by Frank Carulli
June 19, 2018
Montrell Teague anticipated a hot pace battle in the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup last Saturday at Woodbine-Mohawk Park. When it didn't develop, Teague took the initiative himself, urging Lather Up to the lead and forcing nine other 3-year-old pacers to play catch up.
No one got close. Lather Up not only held up through demanding middle fractions of :54.1 and 1:21.4, he pulled away in the stretch for a 4-length victory in 1:48.1, his fastest time during an undefeated season. Pocket-sitter Done Well gave chase and Lost In Time closed strongly in mid-track to miss second by a nose, but both were left in the dust by the 4-to-5 favorite. Stay Hungry, last year's Breeders Crown champion, followed live cover on the final turn but finished fourth as the 7-to-2 second favorite.
"It didn't go the way I thought it was going to be," said Teague. "I thought everyone was going to be a lot more aggressive for a million-dollar race and I would come off cover, but only three of them left and I was one of them.
"Once I popped (the earplugs), he exploded."
Gary and Barbara Iles of Harrington, DE own Lather Up, who improved to 10-13 lifetime and has earned more than a half million during this year's 6-for-6 run.
"It's a sensational feeling," said Gary Iles. "To come away with a win, it doesn't get any better than this."
Lather Up gave trainer Clyde Francis and the George Teague Stable a second North America Cup trophy (Total Truth 2006) and provided a measure of revenge after 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit was upset in Canada's richest race.
Lather Up wasn't the only star-studded performer on the North America Cup card.
Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) rewarded her loyal backers with a front-end win in the C$370,000 Roses Are Red for filly and mare pacers. Shartin N made a remarkable recovery from an early break in the previous week's elimination to finish fourth and earn one of 10 starting spots in the final.
Reigning Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras) won the C$250,000 Ambro Flight Stakes for the third consecutive year, trotting to a 3-3/4-length win in 1:52.
Gingras also guided odds-on favorite Wolfgang to a front-end, 4-length victory in the C$266,000 Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotters.
Ontario-bred Showerplay (Louis Phillipe Roy, $8,20) launched a powerful, wide rally to prevail in the C$445,000 Fan Hanover in 1:50-2/5.
Sintra (Jody Jamieson, $18) delivered the biggest stakes upset, parlaying a perfect second-over trip into a 2-3/4-length win in in the inaugural C$100 Mohawk Gold Cup invitational. Sintra upped her career earnings to $988,425.