MILTON, September 4, 2021 – The field for the 38th Pepsi North America Cup is set following a pair of eliminations on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Bulldog Hanover and Perfect Sting. captured Saturday’s $50,000 eliminations, earning their connections the right to select their post position for next Saturday’s $1 million final.
Bulldog Hanover overcame a wicked third-quarter duel with Rockyroad Hanover to power by his rival in the lane and score a 1:49 victory in the first elimination. Jody Jamieson guided the Jack Darling trainee to victory.
Rockyroad Hanover and Dexter Dunn got full control early, posting comfortable fractions of :27.3 and :56.3. Sitting fifth, Jamieson angled Bulldog Hanover out at three-eighths and the 1/5 favourite rushed up alongside Rockyroad Hanover. The pacers hooked up for a wild :26.1 third-quarter.
Bulldog Hanover flexed his muscles in the stretch by pushing on by his rival and powering home, impressively wrapped up, to take the victory. Desperate Man rallied to grab second, beat a length, while Rockyroad Hanover settled for third.
Southwind Gendry and Bettor Sun completed the top-five to advance to next week’s final.
“I just think he’s the best horse on the continent,” said Jamieson of Bulldog Hanover. “He just felt so great to me. We were walking going to the half and he was settled in like a great horse does. I didn’t even ask him to pace going to the half he just took off and when I called on him at the head of the lane he kicked into another gear again, I don’t even know what gear it was, he’s just an amazing horse.”
A son of Shadow Play, Bulldog Hanover has now won six of eight starts this season after winning four of six as a rookie. His career earnings moved to $577,811 for owners Jack Darling Stables and Brad Grant. The latter joined the ownership group of ‘Bulldog’ prior to this season.
Jamieson has won the Pepsi North America Cup twice, 2007 with Tell All and 2011 with Up The Credit. Darling captured the ‘Cup’ in 1997 with Gothic Dream.
A $2 win ticket on Bulldog Hanover returned
Perfect Sting battled back in a final-quarter sprint to defeat Whichwaytothebeach in the second elimination. David Miller took his usual position behind the Joe Holloway trainee.
Sitting third at the opening-quarter, Perfect Sting brushed to the lead in the second-quarter, taking the field by the half in :55.4. Whichwaytothebeach popped the two-hole approaching three-quarters, which Perfect Sting hit in 1:24.
In the stretch, Whichwaytothebeach took a short lead with an eighth of a mile remaining, but Perfect Sting displayed tremendous heart to battle back and win by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.4.
Abuckabett Hanover was third, while Simon Says Hanover and Jimmy Connor B completed the top-five.
Perfect Sting, who was undefeated in 10 starts as a rookie, had suffered several narrow defeats this season, but turned the tables Saturday.
“Well that’s what we had been hoping for,” said trainer Holloway. “He had not done that since he raced the older horses and dug deep that night and then he’s been there, nobody is going tougher trips, he’s being consistent, I think we’ve got beat a total of about 12 feet, but he just lets them get by and tonight he dug back in.
“David (Miller) and I had talked about it and we made a bridle change and we had some earplugs in with holes in the bridle and pulled it out when (Whichwaytothebeach) was next to him, so I think that helped.”
A son of Always B Miki, Perfect Sting now has four wins in nine starts this season and pushed his career numbers to 14 wins and over $1 million in earnings. He is owned by breeder Brittany Farms and Val D’Or Farms.
Miller is a two-time winner of the ‘Cup’, scoring victories in 2016 with Betting Line and 2017 with Fear The Dragon. Holloway won the ‘Cup in 1992 with Safely Kept.
A $2 win ticket on Perfect Sting returned $3.
The post-position draw for the Pepsi North America Cup will take place on Monday evening during the Woodbine Racing Live simulcast show at 6:30 p.m.
The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup final will highlight an incredible stakes-filled card next Saturday (September 11). Post time is 6:30 p.m.
The full field for the Pepsi North America Cup, excluding also eligible, is listed below:
Jimmy Connor B
Simon Says Hanover