Well Said blew away his nine rivals in the 26th edition of the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup for three-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack
with a stakes, track and Canadian record setting performance in 1:48.1.
Well Said and driver Ron Pierce got away sixth from Post 5 as fellow elimination winner If I Can Dream (George Brennan) took charge from Post 4. After a :26 opening quarter, the odds on favourite Keep It Real (Steve Condren) cruised to the front and reached the half in :54.3. From there, Dial Or Nodial (Brian Sears), also an elim winner, moved up alongside the new leader and those two locked in a duel en route to three-quarters in 1:22.
Well Said was positioned second-over and as the field rounded the final turn he angled three-wide and exploded down the lane with a :25.4 final frame to win by three and a quarter lengths in a sizzling 1:48.1.
Art Colony (John Campbell) came on for second over Keep It Real.
The winning time eclipsed the 1:48.4 stakes mark set by Red River Hanover in 2002 when the Cup was staged at Woodbine. The time of the mile also erased Blissed Out's 1:48.4 track record for three-year-old pacers and equaled the Buckeye One's all-age track record.
Well Said - Pepsi North America Cup
“He sure was [awesome],” said Pierce, who previously won the Cup in 2006 aboard Total Truth. “I wasn’t worried about him. I was worried about myself. The trip was absolutely perfect. You couldn’t have sat down before the race and drew a map of how you’d like the race to go and have it come out any better than that.”
“He could have went more [faster], this colt. He went pretty handy.”
Trained by Steve Elliott for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York, New York and Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Ont., Well Said is harness racing’s newest millionaire with a grand total of $1,389,627 earned. The win was his third in four outings this year. The son of Western Hanover – Must See, a $240,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase who sports a record reading 7-4-1 in 15 starts, is last year's Breeders Crown and Champlain Stakes winner.
The victory meant he joined Bettors Delight as the only horses to win the Breeders Crown at two and the Pepsi North America Cup at three. Bettors Delight accomplished the feat in 2000-2001.
Snyder has won the Cup three times in the past with Cams Card Shark (1994), Red River Hanover (2002) and Rocknroll Hanover (2005).
“Never [get tired of winning the race]. It’s like brand new. It’s always the same kind of pressure, jubilation. We get a lot of satisfaction when we pick a horse out as a yearling, race him as a two-year-old and come back like this,” said Snyder.
“The North America Cup to us is like the major race in harness racing, as far as we’re concerned, since we primarily have pacing colts. We love coming up here. We love the people. We love the track and we love the Canadian dollar.
“It was actually awesome [the race],” he continued. “The race went according to plan. [Driver] Ronny [Pierce] wanted to pick the four or three hole, we got the five hole. He wanted to race off a helmet. He said to me last week, if I can follow a horse, I’m going to be able to come home in 25 seconds. And I think that’s what he did. He came home in :25.4.”
“It’s very exciting, especially after my mother [Audrey Campbell] winning it twice before with two other horses. So it’s a little extra special for us today,” added Susan Grange of Lothlorein, who also shared ownership of previous Cup winners Red River Hanover and Rocknroll Hanover.
“He was [awesome], but a horse race is a horse race and it can change at the last minute. When he started to move forward, I had my fingers crossed.”
The last time trainer Elliott had a horse in the Cup was 20 years ago, when Totally Ruthless finished fourth to Goalie Jeff, in 1989.
Click here for recaps of the action-packed Pepsi North America Cup undercard, which included the $333,200 Goodtimes Trot, the $680,000 Fan Hanover, the $561,500 Elegantimage Stake and consolations.
To view Saturday's results, click here.
(With files from WEG)