Weekly Musings: Sunday, July 8, 2018

by John Furgele, Harness Racing 228

-After sitting on 99 career wins for what seemed to be forever, Foiled Again has hit the century mark.  The milestone came at Harrah’s Philadelphia on a warm Sunday afternoon.  Driven by Yannick Gingras, the 14-year old pacer went to the lead and stayed there, winning in 1:53.0.

What an extraordinary achievement.  Racing 100 times is hard enough, but here is a horse that has won 100 times and oh, is the all-time leading money winner with over $7.5 million in earnings.

And he did it against the best competition the sport has to offer.  Sure, today’s race had a purse of $11,000 and was written for non-winners of $7,000 over their last five starts, but that is where the gelding is right now.  But, let’s not forget some of his major wins.  He has won at the Breeders Crown, the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Ben Franklin Pace, the Levy, the Battle of Lake Erie, the Molson Pace, the Bobby Quillen and a few more.  I think you get the point.  He is a not a compiler.  He won for the first time 2006 at Freehold and has continued to show the grit for 13 years.  Horses like this don’t come around very often and Foiled Again will be missed and remembered for a long time.

He is owned by Burke Racing and the plan is to keep racing him through the end of the year, before he heads off to mandatory retirement.  The Meadows in Washington, PA races on December 31 and the plan is to have him race there that day.  Track officials have openly talked about creating a special send-off race for him.

-Saturday’s (July 7) card at the Meadowlands was a good one with two Meadowlands Pace eliminations, two $250,000 Graduate Series races and the $66,200 Mary Reynolds.  The star of the show was the supermare, Ariana G who destroyed the boys to win by almost a full second in 1:50.2.  If there is a better horse in training right now, I’d like to know.

The $250,000 Graduate Pace went to Donttellmeagain in an eye popping 1:47.2.  Hambletonian Day is August 4 and chances are good that we will see these two at the Big M on that day.

We know that the Meadowlands has been hit hard by not having slots revenue.  Less races, smaller fields and lower purses have been the norm at the Big M and in case you forget, Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural will surely remind you.  That said it is now time for the Meadowlands.  This week’s Meadowlands Pace offers eight stakes races, and two weeks later, Hambletonian Day offers nine.  And, the sports book opens Friday, July 13 and with sports betting now legal in the Garden State, there’s hope that some of that money can help keep harness racing alive and healthier at the Big M.

-The Meadowlands Pace will have a full-field of 10 and the two that supplemented in for $60,000—Jimmy Freight and Courtly Choice made the final.  Courtly Choice won his elimination while Jimmy Freight was third.  Because of the supplemental entries, the purse—originally $650,000—will now be at least $710,000 and with sports betting open, one has to wonder how many will be in attendance on Saturday.  Pace Day usually hovers near 10,000 so we’ll see if other betting options will lure some more to East Rutherford.

Contact:  harnessracing@gmx.com

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