Somebeachsomewhere lived up to his billing - and more - Saturday night when he coasted to victory before wall-to-wall crowds at the $1.5-million North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway.
The 3-year-old pacer went off as the heavy 2-to-5 favourite and earned an ovation after the win for his Maritime owners.
Somebeachsomewhere is now undefeated in nine starts, and the first undefeated winner of the North America Cup - and he did it while still dealing with a bruised bone in his foot.
"The foot's still an issue,'' trainer Brent MacGrath said.
It was the first North America Cup win for driver Paul MacDonell and the timing was perfect. He and his wife, Lynn, were celebrating their 22nd anniversary.
The winner's circle couldn't contain the large crowd of Nova Scotians and New Brunswickers that spilled onto the track after the horse won.
Somebeachsomewhere is a one-horse stable owned in part by trainer Brent MacGrath, owner of a couple of car dealerships in Truro, N.S., his partners and customers.
MacDonell, a local driver whose family comes from Cape Breton, has known MacGrath for years.
Before MacDonell stepped off the sulky in the winner's circle, he said: "It sends chills up my spine. "I could feel everyone behind us and supporting us leading to this week, everybody in the country, and in the United States just love this horse. He's the whole show.''
Somebeachsomewhere settled into third place early as Mucho Sleazy went for the lead to the first quarter in 26 4/5. But MacDonell didn't wait too long. At the quarter mile mark, he said he could see the shadows of a couple of horses moving to the outside, and he pulled Somebeachsomewhere from the rail and charged for the led.
Somebeachsomewhere took over the lead to the half-mile mark in 54 4/5 seconds and paced easily to the three-quarters in 1:22. He stretched his lead to three and a half lengths at the head of the stretch and cruised to the wire by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:49, equaling the fastest mark of his career that he took last week in winning an elimination for the North America Cup.
Badlands Nitro, second choice at almost 6 to 1, finished second for Brian Sears who said: "I was able to get out late and take a run at him.'' But the run was too late.
Santanna Blue Chip, driven by Mohawk's leading driver, Jody Jamieson, was third at odds of almost 16 to 1.
"I think he's a natural athlete,'' MacDonell said.
"He didn't put him down on the rail at all,'' MacGrath said. "That's why he took the two-hole [post position two] so he didn't get jammed up on that first turn…He drove the horse perfect. He always drives perfect, especially for the big ones, especially for the big money.
"The horse is good. He's still not 100 per cent, but he's good.''
MacDonell returned two races later to win the $588,706 Elegantimage Stakes with Lantern Kronos, a 3-year-old trotting filly.