by Frank Carulli
July 9, 2018
FOILED AGAIN HITS THE CENTURY MARK
All the glitter of Foiled Again's illustrious career turned to gold Sunday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. One of the most decorated Standardbreds ever won for the 100th time in his final season of racing at age 14.
Foiled Again made the lead from the rail for driver Yannick Gingras and never looked back in the one-mile pace for non-winners of $7,500 in their last five starts.
The 6-to-5 favorite led at every call but had to withstand a challenge by pocket-sitter Perseverant (Joe Bongiorno) to prevail by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:53. Perseverant pulled out to the 2-path before reaching the 3/4-mile pole in 1:25.3, but he coulnd't get past the iron horse, who ran the final quarter in :27.2.
Gingras paraded the sport's richest horse of all-time ($7.58 million) in front of applauding fans on the track apron before heading to a crowded winners' circle. It was the 315th start for the Ron Burke-trainee, who is co-owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and the JJK Stables LLC.
"Today is a day I will forever remember," Gingras tweeted after the race. "Foiled Again has given me so many great memories and being able to win this one with him is beyond special. Thanks old boy for all the thrills."
COURTLY CHOICE EMERGES AT PACE FAVORITE
Winbak Farm paid a hefty price to get 3-year-old Courtly Choice eligible to run in the Meadowlands Pace. The investment -- a $61,690 supplemental fee -- is looking alot better after Courtly Choice won in a $50,000 Pace elimination and was made the morning-line favorite for this Saturday's $701,830 final at the Big M.
Courtly Choice (David Miller) came out from third on the final turn, got past 4-to-5 pace-setter Jimmy Freight in deep stretch and held off a late charge by pocket-sitting American History to win by 3/4 of a length in a lifetime-best 1:48.2. He paid $6 to win.
Courtly Choice won twice in a dozen starts as a 2-year-old but has stakes victories at four tracks in seven starts this season. "From last year to this year, he's really matured," said trainer Blake MacIntosh. "He loves to race now."
Stay Hungry charted a different course but he, too, emerged an elimination winner and one of the favorites in the Pace. Stay Hungry was Canada's champion 2-year-old and a $500,000 earner in 2017. He worked out what driver Doug McNair called a "great" trip in the elimination, picking up live cover from longshot Ideal Feeling in the third quarter, then tipping out for a winning stretch drive and a 3/4-length win over pocket-sitting Hayden Hanover in 1:49.
"Everything came together tonight," said trainer Tony Alagna.
He hopes for a duplicate effort in the 10-horse Pace final (approximate post time 9:45 p.m.) that will line up this way from the rail out: Stay Hungry (McNair, 3-1), This Is The Plan (Tim Tetrick, 15-1), American History (Yannick Gingras, 5-1), Jimmy Freight (Louis-Philippe Roy, 9-2), Courtly Choice (David Miller, 5-2), Nutcracker Sweet (no driver, 15-1), Hayden Hanover (Andy Miller, 8-1), Thinkbig Dreambig (Jordan Stratton, 12-1), Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller, 30-1) and Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley, 15-1).
Xpressbet customers will receive 10X Points for Exacta and Trifecta Wagers on the entire Meadowlands Pace card this Saturday, July 14.
GRADUATE SERIES PRODUCES WORLD RECORDS
Ariana G became a multi-millionaire with a world-record performance Saturday at the Meadowlands. She cleared to the lead early from post 8 and ran away from the boys in the $250,000 Graduate Series final in 1:50.2, the fastest time every by a 4-year-old trotter on a one-mile track.
Yannick Gingras was in the bike as Ariana G improved to 23-30 for co-owners and breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Ariana G reached the half in :55.2, repelled a strong bid by International Moni and hit another gear in a :27 final quarter.
"She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said of the 3-to-2 favorite.
The same can be said for Donttellmeagain, who blazed to a world-record equaling 1:47.2 to in the Graduate final for 4-year-old pacers.
Donttellmeagain made an eye-catching quarter-pole move for driver Tim Tetrick to a short-lived lead. He yielded to the pocket as Miso Fast (Louis Roy) quickly sped past. The top pair separated from the field through a blistering :54 middle half and they kept that pace in the stretch, with Donttellmeagain angling out in mid-stretch and winning by a head.
Jim King Jr. trains Donttellmeagain for Paton Racing Stables.