Perfect trip puts Nijinsky in NA Cup winner’s circle

Milton, ON — In a race chock full of contenders, it was Nijinsky, courtesy of a flawless journey orchestrated by Louis-Philippe Roy, who came out on top in the 41st edition of the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup, held Saturday night (June 15) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Showcasing a wide open field with no shortage of sophomore horsepower, the premier Canadian event for 3-year-old pacers promised plenty of drama to be played out in front of a packed house at the Milton oval.

And it certainly delivered on that front.

The action began as soon as the starting car sped away, with Funtime Bayama grabbing the early lead, followed by Captain Albano, Captain Luke, and slight 5-2 choice Captains Quarters.

It got more compelling after Funtime Bayama carved out an opening quarter in :26.1, as Captain Albano sped to the front, only to be passed by Captains Quarters. Nijinsky was seventh but travelling comfortably with a patient Roy at the controls.

Jody Jamieson had Captains Quarters on top by 1-1/2 lengths through a half in :54.1, followed by Captain Albano, Funtime Bayama and Legendary Hanover, who announced his presence from in fourth.

Heading into the turn for home, Captains Quarters, a length clear through three-quarters in 1:21.2, was still calling the shots as Legendary Hanover looked to reel in his rival. Captain Albano was third, but a hard-charging Nijinsky arrived on the scene and was rolling midway down the lane. A game Captains Quarters dug in gamely to the inside, but Nijinsky had the momentum and went on to notch a 1-1/2-length win in a lifetime best 1:48.1.

Nijinsky vaulted off second-over cover and gave driver Louis-Philippe Roy his first North America Cup triumph.

Funtime Bayama, who had been locked in at the rail, re-rallied to finish third. Captain Albano was fourth.

“It [the trip] worked really well,” said Roy, who won his first Cup in his fourth appearance. “I have to give credit to the horse himself. You can do whatever you want, and he’ll respond to you any time in the mile. He’s just so easy to drive.

“I knew coming down the lane. I didn’t know how much Jody had left, but I really liked my chances there. I knew coming up the helmet, he would give me a pretty good kick.”

It was the fifth win in as many starts this year for the bay colt trained by Anthony Beaton for the ownership group of West Wins Stable (Casie Coleman), John Fielding, and Mark Dumain.

Nijinsky at the center of a crowded winner’s circle presentation following his victory in the 41st Pepsi North America Cup. New Image Media.

As a 2-year-old, Nijinsky, who was second in two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions, went 1-2-3 from 10 starts, accompanied by C$99,862 in purse earnings.

“He was a very nice colt last year,” said first-time Cup winner Beaton, who spent 10 seasons as assistant trainer to Coleman. “He just had a little immaturity and that, but he was always showing these high speeds at the end of the miles.

“This year, he came back and he’s so much more mature,” continued Beaton, whose other Cup trainee, Legendary Hanover, finished fifth. “You could just do anything with him, and he’s still got that high speed.”

Bred by Jeffrey Snyder, the son of Bettors Delight-Pirouette Hanover was a $120,000 purchase at the 2022 Harrisburg Yearling Sale.

Nijinsky, the 5-2 second choice, paid $7.90 for the win.

In undercard action on Saturday’s Mohawk program (click headlines for full stories):

Its A Love Thing lunges for Fan Hanover win

Dave Menary trainee Its A Love Thing sustained through a first-over push and forged forward in the homestretch charge to win the C$425,000 Fan Hanover, for 3-year-old pacing fillies, and tied the stakes, track and Canadian record with a 1:48.2 mile.

Twin B Joe Fresh full force in Roses Are Red

Once Dexter Dunn got Twin B Joe Fresh rolling for the lead, her peers could mount no fight as she registered a geared-down 1:48 win in the C$305,000 Roses Are Red final.

Highland Kismet oozes greatness in Goodtimes

Highland Kismet, with Bob McClure in the race bike, stamped himself as a superstar-in-the-making courtesy of a stupendous score in the C$225,000 Goodtimes Stakes.

Call Me Goo grabs gold in Armbro Flight

Driver Tim Tetrick wrangled Call Me Goo to sit off the speed and caught a covered ride to vault effortlessly by 1-5 favorite M-M’s Dream in the stretch and win the C$233,000 Armbro Flight final.

Back to Top

Share via