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Moore Expects More This Saturday

Published: August 27, 2020 7:21 pm ET

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When Dr. Ian Moore started talking about this Saturday's Pepsi North America Cup Final, he didn't immediately discuss either of his two colts that qualified for the $1 million event, but he instead focused on a horse and trainer for whom he clearly has a ton of respect.

"I feel bad for Jack Darling; he's got a darn good colt there and it just didn't work out for him," Moore told Trot Insider. "I spoke to him briefly [on Tuesday] and I guess his colt has a 103 degree temperature. He might have been harbouring an infection on the weekend that might have just taken a little bit from him at the end of his mile. So I do feel bad for him; we're only stabled, as you know, about 40 feet apart there and we often jog together."

Those colts that are stabled 40 feet apart -- Darling's Beaumond Hanover and Moore's Tattoo Artist -- finished one-quarter of a length apart in Saturday's first 2020 Pepsi North America Cup elimination, the first match-up of the year for the two Ontario Sires Stakes standouts. Tattoo Artist got the best of Beaumond Hanover by finishing fifth and securing a spot in this Saturday's $1 million NA Cup Final.

Tattoo Artist's stablemate Denali Seelster finished fifth in his elimination for driver Trevor Henry, giving Moore a shot at taking home $750,000 of the million-dollar prize.

In the first elimination, driver Bob McClure sent Tattoo Artist for the front but was beat to the first turn by Odds On Osiris and driver Sylvain Filion. Then when Tall Dark Stranger brushed to the front, Tattoo Artist raced shuffled to third—a spot which left him behind a wall in the stretch-sprint to the finish.

“With how fast he can leave, I think I got a little overconfident,” McClure said during an interview on COSA TV. “I didn’t have him on his toes enough -- I think he could’ve snapped right to the front. It would’ve made my life a lot easier, but he got outleft by Sylvain -- and Sylvain had the same gameplan I did, can’t fault him for that. I ended up locked in praying. I think in the last turn I could actually hear Doc Moore screaming. I jerked him out to go in between Sylvain and Yannick, they shut off and I jerked him in.

“There was a horse going off the rail so I tried to jerk him back out. By the fifth time I jerked him sideways, I finally had the lane. I know it doesn’t look like he had much at the wire, but he had been jerked five different directions, coming home :26, and he still went forward enough to get himself into the final. You have to give him a lot of credit for that. When you leave, get jammed up, locked in, jerk them all over the racetrack, drive them terrible but when you find a lane they still go can’t teach that.”

Moore admitted that he expects a different approach from McClure this Saturday.

Tattoo Artist and driver Bob McClure

"I was thinking that Bobby [McClure] will probably be driving him a little differently this week," said Moore. "I don't know, I'm usually fairly humble about it but I kind of like our chances. I still think he's got some untapped potential there that hasn't been seen yet. I could be totally wrong and maybe he's in over his head but we'll get the opportunity to find out on Saturday night for sure."

McClure and Moore are on the same page with respect to Tattoo Artist's potential and ability to cross the wire first on Saturday night.

“I think he has as good a shot as anybody," said McClure. "I have a lot of faith in this horse.”

The oddsmakers have Tattoo Artist as the fifth choice, with an 8-1 morning line assessment. He leaves from post seven, while stablemate Denali Seelster -- one of three horses at 20-1 -- lines up to his left in post six for owner Ratchford Stable of North Sydney. N.S.

"The other little guy, well, that was a late addition," admitted Moore. "I had already entered him for non-winners of five. [Owner] David Ratchford texted me and asked 'what would you do?' and I said I'd probably race him in the non-winners of five. He called be back at 9:30 on draw day and said 'the girls (he's got three girls) want me to spend some money so I guess I'll spend the $8,000 and put the colt in.'"

Denali Seelster and driver Trevor Henry

Having two horses qualify for the North America Cup should be considered an achievement in and of itself, and Moore is certainly thrilled to have 20 percent of the field in his barn. But that's not new territory for the veteran conditioner. It will be fun to have two in," said Moore, who also had two colts qualify for the North America Cup Final in 2011 -- Rockabillie and Eighteen. Both colts finished out of the top five.

"Hopefully we get a little better on the end this time. Eighteen came :25.2 on the end of his mile, and Rockabillie actually got in his way at one point when he got a little rough. The pair of them raced pretty good; it was a solid field that year." Up The Credit won that year, with the field also including Meadowlands Pace winner Roll With Joe, world champion Big Jim and Little Brown Jug winner Big Bad John.

Of course, having two horses qualify for the North America Cup field in this COVID-19 environment does have its tolerable drawbacks as Moore was quick to quip.

"I do miss the receptions that they normally have at Mohawk because that's usually a bit of fun...even though I don't like the Maple Leafs, so they don't need to keep bringing a Maple Leaf drawmaster all the time," said Moore with a smile. "Other than that, I hope it goes well. I hope they have a big handle on the card, because they're going to have a good card with all the stakes on there....I hope we go into it healthy and come out of it healthy, have some fun, get a good mile in and pickup some decent money while we're there."

The preparation for this Saturday's test started two days ago after well-deserved time away from the racetrack.

"They just started back jogging [Tuesday] because they raced Saturday so I always give them two days off in the paddock."

Denali Seelster (with an obscured Tyler Moore driving) and Tattoo Artist (with Dr. Ian Moore aboard)

Moore noted that Tattoo Artist -- a son of Hes Watching out of the Artsplace mare Stylish Artist owned by Florida's Frank Cannon and Let It Ride Stables Inc. -- definitely lives up to his sire's name before hitting the track at Classy Lane.

"It takes Tattoo about 10 minutes to get to the track, because he takes his time, looks in all the barn doors, stops and looks around," said Moore. "So they jog Tuesday, Wednesday and then I think this week I'll train them a little...not heavy training, just a light to moderate training session, the pair of them together on Thursday, paddock them on Friday morning, give them a three-mile light jog and then off to retention on Friday night."

Boasting victories in many of harness racing's most coveted stakes events, Moore would love to add the richest pacing event in Canada to that long and accomplished resume.

"I'd like to win it for sure, it's one of the biggest stature races out there in North America today, and of course worth a lot of money as well. We've been in it a few times now...State Treasurer got a fifth and that might have been the best I've done. We've had some decent horses, none just quite at that top level.

"I know Tall Dark Stranger's a pretty darn good horse," continued Moore, "and everybody keeps saying he's going to get beat...I do like my chances with Tattoo for sure; Denali, obviously he might be considered a little bit over his head but he's still in the race and he's going to be on the program and you never know. It's a horse race. We're hoping for the best and I'd love to get a win in that, for sure."

The 2020 Pepsi North America Cup headlines a stakes-filled card this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park that also includes the $400,000 Fan Hanover, $290,000 Roses Are Red, $220,000 Armbro Flight, $234,058 Nassagaweya (two divisions) and $214,645 Eternal Camnation (three divisions) for what is surely the most star-studded card of harness racing on the Canadian calendar so far this season.

$1,000,000 Pepsi North America Cup
1. Mayhem Hanover (Randy Waples / Gregg McNair) 20-1
2. Moneyman Hill (Jonathan Drury / Carmen Auciello) 20-1
3. Captain Kirk (Jody Jamieson / Tony Alagna) 3-1
4. Tall Dark Stranger (Yannick Gingras / Nancy Takter) 7-5
5. Capt Midnight (Doug McNair / Tony Alagna) 9-2
6. Denali Seelster (Trevor Henry / Dr. Ian Moore) 20-1
7. Tattoo Artist (Bob McClure / Dr. Ian Moore) 8-1
8. Allywag Hanover (Louis-Philippe Roy / Brett Pelling) 4-1
9. Captain Barbossa (James MacDonald / Tony Alagna) 15-1
10. Odds On Osiris (Sylvain Filion / Melanie Wrenn) 10-1

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