Odds-on favourite Pebble Beach sailed for the lead midrace and soared to shore to post a 1:50 tour of force in winning the 39th edition of the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday (June 18) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Frozen Hanover flew off the wings for the front to a :27.3 first quarter as Beach Glass keenly pushed uncovered for the lead with Pebble Beach in tow. Beach Glass crossed to the top up the backside while Pebble Beach floated first over and slowly progressed for the front into a :55 half. Into the final turn, the Noel Daley pupil sped on the point as I Did It Myway motored first over to press the pace to three-quarters in 1:22.3 before soon faltering off the turn.
"I would've liked the idea of being able to get in early and make the decision to move, but our hand got forced there and I had to keep pressing," winning driver Todd McCarthy said after the race. "At :55 [half], I was pretty happy with that. I knew he'd have a big last quarter for me.
Straightened for home, Pebble Beach hit another gear and spurted clear of a field fanned across the track attempting to keep pace. With the earplugs still in and the whip tucked, Pebble Beach strode to the finish 2-3/4 lengths better than Beach Glass holding firm in second. Frozen Hanover inched off the pegs and weaved through for third while Ron sprung through traffic to snag fourth.
"It's just so surreal... I'm speechless," McCarthy said. "I can't thank Noel [Daley] enough for what he's done for me since I've come over here, too. He was a large part in helping me come over, and to win this race for him has just been unbelievable. I was lucky enough to pick up this horse early on and he's just been an absolute pleasure.
"He's shown now he's got a bit of versatility — he can do it from the front or behind," Noel Daley said after the race. "He's got a wicked turn of speed, so I said [to Todd] 'as long as you're in the first half swinging in, I'd be happy.' It's good to have a pacer... I've never won a big race with a pacer like this."
The victory propels Pebble Beach closer to millionaire status, with the Downbytheseaside colt now owning $931,750 to his resume for owners Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres Inc. and Laexpressfoderadeovolente.
Sent the 1-2 favourite, Pebble Beach paid $3.10 to win.
According to Woodbine, Saturday evening’s Pepsi North America Cup card established a new N.A. Cup night handle record of $6.3 million, surpassing the $5.6 million wagered on the 2020 Cup card. A sizable chunk of that handle came from the $1.9 million in new money wagered on the Jackpot Hi-5 mandatory payout in the Saturday finale.
The 2022 Pepsi North America Cup featured a stacked undercard with a number of stakes and open class events. Recaps of the evening's other stakes are available below:
- Test Of Faith Fabulous In Roses Are Red
- Atlanta Returns To Armbro Flight Glory
- Treacherous Dragon Too Hot In Fan Hanover
- Fast As The Wind Breezes Home In Goodtimes
- Jimmy Freight Reclaims Gold Cup Crown
- Forbidden Trade Fires In Free For All
For the results from the 2022 Pepsi North America Cup night card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.