CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. - Wakizashi Hanover pulled off the upset Saturday night at the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup.
The Canadian-owned three-year old overtook favoured Wiggle It Jiggleit down the stretch to capture the world's richest pacing event by three-quarters of a length at Mohawk Racetrack. Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2/5 favourite, came in unbeaten through 11 races and went to lead from the start but ultimately couldn't fend off the hard-charging Wakizashi Hanover, a 5/1 pick.
Betting Exchange was third in the 10-horse field.
Wakizashi Hanover posted a winning time of 1:48 and paid $13.40, $4 and $3.20. Wiggle It Jiggleit returned $2.50 and $2.20 while Betting Exchange paid $8.40.
American driver Tim Tetrick earned his second Cup victory, the first coming in 2013 with Captaintreacherous. After bringing Wakizashi Hanover all the way from sixth to win last weekend's elimination race, Tetrick kept his horse near the speed Saturday night.
"It worked out perfect, I got to follow a really good horse with Wiggle It Jiggleit and the horse did the rest," Tetrick said. "He got us all the way to the 7/8ths pole and my horse tipped and we got the job done.
"Well, that's how I planned it. I was really happy with the result. He's a nice colt and the connections have done a great job with him. I appreciate them letting me drive the horse."
Wakizashi Hanover, owned by Tri County Stable of Truro, N.S., scored an upset win in his elim last week, beating 1/5 favourite Artspeak by 1 3/4 lengths. The win Saturday was Wakizashi Hanover's seventh in 12 career starts.
"He's versatile," Tetrick said. "He's a good horse and he's got tons of speed."
Tri County Stable, a six-partner syndicate, purchased the colt for US$23,000 at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale in 2013. Saturday's victory alone was worth $500,000.
"We're living a dream," said co-owner Bruce Kennedy. "We have six people and three of them are brand new owners, have never owned a horse before.
"What a way to start a career."
Kennedy also praised Tetrick and trainer Joann Looney-King.
"We have a great trainer in Joann Looney-King and her husband, Jim," he said. "I don't know how you get Tim as a driver but we did.
"We had the package coming in, Tim and Joann had the horse perfect. Our timing was great."
For Looney-King, the Cup win was sweet redemption because she felt her horse wasn't given the proper respect heading into the race.
"Everybody was saying we weren't good enough," she said. "They didn't pick us.
"It's just overwhelming to show people that this is as good a horse that we thought he was. He (Wakizashi Hanover) knew he was going to be good."
Wiggle It Jiggleit set a world mark of 1:49 for three-year-old pacers May 11 at Harrington, winning by 14 1/4 lengths. He also captured last weekend's elim by a comfortable six-length margin.
The incomparable Somebeachsomewhere, which also has Nova Scotia ownership ties, remains the last undefeated horse to win the North America Cup, doing so in 2008.
The remainder of the field, in order of finish, was: In The Arsenal; Artspeak; Hurrikane Ali; Arque Hanover; Yankee Bounty; Penji Hanover; and Good Friday Three.
Earlier, Wrangler Magic, driven by Sylvain Filion of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Que., won the $479,000 Fan Hanover final in 1:50 2/5ths. The 5/1 pick finished two lengths ahead of 99/1 longshot The Show Returns.
JK Shesalady, which had won her first 13 starts before finishing fourth in last weekend's elim, was a distant fifth.
Doug McNair drove 2/1 second pick Lady Shadow to victory in the $350,000 Roses Are Red final. Lady Shadow posted a time of 1:48 3/5 for her 14th career win ahead of Yagonnakissmeornot and Sandbetweenurtoes.