MILTON, June 2, 2018 – The road to the Pepsi North America Cup made a final stop on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes.
A group of 28 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings competed over three $60,000 divisions with 19 of the 28 competitors eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup.
The first division saw Burning Midnight and driver Trevor Henry pull off a 28-1 stunner in a wild finish that had six-horses across the track.
Nutcracker Sweet, the 6/5 favourite, cleared early-leader Hidden Delight entering the backstretch and led the field through middle-half fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.1. The speedy Summer Travel left from post-ten and was parked the entire mile, grinding away first-over, while eventual winner Burning Midnight was in that outside flow sitting ninth and fourth-over turning for home.
In the stretch, Hidden Delight popped from the two-hole and took the lead, but couldn’t hold off rivals on his outside. Simple Kinda Man angled from a buried spot and came flying, but the fastest of them all was Burning Midnight, who paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4.
Simple Kinda Man was second, while Grand Teton got third despite a quick mid-stretch break. Hidden Delight settled for fourth.
A gelded son of Mach Three, Burning Midnight came into Saturday’s contest off a third-place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for his season debut. The Corey Giles trainee went three for eight during his rookie campaign, posting a mark of 1:51.3.
The Somebeachsomewhere victory gives Giles his first career Grand Circuit score.
“It feels awesome,” said Giles post-race. “I told Trevor (Henry) he can go for a piece, just keep him brave and when you use him he’ll pace hard down to the wire.”
Burning Midnight now has $135,701 in career-earnings for owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, who will be making the starting fee payment next Saturday to take a shot at the Pepsi North America Cup.
“He’s in.” said Giles.
Burning Midnight paid $59.10 to win.
Lather Up remained undefeated in 2018 with an easy victory in the second Somebeachsomewhere division.
Driven by Montrell Teague, Lather Up got 1/9 favourite-respect and called all the shots. The son of Im Gorgeous posted fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4, before pacing off on his rivals and winning in 1:50.3.
St Lads Neptune delivered a strong final-quarter charge to finish second beat a length and a quarter, while Scouts Report and Stock were six-plus lengths back rounding out the top-four.
Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up turned many heads with an incredible 1:49.1 victory last week in his Woodbine Mohawk Park debut and Teague felt he was just as good Saturday.
“He did it just as easy as last week and plugs were still in, so it’s looking good for next week.”
Lather Up is now four for four as a three-year-old and eight for 11 overall in his career. Saturday’s score increases his career-earnings to $142,100 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles.
Teague, who finished second in the 2016 Pepsi North America Cup with Wiggle It Jiggleit, is ready for another chance at Canada’s richest race.
“We’ll be prepared with him, but the pressure is going to be on like always. I don’t think I’m going to get as easy as trip as I’ve been given the horse the last couple times, but we’ll figure out.”
A $2 win ticket on Lather Up returned $2.20.
The final division was captured by Jimmy Freight, who is not eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup.
Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Jimmy Freight was fired out to the lead and never looked back. The Richard Moreau trainee posted fractions of :26., :55.2 and 1:22.4, before pacing home in :27.3 to win by four and a half lengths in 1:50.2.
Metro Pace champion Lost In Time was forced to come first-up and struggled on the far turn. The Jimmy Takter trainee lost significant ground on the leader, but kept battling in the lane and fought off rivals to finish second.
When You Dance finished third, Chocolate Swirl was fourth.
Owned by Adriano Sorella, Jimmy Freight is now three for four this season with all three wins by more than three-lengths. The son of Sportswriter was not paid into the Pepsi North America Cup.
“Last year he was a really nice horse and he wasn’t really staked to anything when I bought him, so we had to stick to the OSS,” said Sorella. “This year I kind of staked him okay, I was a little bit worried about staking him to the NA Cup, but he’s been racing really good, so I’m kind of excited.
“I’ve spent a lot of money on staking in the past and I wish I would’ve staked him to it, but there is a lot of nice horses…I won’t take anything away from him, but I like how he’s been this year.”
Jimmy Freight now has 10 wins and a career-bankroll of $264,752. He paid $5.10 to win.
The entry box for the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations closes Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m.