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June 16, 2011

Ohio’s Big Bad John is the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack, near Toronto.

The colt, trained by Delaware’s Ron Potter and driven by Columbus native Brett Miller, is 4-for-4 this year heading into the world’s richest pacing race.

When not on the road, Big Bad John is stabled at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. He has won 11 of 13 career races and earned $320,818 for owner Edward Telle, from Powell.

On June 11, Big Bad John won his North America Cup elimination race by 2-1/4 lengths over Roll With Joe in 1:50.3. The top-three finishers from three elims advanced to the final, with winners earning the right to select their post position. Big Bad John’s connections picked post No. 4.

Big Bad John’s career victories include divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes last year at Lexington’s Red Mile. The colt qualified for the Breeders Crown final, but was scratched because of illness.

“He’s got a slick gait but to me it’s all about his attitude,” Potter said. “Every time he goes out there, it’s a fight to him and he’s got the biggest heart; he wants to win.”

Up The Credit, who won his North America Cup elimination by a half-length over Shadyshark Hanover in 1:50.4, was made 5-2 in the morning line for the final. He will start from post two.

This year, Up The Credit has won four of five starts, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere in a stakes-record 1:49. He has won six of 10 lifetime races.

“I think I will be able to get whoever I want in front of me and behind me and have a good trip from there,” Jamieson said about his horse’s starting spot. “Posts one through seven, it’s a tightly contested race. It should be a great race.”

Powerful Mist, who won his North America Cup elim by 1-1/2 lengths over Rockabillie in 1:50.2, is 6-1 in the morning line and will start from post three. Ohio native David Miller picks up the drive from Tim Tetrick, who handled Powerful Mist in his elimination but will pilot Shadyshark Hanover in the final.

Following is the field for Saturday’s $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk, with listed drivers and trainers. The connections of elimination winners Big Bad John, Powerful Mist and Up The Credit got to pick their post positions; the remainder of the field was drawn.

1. Big Jim, Phil Hudon, James “Friday” Dean; 2. Up The Credit, Jody Jamieson, Carl Jamieson; 3. Powerful Mist, David Miller, Wayne Givens; 4. Big Bad John, Brett Miller, Ron Potter; 5. Shadyshark Hanover, Tim Tetrick, Erv Miller; 6. Rockabillie, Brian Sears, Ian Moore; 7. Roll With Joe, Randy Waples, Ed Hart; 8. Eighteen, Paul Macdonell, Moore; 9. Dutch Richman, Scott Zeron, Miller; 10. Foreclosure N, Sylvain Filion, Mark Steacy.

Post time is 9:40 p.m. for the North America Cup. Fifteen of the past 27 Cup winners also won their eliminations.