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Teague drives Lather Up to victory in $1-million North America Cup harness race

CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. — The $1-million Pepsi North America Cup was sweet redemption for Montrell Teague and trainer Clyde Francis.

Teague drove Lather Up, the 3/5 favourite, to victory in Canada's richest harness race Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The win comes three years after Americans Teague and Francis were second in this event with favourite Wiggle It Jiggleit.

"Oh my God you have no idea," said Teague, who gave a fist pump as Lather Up crossed the finish line. "This is definitely great redemption."

Lather Up secured the four-length victory in 1:48.1. Done Well, a 5/1 pick driven by Tim Tetrick of the U.S., finished second in the 10-horse field while Scott Zeron of Oakville, Ont., drove Lost In Time, at 7/1 odds, to third.

Last weekend, Lather Up, the Ohio-sired son of Im Gorgeous, was the fastest elimination winner in 1:49.2. Prior to the race, Teague figured it would take an effort of 1:48 or better to win this event.

"And it did," he said.

With the victory, Lather Up continued his brilliant 2018 season. The win was the horse's sixth in as many races this year and 10th in 13 career starts.

Tetrick moved Done Well ahead of Lather Up during the race but Teague responded by re-taking the lead.

"Timmy came, I knew he would just keep on coming the whole trip," Teague said. "But once he got by me I pulled right back out and he let me go fairly easily and it worked out to my advantage."

Done Well finished in the money for the third time in as many starts this year (a win, two seconds). Tetrick had no complaints about his trip.

"I thought I gave that horse a run but Teague's horse was on his game," Tetrick said. "That's a nice colt.

"I got in a good spot without using him too much and I knew I was following a good horse. Montrell kept it rolling and I just couldn't keep up with him. My horse was second best."

Zeron took a philosophical approach to Lost In Time's third-place finish.

"As much as this is my favourite race, there's so many more left and to know I got my horse back where I want him is a good feeling," he said. "There's tons of races left to go this year but this one is No. 1 on my bucket list and I'll have to wait another year."

But there was no touching Lather Up, especially once he kicked into overdrive down the stretch.

"It took me about halfway through the stretch because I didn't want to take off too fast and have Timmy pull out and beat me again," Teague said. "But once I popped the ear plugs he exploded like he's supposed to.

"He's a great horse."

Also on Saturday's card, Louis-Philippe Roy of Mont-Joli, Que., drove Shower Play to victory in the $415,000 Fan Hanover final for three-year-old pacing fillies. The 3/1 pick finished in 1:50.2 ahead of 7/5 favourite Kissin In The Sand, driven by Zeron. 

Sudden Passing a 7/1 pick with driver Jody Jamieson of Moffat. Ont., was third.

"Going down the backstretch, I tried to flush Scott early a little bit because I wanted him to be first up and I knew Kissin In the Sand was probably the one to beat," said Roy. "I told myself if I could be second over behind her, that would be perfect for me.

"Kissin In The Sand got the perfect trip and I had to beat her, but the filly showed she was so good and did the job."

Tetrick drove Shartin N, the 3/5 favourite, to victory in the $370,000 Roses Are Red final for fillies and mares. The five-year-old claimed her 11th win in 14 starts this season in 1:49.3, finishing ahead of Blue Mountain Stride and American driver Corey Callahan.

Wolfgang, the even-money favourite driven by Yannick Gingras of Sorel., Que., won the $266,000 Good Times final for three-year-old trotters. Wolfgang posted a time of 1:52.1 in finishing four lengths ahead of 99/1 longshot Stormont Ventnor.

And Hannelore Hanover, also driven by Gingras, captured the $250,000 Armbro Flight Stakes for a third straight year. The defending Canadian and U.S. horse of the year won the event for trotting mares in 1:52, finishing 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Emoticon Hanover.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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