MILTON, June 8, 2019 – The field is set for the 36th Pepsi North America Cup following a pair of $50,000 eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Bettors Wish and Workin Ona Mystery captured the elimination contests to earn the right to select their post-position in the $1 million final. The top-five finishers from each split advanced to Canada’s richest Standardbred race.
The first elimination took an unexpected turn when favourite Captain Crunch made a break entering the first-turn, which opened the door for Bettors Wish and driver Dexter Dunn.
Air Force Hanover got around a breaking Captain Crunch to post an opening-quarter of :26.2. Bettors Wish and Dunn circled to the top from second entering the backstretch. Hurrikane Emperor made a backside rush from fourth and led by a neck at the half in :56.2, before clearing as they hit the far turn.
Captain Crunch reset after his first-turn break and grinded away on the outside through the middle-half, sitting third at three-quarters. Hurrikane Emperor paced a :26.3 third-quarter to lead into the lane.
In the stretch, Bettors Wish shot up the inside on Hurrikane Emperor to win in a career-best 1:49.3. De Los Cielos Deo rallied from eighth with an incredible :25 final-quarter to finish second by a length. Best In Show came from sixth to finish third. Hurrikane Emperor battled to finish fourth, while Captain Crunch made the final by gutting out a fifth-place finish.
Trained by Chris Ryder, Bettors Wish came into his Cup elimination undefeated in three starts this season. The son of Bettors Delight had most recently crushed his rivals in the $300,000 Art Rooney.
“The good thing about this horse is he is so versatile where he seems to be able to handle whatever is going on around him,” said Dunn of Bettors Wish after seeing Captain Crunch make a break. “He’s the kind of horse that makes you feel full of confidence when you sit behind him.
“Coming into today we had a really good draw, but we were up against a hot field, so you never know, but like I said he’s versatile and gives you a lot of confidence.”
Bettors Wish now sports career numbers of nine wins and $550,488 earned for owners Ryder, Bella Racing Limited, Fair Island Farm Inc. and Kenneth Solomon.
A $2 win ticket on the Ontario sired Bettors Wish returned $8.60.
Reinsman Tim Tetrick recorded a milestone victory in the second Cup elimination with Workin Ona Mystery.
Trained by Brian Brown, Workin Ona Mystery grabbed the lead in the second-quarter and powered away to a career-best 1:49 victory to give Tetrick his 11,000th career victory.
“I want to say this win is for my father, I hope he’s doing good and watching back home,” said Tetrick following the victory. “I’ve come a long way from a small town in southern Illinois. I’ve been very fortunate and hopefully this isn’t my last milestone.”
A son of Captaintreacherous, Workin Ona Mystery improved to three for three this season with the elimination victory. The Brown trainee has only suffered one loss in nine career starts and has amassed $183,817 in earnings for owners Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith and Wingfield Brothers LLC.
“He likes to race and every time I put him up close he can just go forever it seems like,” said Tetrick. “Brian (Brown) said he was ready and most of his always are ready and he wasn’t lying, colt raced super, big mile.”
A $2 win ticket on Workin Ona Mystery returned $3.70.
Brown trainee Air Force Hanover, who finished sixth in the first elimination, won the draw to be the also eligible in next Saturday’s final.
The post-position draw for next Saturday’s $1 million final will take place Tuesday afternoon during a special luncheon at Woodbine Mohawk Park.