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JK Endofanera wins Pepsi NA Cup at 12-1

June 14, 2014
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JK Endofanera, with Brian Sears, roared down the stretch to take the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, Canada's richest harness race, Saturday at Mohawk, in 1:48.4.It was the second Cup win for Sears, who took the 2005 edition with Rocknroll Hanover, but the first for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables (Alan, Steven and Ronnie Katz) of New York City.
 
What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday, the three-year-old son of Art Major went postward the 1-2 choice in his elimimation division, but, after setting all the fractions, he drifted down the lane and finished third to Lyonssomewhere, ending his five race win streak.
 
Butin the race to crown the champion of the31st edition of the Cup, he was dismissed at 12-1.Leaving from post nine, JK Endofanera came from well out of it, collaring Hes Watching and favored rail-sitter Tellitlikeitis deep in the lane. The winning margin was one and one-half lengths over Tellitlikeitis, with Hes Watching third and Mcwicked fourth.
 
"The trip worked out beautiful,” said Sears. "I followed Mcwicked and he took me where I needed to go. A second-over trip. My horse never saw the fence. Ronnie and (brother) Mickey did a terrific job getting this horse ready for tonight. I always thought highly of this horse. He won a big race for me last year at two (Governor's Cup).
 
"The last couple of weeks I thought he was a little off his game. They made some corrections on him and it really worked out well.
 
"I didn't really see the fractions until I saw the three-quarters in 1:20 and a piece. I said they've got to come back to me just a little bit. My colt wasn't real aggressive, but when I called on him, he showed up.

"It's a week-to-week thing. When you're hot, you're hot. When you throw in a bad one, they forget about you.”

Lyonssomewhere took the field to the opening quarter in a Cup-tying :25.1, but Hes Watching and driver Tim Tetrick took over before the half in :53.2. That pair still held sway after three-quarters in 1:20.3 and was still one and one-half lengths in front, but JK Endofanera got rolling late on the outside and prevailed over all.

"I was leaving out of there pretty hard and I didn't want to get away too far back,” said Brett Miller, about Tellitlikeitis. "It was a big first quarter. I moved him to the front and Hes Watching came at me so hard that I had to let him go. If I park him, I think it would have been suicide so I let him go. I sneaked up the rail for second and he raced huge.”

"I got in a spot where I was either going to be first up a long way so moved him to the front and he got a little away on me around the turn, but he still raced great,” added Tetrick about Hes Watching.

About the equipment changes to the winner, assistant trainer Mickey Burke explained, "After last week (finishing third) we had to revamp. We took the Murphy (bridle) off the inside to straighten him out a little bit and put the blinkers on to concentrate him. We brought him out here to train him a good mile on Tuesday and he responded to it.”

JK Endofanera, in notching his eighth win in 12 career outings, earned $500,000 for the win, the richest pacing event in North America, and paid $26.30, $9.20 and $5.90, combining with Tellitlikeitis ($3.70, $3.10) for a $123.10 (9-3) exactor. A 9-3-7 (Hes Watching, $5.40) triactor was worth $657.50, while a $1 Superfecta [9-3-7-2 (Mcwicked)] Superfecta came back $1,264.80. (Mohawk)
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