by Frank Carulli
June 17, 2019
The ‘Captain’ came ready to crunch some record numbers at Woodbine-Mohawk Park last Saturday.
Namely, Captain Crunch set a track and Canadian record when he paced to a pulsating 1:47.2 victory in the 36th running of the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-olds.
The champion freshman pacer from last year bounced back from a near disastrous elimination run the previous week, when he broke stride on the first turn and recovered to finish fifth, earning a spot on the starting gate in the 10-horse Cup final.
“I knew that the horse raced really well just to make it to the final so I really wasn’t worried,” said trainer Nancy Johansson. “I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I knew he was the best horse going into it and it was just up to him to show everybody.”
Montreal native Scott Zeron is a believer after his first-hand view from the driver’s bike. Captain Crunch hustled to the lead from post 8, settled into third behind pace setter Workin Ona Mystery and came out to challenge the favorite nearing the final turn. He drew even as they reached the quarter pole in 1:20, powered clear in mid-stretch, then held off a late charge from pocket-sitting Bettors Wish (Dexter Dunn) to win by � of a length in what Harness Racing Update called “a race for the ages.”.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Zeron. “This has been the end-all, be-all for me. It’s completed my entire bucket list.”
“I didn’t want to be in that spot I was in, but … he overcame it with just his greatness.”
Captain Crunch paid $10.30 to win and keyed a $41.90 exacta and $59.70 trifecta with Workin Ona Mystery holding third. The 2018 Breeders Crown winner topped C$1 million in earnings with his ninth win in 14 starts for Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms.
His 1:47.2 clocking was 2/5 of a second faster than the previous record shared by Cup winners Thinking Out Loud (2012) and Betting Line (2016).
Captain Crunch likely will return to the U.S. to prepare for the July 13 Meadowlands Pace.
How fast he will get there is anyone’s guess.