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Road to the Pepsi North America Cup – July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

MILTON, July 13, 2021 – For the second year in a row, The Meadowlands Pace will be the first significant stop on the ‘Road to the Pepsi North America Cup’.

Typically contested about a month following the ‘Cup’, the Meadowlands Pace will again be held prior to Canada’s most prestigious harness race due to COVID-19 rescheduling for Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Last year’s Meadowlands Pace saw Tall Dark Stranger capture all the glory prior to visiting Mohawk Park a little over a month later to win the Pepsi North America Cup. The ‘Cup-Pace Double’ is one of the most notable feats in harness racing and this Saturday’s $700,000 will feature eight Pepsi North America Cup eligible horses.

Unlike last year, the top-spot in the three-year-old pacing colt division isn’t exactly clear. Perfect Sting was the pre-season favourite, but a couple of losses and anything but pure domination has opened the door for some rotation at the top-spot.

The Meadowlands Pace eliminations did little to provide any clarity among the top ‘Cup’ contenders. The first elimination saw an 80-1 upset by a non-Cup eligible, while the second elimination was filled with top contenders, but saw little action in the opening-half, turning into a back-half sprint and a 10-1 upset by Southwind Gendry.

There are some takeaways from the eliminations, but not necessarily anything that should be jotted done in pen. The performances from Southwind Gendry and runner-up Lawless Shadow were strong. Meanwhile, Perfect Sting wasn’t called upon until late, pacing a :25.1 final-quarter that would typically turn heads, but all seven horses in the field were charted with a sub-:26 kicker. Last week’s number one rated horse American Courage was fourth from start to finish in the second elimination, also pacing home in :25.1. Just like Perfect Sting, it wasn’t anything great or bad and would be overthinking reading too much into these efforts.

Back to the first elimination, One Eight Hundred failed to deliver as the overwhelming favourite, fading back to fourth in the stretch. A big rebound would be no surprise considering the connections, as trainer Nancy Takter looks for her second consecutive ‘Pace’.

If anything can be taken by the lack of clarity right now in the three-year-old pacing colt division, the Meadowlands Pace final is as intriguing of a race that a fan or horseplayer will find. The ‘Pace’ final should provide great entertainment and a big update on the ‘Road to the Pepsi North America Cup’.

The interesting Meadowlands Pace eliminations provide a minimal shakeup for this week’s rankings. Perfect Sting returns to the number-one position. American Courage, who will look to prove himself on the big track, moves down to number-two. Bulldog Hanover remains number-three, as the Jack Darling trainee awaits the next Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event.

The lone horse to debut on the rankings this week is Chase H Hanover. The Scott Cox trainee finished third in the first ‘Pace’ elimination, which came on the heels of a third-place finish in the Messenger.

This week’s full rankings are listed below.

The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup takes place on Saturday, September 11 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Eliminations are scheduled for the week prior on Saturday, September 4.

Road to the NA Cup – July 13, 2021

Record: Starts-1st-2nd-3rd (Earnings)

1 – Perfect Sting (Last Week: #2)
Owner: Brittany Farms, Val D’or Farms
Trainer: Joe Holloway
Driver: David Miller

2021: 4-2-1-1 ($101,677)
Life: 14-12-1-1 ($635,977)
Time: 1:48.1 (Meadowlands)
Last Week: 3rd in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

2 – American Courage (Last Week: #1)
Owner: Fiddlers Creek Stables L
Trainer: Travis Alexander
Driver: Matt Kakaley

2021: 5-4-0-0 ($292,375)
Life: 13-11-0-0 ($472,633)
Time: 1:49.4 (Pocono)
Last Week: 3rd in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

3 – Bulldog Hanover (Last Week: #3)
Owner: Jack Darling Stables, Brad Grant
Trainer: Jack Darling
Driver: Jody Jamieson

2021: 2-1-0-0 ($81,160)
Life: 8-5-1-0 ($330,010)
Time: 1:49.1 (Woodbine Mohawk Park)
Last Week: Did Not Race

4 – Southwind Gendry (Last Week: #5)
Owner: Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, Knox Services, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb
Trainer: Ron Burke
Driver: Yannick Gingras

2021: 5-3-2-0 ($151,772)
Life: 18-13-2-1 ($734,841)
Time: 1:49.1 (Meadowlands)
Last Week: 1st in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

5 – Lawless Shadow (Last Week: #6)
Owner: Dr. Ian Moore, R G McGroup Ltd, Serge Savard, Frank Cannon
Trainer: Dr. Ian Moore
Driver: Bob McClure

2021: 6-3-2-1 ($63,056)
Life: 15-7-5-2 ($370,680)
Time: 1:50 (Scioto)
Last Week: 2nd in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

6 – Abuckabett Hanover (Last Week: #4)
Owner: Crawford Farms Racing, Alagna Racing, Jablonsky Held Stable, Barbera Wienick Stable
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Andrew McCarthy

2021: 6-4-0-0 ($95,186)
Life: 18-8-1-2 ($289,415)
Time: 1:49.1 (Meadowlands)
Last Week: 5th in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

7 – One Eight Hundred (Last Week: #7)
Owner: Brixton Medical Inc, Nancy Taker
Trainer: Nancy Takter
Driver: Tim Tetrick

2021: 9-6-0-0 ($93,910)
Life: 14-7-1-1 ($110,708)
Time: 1:48 (Meadowlands)
Last Week: 4th in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

8 – Chase H Hanover (Last Week: Not Ranked)
Owner: Jason Ash, Scott Cox
Trainer: Scott Cox
Driver: Brian Sears

2021: 7-1-1-3 ($101,088)
Life: 17-5-6-3 ($326,885)
Time: 1:51 (Philadelphia)
Last Week: 3rd in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

9 – Second Bruiser (Last Week: #8)
Owner: Stefan Piekos, Vernon Cochrane
Trainer: Vernon Cochrane
Driver: James MacDonald

2021: 2-1-1-0 ($49,700)
Life: 7-5-1-0 ($120,525)
Time: 1:50.4 (Woodbine Mohawk Park)
Last Week: Did Not Race

10 – Rockyroad Hanover (Last Week: 9)
Owner: Riverview Racing, Brad Grant, Kenneth Jacobs, Plouffe Head And Vj Stabl,
Trainer: Tony Alagna
Driver: Dexter Dunn

2021: 7-3-0-2 ($43,941)
Life: 10-4-0-2 ($49,551)
Time: 1:52.2 (Meadowlands)
Last Week: 5th in Meadowlands Pace elimination at Meadowlands (07/10/21)

Upcoming Races:

Saturday: Meadowlands Pace – (Meadowlands)

Eligible Horses:

ABUCKABETT HANOVER
ALWAYS A MIKI
AMERICAN COURAGE
AS ALWAYS
BAYFIELD BEACH
BETTIM AGAIN
BETTOR SUN
BULLDOG HANOVER
CANDY TRADER
CAPTAINOFROCKNROLL
CAPTAINS PLACE
CHASE H HANOVER
CONTROL HEAVEN
DEAN B HANOVER
DESPERATE MAN
EXPLOIT
GREAT SOMEWHERE
HIGHLANDBEACHSBEST
ISLAND BEACH BOY
JIMMY CONNOR B
JK GOING WEST
JOELSYY HANOVER
JTS JET
KINKAID SEELSTER
KOMODO BEACH
LAWLESS SHADOW
LINEDRIVE HANOVER
LOUS PEARLMAN
NO BETTER JOY
ONE EIGHT HUNDRED
PERFECT STING
PIRATE HANOVER
P L OZZY
PROLINE
RAU RU
RED RIGHT HAND
ROCKYROAD HANOVER
SARATOGA BLUE CHIP
SECOND BRUISER
SIMON SAYS HANOVER
SOUTHWIND GENDRY
SOUTHWIND PETYR
SUMMA CUM LAUDE
TWIN B EAGLE
WARRAWEE WHYNOT
WHICHWAYTOTHEBEACH

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