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Road to the NA Cup – The countdown is on

May 5, 2015

CAMPBELLVILLE, May 5 – The Pepsi North America Cup is now less than two-months away and a total of 56 three-year-old pacers are still on the road to the “Cup”.


The most prestigious race in Canadian harness racing will be contested on Saturday, June 20 and many of the “Cup” eligibles have hit the track to commence their sophomore campaign. 

Mark McKelvie of the WEG Media Department has updated his Road to the NA Cup rankings and provides a list of where each Pepsi North America Cup eligible has resurfaced.

Road to the NA Cup (May 5) – by Mark McKelvie

It won’t be long until Pepsi North America Cup night and the finest three-year-olds in harness racing line up for the $1 million contest at Mohawk Racetrack.

The connections of 56 three-year-olds made the most recent payment to remain eligible to the “Cup”, but now the moment of truth is quickly approaching as the final sustaining payment is due May 15. Almost all the “Cup” eligibles have qualified and many of them are currently racing.

You could say it’s still a little early to predict which three-year-olds will be on the gate for Canada’s richest harness race in seven-weeks, but unlike the winter months, we now have qualifiers and races to judge.

My current top-ten list doesn’t see many significant changes from my original list in March, as many of these three-year-olds are just getting things going, but one sophomore in particular recently turned in another sensational performance and has made a significant leap in my top-ten.

Here is my latest ‘Road to the NA Cup’ rankings and a look at what each “Cup” eligible has been up to.

Ranking/Horse/Previous Ranking

#1 Artspeak (1)

The two-year-old champion returned to a rocky start for his three-year-old season when he made a break in his first qualifier on April 25 at The Meadowlands. Reports say the break was not a big issue and all signs point towards the Tony Alagna trainee returning to The Meadowlands for another qualifier this Saturday. His first qualifier doesn’t mean anything to me and until the races start to me matter my opinion won’t change, Artspeak is the top dog heading into the stakes season.

#2 Go Daddy Go (2)

The Bob McIntosh trainee has yet to qualify this season, but we will likely see last year’s Battle of Waterloo champion returning shortly. The son of Ponder never missed a cheque in 14 starts last season and you can count on his Hall of Fame trainer having him primed and ready for all the big dances this season.

#3 Reverend Hanover (3)

Last season’s Ontario Sires Stakes champion made his first qualifying appearance last Friday and looked very impressive in victory. The Casie Coleman trainee paced his mile in 1:54.3 and finished up with an easy-looking :27.1 final-quarter. The son of 2010 NA Cup Sportswriter went undefeated last season in four starts and you can always count on Coleman to have a star three-year-old pacer.

#4 Wiggle It Jiggleit (10)

In my first rankings, I listed this son of Mr Wiggles in the number ten spot. I was hesitant to rate him any higher at the time because it is not unusual for a winter standout to be overhyped heading into the Grand Circuit season. However, after several weeks off, the George Teague stable star returned to the track with an impressive 1:50 winning performance in the Simpson Memorial last Saturday at The Meadowlands. I’m not sure yet that Wiggle It Jiggleit is the real deal, but seven-weeks out from the “Cup” he sure looks like he could be.

#5 In The Arsenal (4)

This son of American Ideal turned in his first qualifier of the season last Friday at The Meadowlands. The Kelvin Harrison trainee finished fifth, but more importantly paced a mile of 1:55 and capped it off with a :27 final-quarter. In The Arsenal had a streak of four stakes wins in a row last season and finished a game second in the Breeders Crown final. He has to be considered a threat heading into the stakes season.

#6 Lyons Levi Lewis (5)

This Ron Burke trainee has yet to qualify this season. Last season, he finished second in the Metro Pace final and only missed a cheque once in 12 starts. Despite having only missed one pay day, this son of Well Said was sent off at 120/1 in the Matron final and finished second. He finished off the year with a third place effort in the Breeders Crown, but I still feel he is coming into his three-year-old season flying a bit under the radar to some.

#7 Yankee Bounty (6)

Made his second qualifying appearance of the season last Friday at The Meadowlands and won his qualifier in 1:52.4. The Ron Burke trainee fired home in :26.3 on that morning. This son of 2003 NA Cup winner Yankee Cruiser was the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion last season and won eight of ten starts. He didn’t tackle the Grand Circuit company often, but you can always expect a Burke trainee to be a contender in the big events.

#8 Pierce Hanover (7)

This son of Cams Card Shark rebounded after a break in his first qualifier of the season with a 1:55 mile last Friday morning at Mohawk. The Ken Sucee trainee finished second on that morning, but paced home nicely in :27. Pierce Hanover could be one of the local hopefuls in the NA Cup and comes from the stable of brothers Ralph and Ken Sucee. He proved he can hang with the Grand Circuit company last season when he won his elimination of the Governors Cup and subsequently finished third in the rich final.

#9 Traceur Hanover (8)

Last season’s Breeders Crown champion, Traceur Hanover has yet to qualify this season. The son of Western Ideal is back in the care of Normand Bardier Jr., who developed and raced the colt through the first nine starts of his two-year-old season. Traceur Hanover finished last season with five wins from 14 starts and finished in the top-two in eight of those starts.

#10 Sicily (9)

Another Ron Burke trainne, Sicily finished second in his season debut last week at Harrah’s Philadelphia. This son of Art Major is entered to race this Saturday in a Non-Winners of Two event at The Meadowlands. I think this gelding comes into his three-year-old season as a bit of dark horse. He only had one win last year and made the majority of his starts in the New York Sires Stakes, but when he raced on the Grand Circuit he more than held his own. The Burke stable and company bought Sicily in December after his two-year-old season and could have another legit threat to add to their army.

Pepsi North America Cup eligibles update (as of May 5, 2015)

ALLBEEF N NOBULL (Trainer: Monte Gelrod)

          Won his second start of the season in 1:51.4 on May 3 at Philadelphia in a N/W of 3 event. Finished second in his season debut the week before.

AMERICANPRIMETIME (Trainer: Rick Dane)

          Last raced on April 18 at The Meadowlands, finished 6th in a leg of the Whata Baron and was individually timed in 1:53.2.

AMORA BEACH (Trainer: Dave Menary)

          Won his season debut in a N/W of 2 event on Monday (May 4) at Mohawk. He paced a mile of 1:53.4 with a :27.1 final-quarter.

ARQUE HANOVER (Trainer: Jeff Gillis)

          Finished 4th in his season debut on Saturday (May 2) at Mohawk in a division of The Diplomat series. Paced his mile in 1:52.4 with a :26.4 final-quarter.

ARTSPEAK (Trainer: Tony Alagna)

          Made a break in his first qualifier of the season on April 25 at The Meadowlands. Likely to qualify at The Big M again this Saturday (May 9).

ASAP HANOVER (Trainer: Linda Toscano)

          Finished 4th in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:54.4 with a final-quarter of :27.1.

BERKLEY (Trainer: Ed Hart)

          Won his season debut on April 28 at Yonkers in a N/W of 2 event. He captured the race in 1:54.3 and is entered to race Tuesday (May 5) at Yonkers.

BETTING EXCHANGE (Trainer: Tom Fanning)

          Finished 8th in his season debut from post-nine in a N/W of 4 event Saturday (May 2) at The Meadowlands. He was beat five-lengths and was individually timed in 1:51.2 with a :26 final-quarter.

BRING ON THE BEACH (Trainer: Jim McDonald)

          Won his first qualifier of the season last Saturday (May 2) at Pompano Park in 1:56.4 with a :28.4 final-quarter.

CAMTURO ROCK (Trainer: Eric Plowman)

          Finished 8th in his season debut last Saturday (May 2) at Hoosier Park. He was individually timed in 1:55.1.

DEALT A WINNER (Trainer: Ed Hart)

          Won his second qualifier of the season last Saturday (May 2) at The Meadowlands in 1:52 with a final-quarter of :26.

DERBY DALE (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Finished 7th in his season debut from post eight in a N/W of 1 event at Philadelphia on April 26. He was individually timed in 1:56.3 and is back into go Wednesday (May 6) at Philadelphia.

DRACHAN HANOVER (Trainer: Marcel Barrieau)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

DUDE’S THE MAN (Trainer: John Butenschoen)

          Finished 2nd in his lone qualifier of this season on April 17 at Southern Oaks Training Centre. He was individually timed in 1:54.4.

EDWARD TEACH (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Last raced on April 25 at The Meadowlands and finished 5th in the Spring Preview after winning his season debut the week prior. He paced a mile of 1:53 on April 25 and is entered to race Saturday (May 9) at The Meadowlands.

FIRST CLASS HORSE (Trainer: Keith Clark)

          Has won all four of his starts this season, including most recently on April 24 at Fraser Downs in 1:55.2. Took his career-mark of 1:53 on April 5 at Fraser.

FREEDOMFORMYSOUL (Trainer: Nancy Johansson)

          Finished 7th in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:53.4 with a final-quarter of :28.1.

GALLIC BEACH (Trainer: Jim Campbell)

          Finished 3rd in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:53.4 with a final-quarter of :26.2.

GO DADDY GO (Trainer: Bob McIntosh)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

GOOD FRIDAY THREE (Trainer: Bill Robinson)

          Finished 3rd last Saturday (May 2) in a division of The Diplomat at Mohawk. He was individually timed in 1:52.2 with a :26.2 final-quarter. He has one win from four starts this season.

HARFO HANOVER (Trainer: Randy Bendis)

          Finished 7th in a N/W of 5 event last Friday (May 1) at The Meadows. He was individually timed in 1:54.3 with a final-quarter of :26.4. Will make his third start of the season Friday (May 8) at The Meadows.

HURRIKANE ALI (Trainer: John McDermott)

          Won his season debut last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands in 1:52.3 with a final-quarter of :26.1.

IF YOU WANT FIRE (Trainer: Casie Coleman)

          Finished 2nd in his season debut Sunday (May 3) at Philadelphia. He was individually timed in 1:52.1 with a final-quarter of :28.1.

IN THE ARSENAL (Trainer: Kelvin Harrison)

          Finished 5th in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:55 with a final-quarter of :27.

JO PA’S WELL SAID (Trainer: Jim Campbell)

          Finished 5th in a N/W of 3 event last Friday (May 1) at Philadelphia. He was individually timed in 1:54. He has one win from three starts this season and is entered for this Saturday (May 9) at The Meadowlands.

JOE HILL (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Won his season debut in a N/W of 2 event on April 29 at The Meadows in 1:53.2 with a final-quarter of :28.1.

LYONS AGAIN (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Finished 5th in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:54 with a final-quarter of :27.

LYONS GEOFFJNR (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Finished 6th in his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:53.3 with a final-quarter of :27.1.

LYONS LEVI LEWIS (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

MAXDADDY BLUE CHIP (Trainer: Monte Gelrod)

          Won his second qualifier of the season on April 25 at The Meadowlands in 1:52.3 with a final-quarter of :28.1. He is entered for this Wednesday (May 6) at Philadelphia.

MIKES POWERHOUSE (Trainer: Jim McDonald)

          Finished 3rd in his second qualifier of the season on April 25 at Pompano Park. He was individually timed in 1:55 with a final-quarter of :28.1.

MITT JAGGER (Trainer: Bob Young)

          Improved to 2 for 2 this season with a victory on April 27 at Mohawk in 1:52.2 with a final-quarter of :28.1.

MOHEGAN BLUE CHIP (Trainer: Tony Alagna)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

ONEISALONELYNUMBER (Trainer: Casie Coleman)

          Finished 2nd in his season debut in a N/W of 3 event Sunday (May 3) at Philadelphia. He was individually timed in 1:52.1 with a :27.3 final-quarter.

PAPARAZZI HANOVER (Trainer: Jim Campbell)

          Won his second qualifier of the year on April 28 at Philadelphia in 1:53.4 with a :27.1 final-quarter. He is entered to make his season debut Wednesday (May 7) at Philadelphia.

PENJI HANOVER (Trainer: Paul Kelley)

          Won his second qualifier of the season on April 30 at Pocono Downs in 1:53.1 with a :27.4 final-quarter.

PHYSICALLYINCLINED (Dr. Ian Moore)

          Won his first qualifier of the season Monday (May 4) at Mohawk in 1:54.4 with a :28.1 final-quarter.

PIERCE HANOVER (Trainer: Ken Sucee)

          Finished 2nd in his second qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at Mohawk. He was individually timed in 1:55 with a :27 final-quarter.

REVENGE SHARK (Trainer: Tony Alagna)

          Finished 2nd by a nose in his second start of the season on April 25 at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:51.1 with a :26.2 final-quarter.

REVEREND HANOVER (Trainer: Casie Coleman)

          Won his first qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at Mohawk in 1:54.3 with a final-quarter of :27.1.

RICH WISDOM (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Finished 3rd in his second start of the season on April 29 in a conditioned event at The Meadows. He was individually timed in 1:53.4 with a final-quarter of :28.2. He won his first start of the season on April 17 at The Meadows in 1:55.2.

ROCK N’ ROLL WORLD (Trainer: Mark Silva)

          Finished 2nd in his second start of the season Saturday (May 2) at The Meadowlands in the Simpson Memorial. He was individually timed in 1:50.3 with a :26.4 final-quarter.

ROCK THE NITE (Trainer: Norm Parker)

          Finished 7th in his third start of the season on April 29 at The Meadows in a conditioned event. He was individually timed in 1:54.4. He is entered to race this Wednesday (May 6) at The Meadows.

SICILY (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Finished 2nd in his season debut last Friday (May 1) at Philadelphia in a N/W of 3 event. He was individually timed in 1:53.2 with a :27.4 final-quarter. He is entered to race this Saturday (May 9) at The Meadowlands.

SOMWHEREONTHEBEACH (Trainer: Sam De Pinto)

          Won his most recent start on April 29 in a maiden event at Philadelphia in 1:53.2 with a final-quarter of :28.3. He has a record of one win from three starts this season and is entered to race this Thursday (May 7) at Philadelphia.

SPLIT THE HOUSE (Trainer: James Dean)

          Won his second qualifier of the season on April 17 at Southern Oaks Training Centre in 1:54.1 with a final-quarter of :28.

SPORTS BETTOR (Trainer: Chantal Mitchell)

          Finished 6th last Saturday (May 2) at Mohawk in a division of The Diplomat series. He was individually timed in 1:53.1 with a final-quarter of :27.3 He has a record of one win from three starts this season.

STOVER (Trainer: Jimmy Takter)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

THE SPY (Trainer: Jeff Gillis)

          Won his second qualifier of the season Monday (May 4) at Mohawk in 1:55 with a :28.2 final-quarter.

THE WAYFARING MAN (Trainer: Nicky Comegna)

          Won a division of The Diplomat series last Saturday (May 2) at Mohawk in 1:51.4 with a final-quarter of :26.4. He has a record of one win from two starts this season.

TRACEUR HANOVER (Trainer: Normand Bardier Jr.)

          Has yet to qualify this season.

TRADING UP (Trainer: Tony Alagna)

          Finished 2nd in his second qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands. He was individually timed in 1:53.1 with a :26.4 final-quarter. He is entered to race this Saturday (May 9) at The Meadowlands.

WAKIZASHI HANOVER (Trainer: Joann Looney-King)

          Won his first start of the season in a N/W of 3 event last Friday (May 1) at Philadelphia in 1:53 with a final-quarter of :27.

WELL WELL WELL (Trainer: Ray Schnittker)

          Finished 7th in his second start of the season on April 28 at Pocono Downs. He was individually timed in 1:53.1 with a final-quarter of :27.2. He has a record of one win from two starts this season.

WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT  (Trainer: Clyde Francis/George Teague)

          Won the Simpson Memorial last Saturday (May 2) at The Meadowlands in 1:50 with a final-quarter of :26.2. He is undefeated this season in six starts.

YANKEE BOUNTY (Trainer: Ron Burke)

          Won his second qualifier of the season last Friday (May 1) at The Meadowlands in 1:52.4 with a final-quarter of :26.3.

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