Despite being parked out every step of the mile, Foiled Again defended his Molson Pace title in the C$300,000 final on Friday (May 25) at The Raceway at Western Fair District, reaffirming his position as one of the most dominant free for all pacers in recent harness racing history.
As the gate left, the field of eight of North America's top pacers gunned for the front with Aracache Hanover, who left from the outside post seven on London's half-mile track, grabbing early control for Doug McNair to hit the opening quarter in :26.3. Neither Razzle Dazzle or Foiled Again could find a spot on the rail so they were forced to take the tough routes, first and second over, respectively.
Aracache Hanover hit the half in :55.3 while John Campbell, aboard Razzle Dazzle first up, slowly made his way forward and they were eye to eye with the leader at the 1:23.1 three-quarters before Razzle Dazzle took over control. However, Foiled Again was poised and ready to strike from his second over spot for Yannick Gingras as the field rounded the final turn.
Heading down the lane Foiled Again obtained the front and managed to hold off a hard closing Clear Vision and Matt Kakaley to win in 1:51.3. Clear Vision was right there for second followed by Razzle Dazzle, as Atochia and Aracache Hanover picked up the final checks.
"I got looped out of the gate, so I wasn't really happy with that. Doug got the jump on us, he drove a good race," reflected winning driver Gingras. "It worked out, John got parked and I got a nice second over behind him. I know Razzle Dazzle is a good horse too and he was going to take me where I needed to go so I was happy with that but I would have rather been in Dougie's spot than where I was.
"It's easy for me, he's a great, great horse and anyone could do well with him. He's a pleasure to drive. He's eight now so all those wins are even more special than they were because I know the end is definitely closer than the start.
"He shows up every week and puts up a big effort. Like tonight, parked every single step, not many horses can overcome that. He's just a great horse," praised Gingras who has been in the bike for the majority of Foiled Again's races for trainer Ron Burke, including last year's Molson Pace final in an identical time of 1:51.3.
"This means a lot, especially because of the relationship I have with the Burkes, they have been so great to me, it's always a pleasure to drive for them. Ronnie's the easiest guy to drive for, you can't get anyone better than him."
Assistant trainer Mickey Burke, Jr. noted that the race panned out exactly how he expected.
"We knew that Aracache would go out there and just blast, and had to do it from that position. The guys (the drivers behind the three starters from the Burke barn in the final, Foiled Again, Clear Vision and Atochia) talked about it and said they were going to do what they had to do.
"Fortunately Razzle Dazzle was able to give us great cover to the head of the stretch. We can't be more than happy with the results," he added, given that his charges finished first, second and fourth.
"It's his heart, every time he shows up at the track he's going to go forward and do whatever he can no matter what. He's one of the best ever," he said of what makes Foiled Again such a special performer.
It was the second straight Molson Pace final victory and fourth appearance in The Raceway's signature event for Foiled Again, an 8-year-old gelding byowned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables.
One of the most consistent performers in the upper echelons of the sport for several years, Foiled Again is one of the richest pacers of all time. His effort on Friday night upped his bankroll to C$3,805,856.
Gingras reflected the opinion of all who watched the race: "This horse is just so, so special."
A great on track crowd on a perfect evening at The Raceway at Western Fair District helped propel the wagering handle on track at the London track from $126,000 last year to $139,368. The total handle on the track's signature card was $338,372, down slightly from last year.
2012 $300,000 Molson Pace Final
from The Raceway at Western Fair District Media Relations