Foiled Again fails as the favorite in career finale

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

January 1st, 2019

While millions of Americans were making their final plans for the New Year's Eve celebrations centering around the famous ball drop in Manhattan, Foiled Again, harness racing's all-time richest horse of either gait, faded to fifth as the 6-5 favorite in his career finale over a sloppy track at the Meadows near Pittsburgh on Monday night.

In the final start of this career and his commendable farewell tour in which he visited 18 different tracks, several of them for the first time, Foiled Again was made the solid choice from post eight with Yannick Gingras in the bike in a $13,000 Open, granted not the type of Open in which Foiled Again became accustomed to facing during his prime earlier in the decade.

Not long after being honored with the Stan Bergstein Proximity Achievement Award, something typically designated for human recipients, Foiled Again made the 331st and final start of his career on Monday night. At 14, the gelded son of Dragon Again faced a mandatory retirement hours later since he would turn 15 at midnight, the official start of the New Year, and despite fading in the lane will be remembered for posting 109 wins and earning nearly $7.635 million during a stellar career in which he was named champion aged pacer in 2011, 2012 and 2013 at the ripe ages of seven, eight and nine.

Throughout much of his farewell tour, Foiled Again often faced horses that could not have warmed him up during his prime but he was beaten in most of those events and was under urging to win against inferior foes at Harrington Raceway, Rosecroft Raceway and Harrah's Philadelphia, where his career began 12 years earlier. During his heyday he won lucrative, prestigious events including the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, George Morton Levy Memorial final and Bobby Quillen Memorial and often did so in gritty fashion, the main adjective Gingras used on Monday.

Foiled Again concluded 2018 with 11 wins from 28 starts and he left a lasting impression on fans and horsemen, alike, who could applaud his durability and stamina and his connections should certainly be commended for sending the aged wonder on the farewell tour. But his last month of racing underscored the primary reasons horses are retired when they turn 15 years of age, since he often won races with final clockings four seconds slower than those posted in the feature race on the card.

On Monday night at the Meadows he wilted as the 6-5 favorite in an overnight race and four weeks earlier he was all-out to win a conditioned event at Rosecroft Raceway in 1:53.4 on the same night in which Western Fame captured the $100,000 Potomac Pace in 1:49.2, an event that Foiled Again would have been favored to win five years earlier. His effort in his career finale at the Meadows on Monday night left little doubt that father time had caught up with Foiled Again and another year of racing would have been far more cruel than simply allowing him to retire.