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Late last year, after a rookie season with $345,488 in earnings, a substantial piece of Bettors Wish was made publicly available for sale. Fast forward six months and Bettors Wish has a legitimate shot at a million-dollar purse.

Recent Art Rooney Pace victor Bettors Wish (PP3, Dexter Dunn, 7-2) will take his best shot in the Cup final for trainer Chris Ryder. The talented son of Bettors Delight was a tactical and opportunistic winner in his Cup elimination, as he left from Post 1, engineered a pocket trip through the fractions (:26.2, :56.2, 1:23) and fired through in the lane when the rail opened up. The end result was a sharp, 1:49 win over a hard-charging De Los Cielos Deo, who was motoring home on the far outside. (Click here to watch/hide the video replay.)

Bettors Wish kicked off his 2019 campaign in overnight action at Yonkers Raceway, but stepped up just a few weeks later to sweep the Art Rooney. The bay punctuated his victory in the Rooney final with a 1:51.4 mile, one in which he zipped away from his competition late to post a six-length victory. Bettors Wish – who has won nine of his 16 career starts and has only missed the board once – is unbeaten thus far in 2019 after four starts. He is owned by Chris Ryder (Allentown, NJ), Bella Racing Ltd. (Delaware, OH), Fair Island Farm Inc. (Versailles, KY) and Kenneth Solomon (Coral Springs, FL). But the complexion of that ownership group could have changed over the winter as Bettors Wish was listed on Standardbred Canada's Horses For Sale board, with a quarter of the horse posted for sale for $125,000. There were no takers then, but surely those that kicked the tires are regretting that decision.

Chantal Mitchell, who is Bettors Wish’s assistant trainer, said during the conference that the colt is "as consistent as consistent could be" and that "he's in the best shape he's ever been in." The voyage to the North America Cup is a remarkable one for Mitchell, whose stable was devastated by the Classy Lane barn fire in 2016. Prior to the fire, Mitchell developed a professional relationship with trainer Chris Ryder, who would send horses to Canada and to the care of Mitchell's former employer Kevin O'Reilly.

"When Kevin moved to Denmark, Chris continued to call me for the same thing. When you have a big stable you can’t be everywhere at once. So this way I am his eyes up here. I look after his horses like they’re mine."

Mitchell discussed the elim winner heading into this Saturday's final with TROT Magazine's Rachel Oenema at Tuesday's 2019 Pepsi North America Cup draw.

The 36th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup will go postward at 10:14 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live on TSN5 from 10-10:30 p.m. The full field for the 2019 Pepsi North America Cup is as follows:

2019 Pepsi North America Cup
(Post – Horse – Driver – Morning Line Odds)
1 – Aflame Hanover – Andrew McCarthy – 20-1
2 – De Los Cielos Deo – David Miller – 9-2
3 – Bettors Wish – Dexter Dunn – 7-2
4 – Workin Ona Mystery – Tim Tetrick – 2-1
5 – Captain Victorious – Yannick Gingras – 15-1
6 – Tyga Hanover – Sylvain Filion – 12-1
7 – Best In Show – Bob McClure – 15-1
8 – Captain Crunch – Scott Zeron – 5-2
9 – Hurrikane Emperor – Dan Dube – 15-1
10 – Stag Party – Brian Sears – 12-1

The winner of the Pepsi North America Cup earns $500,000. This year marks the 19th anniversary of Pepsi’s sponsorship of the race.

The Pepsi North America Cup undercard features the $454,000 Fan Hanover, $330,000 Roses Are Red, $256,000 Armbro Flight, $247,000 Goodtimes and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup.

The Cup card wagering menu will feature a $100,000 guaranteed Pick-5, $100,000 All-Stakes Pick-4 and the usual $50,000 Early Pick-4.

Post time for the first of 15 races on the Pepsi North America Cup card is 6:30 p.m. To view entries for Saturday's card, click on one of the following links:

2019 Pepsi North America Cup Important Links
Entries || Program Pages (TrackIT)

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