CAMPBELLVILLE, June 10 – Fear The Dragon, driven by David Miller, defeated the bettor’s choice Huntsville by a three-quarters of a length to capture the prestigious $1 million Pepsi North America Cup in 1:48.4, Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Trained by Delaware, Ohio’s Brian Brown, Fear The Dragon, gave his conditioner his first Cup victory and his driver back-to back Cup wins. Miller, who now has two trophies, won last year’s edition with Betting Line. Stablemate Downbytheseaside, who is also trained by Brown, finished a third.
“It’s unexplainable; you would have to ask the guys that win these races regularly,” said Brown following the race. “This is my first time, I don’t know what to say, it’s incredible that were even here with two horses and to come away with a win is just something that is unexplainable.”
Sports Column and driver Chris Christoforou was quickest off the gate from post five and grabbed the front on the rail. Classic Pro and driver Trevor Henry was close on his heels from post six, making a rush for the lead from the outside. Classic Pro was able to take command at the quarter pole posting a flashy :25.2 opening panel.
The speed revved up in the backstretch. Filibuster Hanover and driver Louis Philippe Roy came first-over from third to clear to the front but a stalking Downbytheseaside, driven by Brian Sears, caught second-over cover and was quick to steal the lead at the midway point. Downbytheseaside posted a scorching :52.1 half, the fastest half-mile in Mohawk history.
The 4-5 favourite, Huntsville, driven by Tim Tetrick, was on the move first-up from fifth before the half. Fear The Dragon followed behind the advancing 4-5 favourite. Downbytheseaside remained in command past the three-quarters in 1:19.3 and into the lane.
All three Cup elimination winners—Downbytheseaside on rail, Huntsville in the middle and Fear The Dragon on the outside—battled into the stretch. It then became a two-horse duel between Huntsville and Fear Of The Dragon, but it was the Brian Brown trainee who crossed the wire first, taking a new lifetime mark in the process. Huntsville was second and Downbytheseaside was third.
“My horse was having a hard time keeping up,” said Miller of the quick fractions. “He was gapping and I was chasing him and he didn’t really get into contention until right at the head of the stretch and then he dug, he fought, Huntsville he kept fighting and it was a battle right to the wire.”
Fear The Dragon remains unbeaten as a three-year-old with six victories from six outings. He notched his 11th lifetime victory in 17 starts. The son of Dragon Again and Armbro Cinnamon picked up $750,000 for winning the Cup, which increases his career earnings to $1,075,844 for owner Emerald Highlands Farm.
Fear The Dragon paid $4.90, 2.60 and $2.10, combining with Huntsville ($2.40, $2.10) for a $8.60 (4-3) exactor. A 4-3-2 (Downbytheseaside, $2.80) triactor was worth $19.90, while a $1 superfecta [4-3-2-6 (Classic Pro)] returned $59.55.