Campbellville, ON --- Lyonssomewhere and driver Corey Callahan shot through an opening in deep stretch to take the first of three C$50,000 eliminations Saturday (June 7) at Mohawk in preparation for next Saturday’s Pepsi North America Cup, the richest harness race on the continent.
|New Image Media photo|
|Lyonssomewhere and driver Corey Callahan took the first of three NA Cup eliminations.|
Trained by Jimmy Takter, the son of champion Somebeachsomewhere kept his racing record perfect, now five-for-five, as he scored by 1-3/4 lengths in a career best 1:50.1. It was also his first crack at stakes company and he passed with flying colors. His sire, of course, won the 2008 Pepsi North America Cup, retiring as Horse of the Year with just a single loss in 21 career outings.
Lyonssomewhere was hustled to the front initially but was overtaken by odds-on JK Endofanera just before the first quarter was reached in :27.4. JK Endofanera proceeded through easy fractions of :56.3, then 1:24, when being challenged by Western Vintage as the field turned for home.
But after putting away that rival, JK Endofanera started to drift a bit in mid-stretch, allowing Lyonssomewhere to blast through on the inside and pull away to an emphatic victory. Beat the Drum wound up second, with JK Endofanera fading to third. Western Vintage was fourth.
“The only horse I was really worried about leaving out of there was Limelight Beach,” said Callahan. “My plan was to get there and follow Brian (Sears, driving JK Endofanera). So everything worked out perfect. I got there really easy. With him getting soft fractions, I was a little worried but my horse was really good.”
About his :26.1 final quarter, Callahan added, “He paced it real easy. Brian’s horse drifted out and gave me an easy trip up the rail. He just absolutely exploded. It’s the first time I’ve called on him and asked him to pace and I still think he’s got more left.”
For all of his harness racing success, essentially with trotters, Takter has only sent two horses to the post in previous Cups, which have showcased the finest 3-year-old pacers in North America since 1984. Both of Takter’s starters came in 2012 and one of them, Time To Roll, finished second to Thinking Out Loud.
Sent postward the second choice at 7-2 behind 1-2 JK Endofanera, Lyonssomewhere, owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, paid $9.20, $5.10 and $3.00, combining with a 27-1 shot, Beat The Drum ($16.80, $4.50) for a $149 (6-2) exactor. A 6-2-1 (JK Endofanera, $2.10) triactor was worth $364.60.
|New Image Media photo|
|McWicked won the second NA Cup elimination in a time of 1:48.3.|
McWicked and driver David Miller rallied from third in mid-stretch to haul down Sometimes Said and take the second C$50,000 Pepsi North America Cup elimination by two lengths.
After briefly taking the field to the half in :54.3, McWicked relinquished the lead to Let's Drink On It, then was also passed by Sometimes Said in early stretch, before rallying down the middle of the track for the ultra-impressive tally in a life best 1:48.3.
Trained by Casie Coleman, who won the 2010 Cup with Sportswriter, McWicked, a son of McArdle, has had a busy career to date, with 10 starts last year while winning three, and four outings this year, with two victories.
He came into Saturday’s elim off a second place finish to Always B Miki in a Somebeachsomewhere division last week. Always B Miki was sent postward the 4-5 choice in the elim, but broke stride while three-wide going around the first turn and shockingly eliminated himself from contention.
Meanwhile, up front, Let's Drink On It rolled past McWicked going into the far turn and opened several lengths on his pursuers. But after the three-quarters was reached in a red-hot 1:21.2, the leader started to grudgingly come back to his challengers.
Sometimes Said, with driver John Campbell, appeared headed to victory but Miller eased McWicked out from third and blew by the pair for the win. Sometimes Said wound up second, Let's Drink On It was third and Ideal Cowboy was fourth.
“I didn’t expect a '48' (seconds) mile, but I’ve been real high on this colt since I got him,” said Coleman. “I didn’t train him down myself. I got him (from owner SSG Stables of North Boston, N.Y.) after he qualified. He’s been pushbutton for us. He’s just a sweetheart of a horse. He makes our job look easy.
“When they sent him to me, it was their (the owner’s) goal and definitely my goal (Pepsi North America Cup). And the way I’ve prepped him is to get ready for this race. This is his first major race and I’d like nothing better but to win another NA Cup. He’s a big lazy colt. He can go on the front, he can come off the pace. He’s very, very versatile.”
McWicked paid $9.00, $4.90 and $3.30, teaming with Sometimes Said ($10.10, $5.50) for a $69 (1-2) exactor. A 1-2-4 (Let's Drink On It, $3.20) triactor returned $218.80.
|New Image Media photo|
|Tellitlikeitis won the final elimination in a time of 1:48.4.|
The third and final Pepsi North America Cup elimination looked to be the toughest on paper, with He's Watching, Luck Be Withyou, Tellitlikeitis and Doo Wop Hanover all highly-regarded contenders.
But at the finish, it was the Jimmy Takter-trained, Brett Miller-driven Tellitlikeitis who rolled by the odds-on choice, He's Watching, to win by a comfortable 2-1/4 lengths in 1:48.4, just a tick slower than McWicked’s time in the second elim.
But it was the manner of victory which could bode well for the son of 2009 Cup winner Well Said next Saturday.
It was only the colt’s second start of the year, coming off a 1:49.1 clocking when taking a Pennsylvania Sires Stake May 17 at Pocono Downs. Last year, he won only twice in eight starts and was well-beaten by Boomboom Ballykeel in the rich Metro Pace.
But he’s a different animal this year and may well go postward the choice in Canada’s richest harness event. And he’ll be a second entrant for Takter, who earlier in the night won the first elim with Lyonssomewhere.
He's Watching, the 3-5 favorite, took over from Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou before the half was reached in :54.2, while Tellitlikeitis was tucked in third along the rail. He's Watching hit the three-quarters in 1:21.4 and appeared capable of holding off a bid from Luck Be Withyou in mid-stretch.
But Miller moved out from third with Tellitlikeitis and came motoring home for the emphatic win over He's Watching, with Luck Be Withyou third and Jet Airway fourth.
“I’ve sat behind him twice, and once in a qualifier,” said Miller. “The colt has tremendous speed. He can leave. He can sit in a hole nice. He’s very, very quick. He’s special. He did relax pretty good. I never sat behind him as a 2-year-old but I saw him race.”
Tellitlikeitis, owned and bred by Lothlorien, paid $10.00, $3.50 and $2.90, combining with He's Watching ($2.80, $2.10) for a $21.20 (3-1) exactor. A 3-1-2 (Luck Be Withyou, $3.20) triactor was worth $69.60, while a $1 superfecta (3-1-2-4) came back $127.10.
The top three in each elimination, plus a fourth place finisher drawn by lot (Ideal Cowboy), qualified for next Saturday’s C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the richest pacing event on the continent.
Each winner’s connections also earned the right to select a post position for the final prior to the balance of the field being drawn at Tuesday’s press conference at Mohawk.