With the scheduled date of the 2022 Pepsi North America Cup less than two months away, Trot Insider will profile some of the race's top contenders as horses ready to compete for one of Canadian harness racing's biggest prizes.
Pebble Beach continues the countdown, coming in at #2 in TROT Magazine's 2022 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book assessed odds of 6-1.
Trained by Noel Daley, Pebble Beach is the only two-year-old pacing colt in harness racing history with multiple miles faster than 1:49. He was second by a neck after cutting the fractions in Caviart Camden's 1:48.3 world record effort at The Red Mile last August, and then a month later he took his 1:48.4 mark in the KySS Final over the idyllic Lexington oval.
Pebble Beach (Downbytheseaside - Santa Rosa) hit the board in all 11 of his rookie season appearances, sporting a record of 7-2-2 while accruing $361,250 in purses for Patricia Stable of Massapequa, N.Y., Joe Sbrocco of Brecksville, Oh., Country Club Acres Inc. of Findlay, Ohio and Laexpressfoderadeovolente of Chesterfield, N.J.
Trot Insider caught up with Daley for an update on the colt, who is entered for his first qualifying mile of the season on April 30 at The Meadowlands.
"We sort of got lucky; he was the only pacing colt we bought that year. One of my owners picked out from his video, and when I went and saw him I loved him," said Daley. "We only bought one but I think we bought the right one."
Where did he winter and when did you start back with him?
"I took him to Walnut Hall in Kentucky after the Breeders Crown. I brought him back in at the beginning of January."
Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?
"He looks awesome. Like he's not an overly big horse but he's not a small horse by any means. He looks a million dollars, and there's enough of him. He's a great looking horse."
You're qualifying him on April 30 at The Meadowlands. What will his tentative early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?
"He'll go to Canada for the Somebeachsomewhere and I'll give him an overnight, hopefully, at The Meadowlands before that after a couple of qualifiers. And, basically, stakes season's going to start off there."
What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?
"He has a ton of races; he doesn't have the Meadowlands Pace or a couple of those races because Downbytheseaside retired at three and they have that rule at The Meadowlands. That doesn't matter as there's a ton of racing for him. The plan is to base him out of Kentucky; it's what he did last year. We had him out there and it's a good setup for us, we just rent some paddocks at Dunroven Stud, and he gets to be out in the paddock a couple of hours a day, comes in...he has a pretty good life out there.
"He'll set up out there all of August, September and into the beginning of October basically, and then hopefully back [to Canada] for the Breeders Crown. There's plenty of races for him."
What's his biggest asset / strength?
"He's got a great turn of speed and he does have a good attitude. You know he's a little smart — a little too smart for himself — has a great gait, a gorgeous horse and he knows what it's all about.
"He's pretty easy on himself. I was pretty happy after his first lifetime start, which was a real sh!tshow, he bounced right back six days later, just sat last at The Meadowlands and then swamped them."
At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?
"He was always nice; he had the best gait and he could always do it so easily. We knew he was pretty good, we just didn't know how good."
As someone who has captured many major stakes but hasn't won this race before, how does it feel to have a horse that appears to have a legit shot at the North America Cup?
"With this fella, I'm looking forward to having a big dance with a three-year-old pacer and I'm looking forward to going to those races."
#3 - Stonebridge Helios (7-1)
#4 - Beach Glass - (8-1)
#5 - Early Action (9-1)
#6 - Gulf Shores (10-1)
#7 - Hammering Hank (12-1)
#8 - Betterhavemymoney (18-1)
#9 - Bob Loblaw (20-1)
#10 - Magical Arthur (22-1)