Lyonssomewhere and driver Corey Callahan shot through an opening in deep stretch to take the first of three eliminations Saturday at Mohawk in preparation for next Saturday’s Pepsi North America Cup, the richest harness race on the continent.
Trained by Jimmy Takter, the son of champion Somebeachsomewhere thus kept his racing record perfect, now five-for-five, as he scored by one and three-quarter lengths in a career best 1:50.1. It was also his first crack at stakes company and he passed with flying colours. His sire, of course, won the 2008 Pepsi North America Cup, retiring as Horse of the Year with just a single loss in 21 career outings.
Lyonssomewhere was hustled to the front initially but was overtaken by odds-on JK Endofanera just before the first quarter was reached in 27.4. JK Endofanera proceeded through easy fractions of :56.3, then 1:24, when being challenged by Western Vintage as the field turned for home.
But after putting away that rival, JK Endofanera started to drift a bit in mid-stretch, allowing Lyonssomewhere to blast through on the inside and pull away to an emphatic victory. Beat the Drum wound up second, with JK Endofanera fading to third. Western Vintage was fourth.
The top three in each elimination, plus a fourth place finisher drawn by lot, qualify for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup next Saturday. Not only that, but each winner’s connections get to select a post position for the final prior to the balance of the field being drawn at Tuesday’s press conference at Mohawk.
"The only horse I was really worried about leaving out of there was Limelight Beach,” said Callahan. "My plan was to get there and follow Brian (Sears, driving JK Endofanera). So everything worked out perfect. I got there really easy. With him getting soft fractions, I was a little worried but my horse was really good.”
About his :26.1 final quarter, Callahan added, "He paced it real easy. Brian’s horse drifted out and gave me an easy trip up the rail. He just absolutely exploded. It’s the first time I’ve called on him and asked him to pace and I still think he’s got more left.”
For all of his harness racing success, essentially with trotters, Takter has only sent two horses to the post in previous Cups, which have showcased the finest three-year-old pacers in North America since 1984. Both of Takter’s starters came in 2012 and one of them, Time To Roll, finished second to Thinking Out Loud.
Sent postward the second choice at 7-2 behind 1-2 JK Endofanera, Lyonssomewhere, owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford, Ontario, paid $9.20, $5.10 and $3, combining with a 27-1 shot, Beat the Drum ($16.80, $4.50) for a $149 (6-2) exactor. A 6-2-1 (JK Endofanera, $2.10) triactor was worth $364.60. WEG Media