MILTON, June 18, 2022 – Pebble Beach might not have heard the roar of the crowd, but a primetime performance spoke volumes of his talent in a brilliant $1 million Pepsi North America Cup showing, Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
The decision by driver Todd McCarthy not to pop the earplugs down the lane showed just how much confidence he had in his speedy bay colt.
It certainly wasn’t an ideal start for Pebble Beach, the 2-5 choice in the 39th edition of the Cup, as McCarthy found himself with an early choice to make as the field made its way into the first turn.
Frozen Hanover, a son of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere, crossed over from post nine to seize the lead, as Cup elim winner Beach Glass, also a son Somebeachsomehere, settled into second. Unable to find a spot along the rail, Pebble Beach continued to press on from the outside as the field reached the opening quarter in :27.3.
McCarthy and the Noel Daley trainee glided up beside the pacesetter, eventually seizing command just before a half in :55.0, a length in front of Beach Glass, with Frozen Hanover sitting third and I Did It Myway fourth.
Reaching three quarters in 1:22.3, Pebble Beach came off the turn full of pace, a confident McCarthy sitting chilly on a cool southwestern Ontario Saturday evening, as the duo began to dash away with ease from their rivals.
Late in the stretch, it was simply a case of what the winning the margin would be and who would round out the next spots on the tote board.
Pebble Beach notched a 2 ¾-length win in 1:50, with Beach Glass securing second, Frozen Hanover taking third, and Ron rallying late for fourth.
“I would have liked the idea of being able to get in early and make the decision to move, but our hand got forced there and I had to keep pressing,” said McCarthy. A :55 [half]… I was pretty happy with that. I just had to look after him from there and I knew he would have a big last quarter for me. He was terrific.”
Daley had equally high praise for his speedster.
“It wasn’t where I thought we were going to be, but they were going easy fractions. I left it to Todd to make his decision there and he did the right thing. As you see, he still has his earplugs in, so he wasn’t too worried about it. He showed now he’s got a bit of versatility – he can do it in front or behind.”
For driver and trainer, their first Cup appearances proved to be the charm.
Daley trained 2010 Cup finalist All Speed Hanover, however, he sent the horse to conditioner Mike Vanderkemp for the Cup. He finished 10th in the final after winning his elimination. McCarthy was making his Cup debut in just his third season racing in North America. He followed the lead of his older brother Andy and relocated to America from Australia in the second half of 2020.
Tonight, Daley and McCarthy were the dynamic duo with a dynamic sophomore star bred by Brittany Farms.
“It’s so surreal,” said McCarthy, on his way over to the winner’s circle. “I’m speechless. I can’t thank Noel enough for what he’s done for me since I’ve come over here too. He was a large part in helping me come over and to win this race with him has just been unbelievable. I was lucky enough to pick up this horse early on and he’s just been an absolute pleasure.”
Daley, primarily known for his success with trotters, added a new chapter to his racing repertoire.
“It’s probably our biggest win,” offered Daley. “Mr Muscleman won a million-dollar race [the 2003 $1.3 million Canadian Trotting Classic] up here. It’s good to have a pacer. I’ve never won a big race with a pacer like this.”
Originally an $85,000 purchase (Hip No. 710) at the 2020 Lexington Select Sale, Pebble Beach didn’t hear the adulation and applause in the final quarter of his journey but was every bit deserving of it all.
Now a 10-time winner, along with three seconds and two thirds from 15 starts, Pebble Beach paid $3.10 for the win. He is owned by Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres Inc., and Laexpressfoderadeovolente.
The evening’s second race, the Milton District Hospital Foundation (@MDH_Foundation) trot, was won by multiple stakes champion Forbidden Trade.
Saturday evening’s Pepsi North America Cup card established a new Pepsi North America Cup handle record of $6.3 million, besting the $5.6 million handle in 2020. The handle was headlined by $1.9 million in new money wagered on the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout.
Woodbine Communications, Chris Lomon