Fan favourite Captaintreacherous captured the 30th edition of the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.
Living up to pre-season expectations, Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick rallied home off a second over trip to win Canada's richest pacing event in a career-best 1:48.3 for trainer Tony Alagna and the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group.
When the wings of the gate swung open, the fastest elimination winner, Fool Me Once, and Canada's reigning Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion left from post three to establish the early lead with post nine starter Captive Audience and last year's Cup winning reinsman Randy Waples making a surprise move rolling up to take over the top spot into a :26.1 opening quarter.
But Fool Me Once moved out for the retake down the backstretch and reached the half in :54 flat with elimination winners Vegas Vacation, driven by Scott Zeron, advancing first over from fourth and Captaintreacherous following his cover from mid-pack.
Fool Me Once continued to lead the field of 10 past three-quarters in 1:20.2 and into the stretch with Captive Audience pulling the pocket and the backfield kicking into high gear. Tetrick sent Captaintreacherous wide and the popular colt out-sprinted his rivals down the lane to win by one and a half lengths.
Twilight Bonfire and David Miller finished second at long odds of 96-1 while the winner's stablemate, Wake Up Peter, and Ron Pierce finished third. Rounding out the order were Fool Me Once, Sunshine Beach (Chris Christoforou), Captive Audience, Vegas Vacation, Martini Hanover (Dave Palone), Odds On Equuleus (John Campbell), and Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson).
"Today I was second over, but we were still three or four lengths off the leaders turning for home and they were pacing strong," noted Tetrick. "I put a lot of confidence in my colt. When I called on him, he did his job.
"They have to want to do it, they have to want to be champions and put their nose out in front," continued the 31-year-old reinsman. "He doesn't always win by much, but he gets the job done when he's good."
The victory was Captaintreacherous' second in a million-dollar event and the race played out just as Alagna expected -- similar to last year's $1 million Metro Pace.
"Tim worked out a masterful trip and the horse showed up," said the 41-year-old conditioner. "Every time this horse gets a question mark he comes back and answers it with an exclamation mark!"
Captaintreacherous paid $4.80 to win as the heavy 8-5 favourite.
Bred by part-owner White Birch Farm of New Jersey, the son of 2008 North America Cup winner Somebeachsomewhere and the Artsplace mare Worldly Treasure was a $250,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase as a yearling. The bay colt won eight of his 10 races as a freshman while banking $911,277 in purses en route to earning divisional honours in both Canada and the U.S. His major victories included the Metro Pace and Woodrow Wilson, along with divisions of the Nassagaweya Stakes, Bluegrass Series and International Stallion Stakes.
With three of his freshman wins in sub-1:50 fashion, Captaintreacherous was pinned as the 3-1 favourite in Trot Magazine's 2013 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.
Captaintreacherous remains undefeated as a sophomore after winning his season debut in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and his North America Cup elimination prior to Saturday’s rich final.
"It's indescribable. It's profound. It's just hard to put words and articulate this," said Toronto co-owner Marvin Katz amidst the winner's circle celebrations. "I guess the only example I can give you is it's like sitting on top of a mountain and looking at the world. It's just that good.
"He elevated himself to the pantheon of great horses tonight. This was not easy. This was a great group of horses he defeated and he raced like the champion that he is. He really elevated his stock tonight."
Captaintreacherous' earnings soared over the million-dollar mark to $1,467,570.
His victory in the 30th edition of the Cup was the first for his sire and the first for both Alagna and five-time starter Tetrick. It was also the first time a Cup starter won from post four at Mohawk, a starting position his connections were able to choose courtesy of his elimination win.
Click here for recaps of Saturday's undercard, including the $271,470 Armbro Flight Stakes for trotting mares, $364,266 Elegantimage Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies, $391,882 Fan Hanover Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, $225,276 Goodtimes Trot for three-year-old colts, and $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational Pace.
- Entries - Saturday's overnight sheet
- Results - Saturday's racing results
- Program Pages - past performance program page for each race, courtesy of TrackIT
- News - all the previews and recaps leading up to Canadian harness racing's richest prize
- Stats & Figures - WEG's Mike Hamilton provides a wealth of interesting North America Cup statistics
- Live Video - watch the races here live starting at 7:05 p.m.