Beach Glass, Pebble Beach to be side by side in $1-million North America Cup

·4 min read

CAMPBELLVILLE, Ont. — When trainer Brent MacGrath puts Beach Glass through his paces, he sees many of the qualities of the three-year-old colt's legendary father.

Beach Glass's sire is none other than the incomparable Somebeachsomewhere, who won 20-of-21 career races and over $3.3 million in earnings. Upon retirement, Somebeachsomewhere became a top stallion before dying of cancer in 2018 at the age of 13.

Among Somebeachsomewhere's racing titles was the $1-million Pepsi North America Cup in 2008. Beach Glass will attempt to follow in his famous father's footsteps Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

MacGrath was Somebeachsomewhere's trainer at the '08 North America Cup and part of the six-member Schooner Stable ownership group. Beach Glass races for the same connections.

Somebeachsomewhere was Canada's harness horse of the year in 2007-08 and tops in the U.S. in '08.

The handlers for both Beach Glass and Pebble Beach earned the right to select their starting positions for Saturday's race by virtue of the horses winning their respective elimination events last weekend. MacGrath made the first pick, taking No. 4, with Pebble Beach's handlers taking the No. 5 post in Canada's richest harness event.

Beach Glass was from the last crop of horses sired by Somebeachsomewhere. But MacGrath feels it's unfair to compare Beach Glass to Somebeachsomewhere.

"Maybe there's a little bit of comparison in their ability but other than that they're two totally differently built horses," he said. "They do act the same a lot, they have a lot of the same personalities . . . . he (Beach Glass) loves people, he loves life and loves carrots.

"But I don't think he's done enough to really compare. It's like comparing a really good rookie hockey player to Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux or Sidney Crosby. The player would have some work to do and he (Beach Glass) has some work to do. Some serious work to do."

The race field, with post, horse and driver, will consist of: 1) Fourever Boy, Mike Wilder; 2) I Did It Myway, Tim Tetrick; 3) Ron, Jody Jamieson; 4) Beach Glass, Yannick Gingras; 5) Pebble Beach, Todd McCarthy; 6) Ario Hanover, Dexter Dunn; 7) Night Hawk, David Miller; 8) Kolby Two Step, James MacDonald; 9) Frozen Hanover, Louis-Philippe Roy and 10) Mad Max Hanover, Tim Tetrick.

Beach Glass comes into the race with just seven career starts (four wins, twice second). The horse didn't start training last year until mid-June after developing an immunity issue and ran in five events (three wins, second).

'This horse started (racing) in September when those other colts had six or seven races into them," MacGrath said. "They were seasoned and in better shape and better conditioned and were more experienced.

"He has to learn his lessons on the racetrack so I think every race means something right now. He's still progressing and still learning."

Beach Glass won last weekend's elimination in 1:51, holding off a spirited challenge from I Did It Myway. Pebble Beach posted a 1 1/2-length victory in the other race in 1:49.4, his ninth in 14 career starts.

Gingras, of Sorel, Que., will drive Beach Glass on Saturday night. The 2020 North America Cup-winning driver was also in the sulky for the elimination after Paul MacDonell, of Oshawa, Ont., stepped aside.

"He's getting stronger every week," MacGrath said of Beach Glass. "It (elimination race) seasoned him a little bit, sharpened him up.

"He needed the work, he needed the education, he needed the whole package, he needed the retention. That is the life of a top three-year-old and he passed the test so I'd think he'll be better this week. He really did come out of the race stronger and sharper than he was last week, which they should . . . he's ready to race."

But MacGrath admits his horse will have to come up with a little extra Saturday night to surpass Pebble Beach.

"At the end of the day. we do have to find a little bit more time and we should," he said. "I expect he'll find what he needs to be competitive.

"Pebble Beach does look like the horse to beat, for sure. We're side by side, which is a good thing. We should stay close to him, I'd think that would be the strategy."

After being asked just how big a Beach Glass win Saturday would be, MacGrath took a few minutes to ponder before answering.

"It would be huge . . . especially for his last crop for his father, who died prematurely," he said. "It's hard to cry when something like that happens (death of champion racehorse and stallion) especially when he was as good to you as Beach was.

"But then to end up with this horse, it's really hard to believe."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2022.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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