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Four Ontario Sired horses looking to take home the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup crown

News and Results > Top Racing Headlines > 2024 > Four Ontario Sired horses looking to take home the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup crown

Four Ontario Sired horses looking to take home the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup crown

June 13, 2024
By Ontario Sires Stakes Communications
Four Ontario Sired horses looking to take home the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup crown

MILTON, Ont., June 13, 2024 – Four Ontario Sired horses highlight a competitive 10-horse field in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

FUNTIME BAYAMA (HES WATCHING), NIJINSKY (BETTORS DELIGHT), STORM SHADOW (BETTORS DELIGHT) and TOTAL STRANGER (BETTORS DELIGHT) make up the Ontario hopefuls in the prestigious event.

Trained by Richard Moreau, and owned and bred by Bayama Farms Inc. (Saint-Andre-D’Argenteuil, Que.), FUNTIME BAYAMA is entering Saturday’s race as one of the favourites. As one of the elimination winners from last Saturday, he had the privilege of guaranteeing a post from anywhere from No. 2-6 and ended up drawing Post 6, a spot driver Sylvain Filion feels good about.

“Post 6 is the winningest post at Mohawk, so I don’t mind it,” Filion said. “I was assured of a good post by winning my elimination, so I’ll go with that and see what happens.”

Filion’s father, Yves, is the owner of Bayama Farms, and won the Pepsi North America Cup as a driver in 1988 with RUNNYMEDE LOBELL. Sylvain will now be looking to follow in his father’s footsteps, with one of his family’s own horses.

“That was amazing. All the family was there, and we were so anxious it was unbelievable,” Sylvain told Woodbine’s Mark McKelvie of that 1988 victory he saw his father win.

With FUNTIME BAYAMA, Sylvain is confident the horse can win the event.

“He’s, overall, a good horse,” said Sylvain. “He’s shown he can race covered up. I know he’s been racing on the front end, but he’s always heavy favourite. So, he can race any which way you want, and he never seems to get tired, so that’s a great attribute.”

NIJINSKY was another elimination winner and drew Post 4 during Tuesday’s draw.

He’ll be driven by Louis-Philippe Roy, is owned by West Wins Stable (Wellington, Fla.), John Fielding (Scarborough, Ont.) and Mark Dumain (Pine Bush, N.Y.) and was bred by Jeffrey Snyder (New York, N.Y.).

NIJINSKY’s trainer, Anthony Beaton, has two horses in the 41st Pepsi North America Cup field, with the Eric Good (Davidsonville, Md.)-, West Wins Stable (Wellington, Fla.)-, Mark Dumain (Pine Bush, N.Y.)-owned, Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. (Hanover, Pa.)-bred LEGENDARY HANOVER also in the field, drawn into Post 8.

“They’re two cool horses,” said Beaton of NIJINSKY and LEGENDARY HANOVER. “They like to be noticed and have their presence felt. NIJINSKY’s a little character. You put a blanket on him and he’ll destroy it if you leave it on too long, whereas LEGENDARY is kind of a laid-back horse in the barn, just always with his head out the window and he’ll let a squeal out here or there if he sees a horse go by.

“But they’re both very cool horses to have and, obviously, it’s very special to have one starter in [the Pepsi North America Cup], let alone two.”

NIJINSKY is coming into Saturday having won all four of his starts, including last week’s elimination race and an OSS Gold Series event. Compared to his two-year-old season that saw him win just once in 10 starts, NIJINSKY is performing much better as a three year-old.

“NIJINSKY as a three-year-old is so much more mature compared to what he was as a two-year-old,” Beaton said. “He was a very nice two-year-old, showed lots of speed, but now he’s just more mature and handier, where we can use him off the gate and utilize that speed so he’s closer to the action. And, when it comes down to a sprint, he can sprint with anybody.”

Drawing Post 1, STORM SHADOW will be driven by Bob McClure Saturday, is owned by R G McGroup Ltd. (Bathurst, N.B.), Serge Savard (St-Bruno, Que.), Mac Nichol (Burlington, Ont.) and Bolton Farms LLC. (Clermont, Fla.), and was bred by Tara Hills Stud Ltd. (Port Perry, Ont.).

His trainer, Dr. Ian Moore, doesn’t mind the rail position he was drawn into, and is confident in his ability to get it done in a big race because he’s done it before, winning the $300,000 OSS Gold Super Final as a two-year-old.

“As a trainer, you may or may not prepare a horse differently for any particular race,” Moore said. “Back in October I don’t think I did anything different, and he just got lucky the way everything panned out and got the job done.”

Of the four Ontario Sired horses, TOTAL STRANGER has the longest morning line odds. Bred by James Avritt (Lebanon, Ky.), and owned by Mitchell Friesen (Gladwyne, Pa.), Caviart Farms (Vienna, Va.), Chuck Pompey (Archbald, Pa.), finished third in the elimination race that saw NIJINKSY win and STORM SHADOW finish second last week.

Drawn into Post 9, he will be driven by Tim Tetrick, who was in the bike seat behind him once before on May 19 in Philadelphia. His usual driver, Yannick Gingras, will be behind the reins of his stablemate IVY PARK, who will be starting from Post 7.

In Race 6’s Pepsi North America Cup consolation, Ontario Sired colts MIRAGE HANOVER (BETTORS DELIGHT) and UNRIVALED HANOVER (BETTORS DELIGHT) will take part.

The Pepsi North America Cup final is slated as Race 11 of a 12-race card that features four other Stakes races on the undercard, each with great Ontario Sired talent.

Beginning with Race 5’s Armbro Flight Final for three-year-old and older fillies and mares, there’s HP MAMA B (ROYALTY FOR LIFE) and ADARE CASTLE (MUSCLE MASS) to look out for. ADARE CASTLE will be driven by three-time defending Lampman Cup winner James MacDonald.

Race 7 will see the Goodtimes Final go for three-year-old colts and geldings. The Ontario Sired talent in the race includes FINITE (RESOLVE), GOOBER SMACK (FLANAGAN MEMORY), MYRETIREMENTDREAM (IL SOGNO DREAM) and GRIFF (MUSCLE MASS).

In Race 9, the Fan Hanover Final for three-year-old fillies will race with PASS LINE (ALL BETS OFF), ODDS ON PLATINUM (BETTORS DELIGHT) and ITS A LOVE THING (BETTORS DELIGHT) making up the field of Ontario Sired horse.

Lastly, Race 10’s Roses Are Red Final for three-year-old and older fillies and mares will have a strong Ontario Sired contingent made up of TALK CURDY TO ME (BETTERTHANCHEDDAR), SILVER LABEL (BETTORS DELIGHT) and eight-year-old SO MUCH MORE (BIG JIM).

“I know the [Pepsi North America Cup] is Saturday, but probably the biggest cheering section of any horse on the whole card will be for SO MUCH MORE,” said MacDonald, who will be driving the big Don Beatson (Granton, Ont.)-, Kenneth Beatson (Palgrave, Ont.)-, and Cole England (Exeter, Ont.)-owned mare Saturday, starting in Post 8. “She’s a fan favourite, she’s a Canadian hero and she’s been talked about and drooled over for years.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Funtime Bayama winning his Pepsi North America Cup elimination. (New Image Media)

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