Greg is back with his North America Cup list. Here you are!
NA Cup Top Ten - Picture Still Cloudy
Last week was another week of somewhat confusing results in the stakes races leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup on June 27 at Mohawk Racetrack. I keep waiting for someone to step up with a really big mile, and aside from Barber Pole's 1:49 effort earlier this year, it seems like nobody has. This is probably the most wide-open Cup since Mantacular won in 2004, and really anyone and everyone with an eligible horse should think they have a chance to win. One good thing about that is that it should make for several elimination fields.
1. Well Said (LW #1). A "work-man" like 1:53.1 victory in his season's debut at Chester on Wednesday night. The track was sloppy, so the time is excusable, but I would've liked to see him kick home a little bit stronger, especially with a 40-1 shot on his back.
2. Dial Or Nodial (LW #2). Converted a two-hole trip into a half-length victory in 1:50.1 in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Again, the win was more "work-man" like than anything as he didn't put the field away after he cleared.
3. Barber Pole (LW #3). Had zero chance to win the Hoosier Cup after drawing trailing post 12, but rallied to pick up fourth, beaten just one length. Again, he's the only three-year old so far this year to have a "WOW" mile, and if he could pull that again, he'd probably win the Cup.
4. Johnny Z (LW #7). Didn't race this week after winning the Hempt on May 23 at Pocono, but I gave him a bump up this week based on some other horse's performances. Seeing that 1:51.4 mile he went in the slop in the Hempt after watching some of the races from this week, it looks like a better performance.
5. Mr Wiggles (LW unranked). This year's Hoosier Cup champion was under pressure every step of the way and staved off a host of closers to win by a quarter of a length in 1:52.1. His last quarter was only in 29.2, but I think it was a good performance considering he was wide much of the way and never got a breather at any point. #3, #4, and #5 are all trained by George Teague.
6. Drop Red (LW #4). Cut the mile in the NJSS final, but gave way in the stretch and had to settle for third. He was beaten only a length and a quarter and paced his mile in 1:50.3, so it was still a solid performance. Drawing the nine-hole didn't help his cause either as he was wide on the first turn.
7. Stonebridge Terror (LW #8). This year's Upper Canada Cup winner finished second, beaten a head, in a 1:52.3 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination on Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway. That's two straight sub 28-second final kickers on five-eighths mile tracks for this guy, so he may be the closing threat when they go back to the big track.
8. Keep It Real (LW unranked). Can you possibly go from NW1 to winning the North America Cup in a month? If it's ever going to happen, it might be this year. This son of Real Artist is now four-for-four in his career, and has charged home in 26.4 and in 27.2 in his two races at Mohawk so far. The 27.2 final panel came in a condition event on Monday evening, which Keep It Real won by two lengths in 1:52.3.
9. Art colony (LW #5). Art Colony takes a big drop this week as neither one of his qualifiers have impressed trainer Casie Coleman or myself. Hopefully we'll get a better read on him in a three-year old open at Mohawk on Saturday night.
10. Annieswesterncard (LW #6). Was admittedly bad in the Hoosier Cup, finishing 10th, but it was his first race in almost a month and he was parked on cover at every call. He did very well at Mohawk in the Metro last year, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him bounce back.
Dropped out: #9 Waffles and Cream, who simply didn't race this week, and I wanted to make room for a couple of others, and Vertigo Hanover, who had a good second-over trip in the Hoosier Cup and had no kick in the stretch (wound up fifth).