Aged Pacers Head North of the Border

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Ted Black

May 26th, 2017

Those who follow standardbred racing in Canada are accustomed to seeing the best trotters and pacers compete in lucrative stakes at Mohawk and Woodbine.

But tomorrow night the oft-overshadowed Western Fair Raceway will take center stage when it hosts the $100,000 Molson Pace for older pacers. The Molson caps a solid, 12-race card at Western Fair that includes a bevy of events for older pacers.

Serious standardbred fans will recognize most of the entrants for the Molson, several of which competed in the lucrative, ultra-tough George Morton Levy Memorial Series for aged pacers.

In fact, 2016 Levy series star Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton), who performed well but not as superbly in the 2017 edition of the Levy, drew the rail for the Molson. An eight-year-old Bettors Delight stallion trained by Peter Tritton for owner Harry Von Knoblauch, Bit Of A Legend N arrives with a 2-2-3 slate and $140,000 banked from nine starts this year after posting a 13-6-1 slate and $730,000 bankroll from 28 outings. He owns 35 wins and $1.5 million banked from 100 lifetime tries.

Two spots to his outside is Clear Vision (Brett Miller) who emerged late on the scene for the Levy and performed quite well, winning two legs and the $100,000 consolation. The 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding is among the sharpest horses in the land right now, having won the $20,000 Preferred at the Meadowlands in 1:49 last weekend for his fourth win in 13 seasonal tries and he sports a 37-47-38 slate and $2.7 million bankroll from 212 career outings.

Another talented pacer who competed in the Levy series, Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) arrives with four wins from 10 starts this year and a 24-6-10 slate and $665,000 bankroll from 66 career outings for trainer Ron Burke that includes a victory over Wiggle It Jiggleit last summer.

Trainer Jimmy Takter guided Always B Miki to a horse of the year campaign last season in the older ranks and this year he sends Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) into the Molson. Sunfire Blue Chip settled for third as the 7-10 choice in the Van Rose Memorial at Pocono Downs last out, but he could make his presence known in this spot.

Throughout his career Night Pro (Bob McClure) has been a virtual win machine, boasting five wins in eight starts this year and 46 victories in 82 career tries. But Night Pro drew the dreaded eight hole in this spot and will need ample racing luck to find the winner's circle.

Canadian mainstays Fool Me Once and Evenin Of Pleasure will look to defend the home country against the invaders. Fool Me Once is the sharper of the two right now, having won three straight races including the Preferred at Mohawk.

One race prior to the Molson a field of aged pacers will clash in a $12,500 Invitational where much of the focus will be on Foiled Again, the sports richest pacer who has won three of 14 starts this year and owns a 94-64-41 slate and $7.56 million bankroll from 287 starts in his Hall Of Fame career.

Looking to upend Foiled Again in that Invitational are Boomboom Ballykeel, Champagne Phil and Maryland-bred Daylight Rush, sixth behind Western Fame, Check Six and others in the Confederation Cup last out, will look to  upend the grand old man of harness racing.