by Frank Carulli
March 11, 2019
Two of North America’s premier events for 3-year-olds will remain on firm footing in 2019 if the list of nominees is an indicator. A total of 82 pacers were nominated to the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup June 15 at Woodbine-Mohawk Park, while February payments were made for 63 hopefuls to the July 13 Meadowlands Pace.
O’Brien Award winner Stag Party and Dan Patch Award winner Captain Crunch head the list of nominees to Canada’s richest race. Stag Party won 6 of 9 starts and earned more than half of his $514,368 bankroll with an easy victory in the $685,300 Metro Pace at the same track where the North America Cup will be held. Captain Crunch won 6 of 10 starts and $613,113 as a freshman, including a 3-length score in 1:51.3 in the $600,000 Breeders Crown at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. They dynamic duo could cross paths for the first time in the ‘Cup.’
Captain Crunch, one of two 2018 champions trained by Nancy Johansson, also heads a talented class nominated the Meadowlands Pace. Open stakes winners Captain Ahab and Workin On A Mystery, sire stakes champs Reigning Deo and Proof, and regional stars Bronx Seelster and Melodie’s Major are more reasons why the number increased by more than 50 percent from last year.
IN THE XPRESSLANE: Beckhams Z Tam, a Breeders Crown champion last year at age 3, won the featured $25,000 preferred handicap Saturday at the Meadowlands, one of five wins on the card for driver Tim Tetrick. … Andy Ray (Elliott Deaton) trotted to victory in the $25,000 Barry Langley Memorial last Sunday at Miami Valley, a race named in honor of the trainer who passed away unexpectedly at age 33 earlier in the week. … Traylor Racing Stable’s Cash Me Out won Sunday’s featured $15,000 trot at Saratoga to become harness racing’s newest millionaire.