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Road to the NA Cup – Week 2 (July 22, 2020)

July 22, 2020

Week 2 Rankings (JULY 22, 2020)

MILTON, July 22, 2020 – The first of this season’s major stakes for three-year-old pacers is in the books and its result made little change to Mark McKelvie’s ‘Road to the Pepsi North America Cup’ rankings.

Tall Dark Stranger and Papi Rob Hanover delivered a memorable stretch battle in last Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace, with Tall Dark Stranger battling back at the inside for the victory. The outstanding performances by the sport’s two most-talked about sophomore pacers keeps them at the top of McKelvie’s ‘Road to the Pepsi North America Cup’ rankings.

The local scene heats up again this weekend with two $104,800 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions taking place this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Tattoo Artist, the top-ranked local horse on the list, had last week off, leaving the spotlight for locals Beaumond Hanover and Indictable Hanover to shine and improve their positions this week.

All three will compete on Saturday at Mohawk Park.

Casie Coleman-Herlihy’s Indictable Hanover and Ron Burke’s The Greek Freak are the two now additions to this week’s top-10. The full list, including honourable mentions can be found below.

Mark McKelvie’s Road to the Pepsi North America Cup – Week 2 Rankings

  1. Tall Dark Stranger (Last Week: 1)
    Owner(s): Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms & Howard Taylor
    Trainer: Nancy Takter
    Driver: Yannick Gingras

Retains the top spot after giving up the lead at the head the stretch and showing his incredible determination to battle back and win the Meadowlands Pace Final. An instant classic of a race and a performance that’ll be talked about for a long time.

  1. Papi Rob Hanover (Last Week: 2)
    Owner(s): David McDuffee
    Trainer: Brett Pelling
    Driver: David Miller

Went a massive mile in the Meadowlands Pace to finish second. It’s a runner-up finish that stings after grabbing the lead, but being unable to close it out and letting his rival battle back. He’s had zero post-luck to this point. He’s not going away and will be battling for the top all season. Heads now to the Adios eliminations as a clear favourite.

  1. Tattoo Artist (Last Week: 3)
    Owner(s): Frank Cannon & Let It Ride Stables
    Trainer: Dr. Ian Moore
    Driver: Louis Philippe Roy

Enjoyed another week off. He will be returning to the track this Saturday in search of a fourth consecutive victory. Faces his toughest challenge to date in a stacked Ontario Sires Gold event.

  1. Allywag Hanover (Last Week: 4)
    Owner(s): Allywag Stable
    Trainer: Brett Pelling
    Driver: Tim Tetrick

Never saw the pylons in the Meadowlands Pace and finished a strong third. Won’t get talked about much coming out of that race, but finishing third (by a length) to a pair of superstars further proved he’s legitimacy as a major player.

  1. Beaumond Hanover (Last Week: 6)
    Owner(s): Jack Darling Stables
    Trainer: Jack Darling
    Driver: Jody Jamieson

Posted another impressive sub-1:50 victory on Saturday night. The OSS Gold winner is three for five on the season, with all three wins in sub-1:50 fashion. Didn’t appear to break sweat in his most recent. Ready for a big OSS showdown on Saturday.

  1. Indictable Hanover (Last Week: Honourable Mention)
    Owner(s): West Wins Stable, John Fielding & Mac Nichol
    Trainer: Casie Coleman-Herlihy
    Driver: Bob McClure

Was on the cusp of making the first Top-10 rankings, but left little doubt that he belongs after arguably his best performance to date on Saturday night. Stormed by rivals with a powerful :25.3 final-quarter to win in a career-best 1:49.4. He’s now 4 for 5 on the season and the fact that he’s the most inexperienced horse on the list speaks volumes about where he could end up considering he appears to be getting better with every start.

  1. Captain Kirk (Last Week: 8)
    Owner(s): Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant & Captain Kirk Racing
    Trainer: Tony Alagna
    Driver: Dexter Dunn/Joe Bongiorno

Had the impossible mission of Post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace, but made sure everyone knew he was there. Made the front from the ten-hole, posting a wicked :25.4 opener. Tired and finished seventh. He’s shown big speed through just three starts this season. Expect him to be in the mix for any big dance this season.

  1. Captain Barbossa (Last Week: 9)
    Owner(s): Alagnafrankinthegym Stabl, Robert LeBlanc & David Anderson
    Trainer: Tony Alagna
    Driver: Andrew McCarthy/Brian Sears

Posted a fifth-place finish in the Meadowlands Pace. Got away well in the two-hole behind his stablemate, but was getting a shuffle back approaching three-quarters before escaping to the outside. Raced well to grab a fifth. Hard to say he’s ever had a bad race. Just like his stablemate, he’s going to be in the hunt.

  1. The Greek Freak (Last Week: Not Rated)
    Owner(s): Burke Racing, Piatt Racing, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb
    Trainer: Ron Burke
    Driver: Matt Kakaley 

Debuts on this list after posting a third consecutive victory on Saturday, capturing a PASS division at The Meadows. Had some big hype around him early last year after sparkling performances in Baby Races, but just couldn’t get over the hump when it was time to do it for real. Started his career 0 for 10. Found the winner’s circle in his second start of this season and hasn’t lost since, including two PASS scores.

  1. Groovy Joe (Last Week: 10)
    Owner(s): Hutt Racing Stable, Blake MacIntosh, Ozzie MacKay & Hoofbid Racing
    Trainer: Blake MacIntosh
    Driver: Matt Kakaley/James MacDonald

No change in his position on the rankings after having a week off. His last start was a 1:48.4 victory in a New York Sires Stakes event. Look forward to seeing if he carries the momentum to his next start and can be the player he was anticipated to be.

Honourable Mention (alphabetical order):

Beach Blanket Book (Last Week: Honourable Mention)
Owner(s): Hutt Racing Stable & Mac and Heim Stables
Trainer: Blake MacIntosh
Driver: Doug McNair

Finished second to Beaumond Hanover on Saturday. He’s had a real nice start to the season, posting three wins in five starts. Only losses were races won by Tattoo Artist and ‘Beaumond’. Doesn’t let rivals get by him in the lane, he’s a battler.

Capt Midnight (Last Week: 5)
Owner(s): Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Brad Grant & Capt Midnight Racing
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Andrew McCarthy

The Meadowlands Pace was not a great experience for Capt Midnight. Ninth in the elimination and then eighth-placed ninth in the final. He had never been outside the Top-5 in 11 starts prior. No chance you can count him out, but for now he’s on the outside looking in.

Catch The Fire (Last Week: Honourable Mention)
Owner(s): Ct Stables
Trainer: John Ackley
Driver: Mike Wilder

Hooked wheels briefly with Capt Midnight coming out of the last turn and finished sixth in the Meadowlands Pace. Here’s the kind of horse that might not get much buzz, but if he shows up you expect he’ll be in the mix. Hopefully we will see him continue to chase the big dances.

Elver Hanover (Last Week: 7)
Owner(s): Burke Racing Stable, Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Chris Page

Had his undefeated streak snapped on Saturday, finishing a well-beaten second in an Ohio Sires Stakes to a horse that won in 1:48.4. He was a World Champion at two, but he’s never been in one of the big dances. Weren’t entirely sure where he stacked up before, but after a loss in his second start of the season, now the intrigue will be high for how he responds.

Sea Of Life (Last Week: Not Rated)
Owner(s): Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Brad Grant, Captain Kirk Racing
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Scott Zeron/Andrew McCarthy

Posted the fastest mile of the three PASS divisions on Saturday at The Meadows, winning in 1:50. He’s now posted a win and two seconds in three starts this season. Went 1 for 12 as a rookie, but capped off his year with a runner-up finish in the Kindergarten Final. Wasn’t on the radar like his notable stablemates, but quickly becoming one to keep an eye on.

This Week’s Key Races:

Saturday: Adios Eliminations (The Meadows)
Saturday: Ontario Sires Stakes Gold (Woodbine Mohawk Park)

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