Older pacers take center stage on Thursday

Profile Picture: Ted Black

Ted Black

February 23rd, 2018

Many of harness racing's biggest and most historical events have typically been contested on weekends, but on Thursday evening standardbred fans were hoping to see another one as Foiled Again, the sport's all-time winningest horse of either gait, made his fourth attempt at seeking his 100th lifetime victory in an overnight event at Yonkers Raceway.

A 14-year-od Dragon Again gelding trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again had long established his place in harness racing history well before his quest to reach the 100-victory plateau of his career. Many of his previous prestigious and lucrative scores had come over the Yonkers half-mile oval, including numerous legs of the George Morton Levy series and a pair of finals. His latest attempt at reaching 100 wins would come against far more moderate rivals.

When the gate folded in the eighth race at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday evening, Foiled Again was away well as the 6-5 favorite in the non-winners of $20,000 last five starts class and grabbed the pocket behind 8-5 second choice Kept Under Wraps A (Jordan Stratton) before the opener in 27.1. Kept Under Wraps A got a breather by the half in 56.4, but met immediate pressure from 21-1 outside BB's Harley (Jim Marohn, Jr.) down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:25.2 with Foiled Again tucked comfortably in the pocket.

Around the final turn, BB's Harley collared Kept Under Wraps A and then Foiled Again began to look for racing room since there is no longer a passing lane at the New York half-mile oval. BB's Harley surged to command in midstretch and Foiled Again angled out of the pocket but had little to offer late and would eventually settle for a dead-heat for fourth as the 21-1 shot prevailed by two lengths in 1:54.1.

As late as four years ago at age 10, Foiled Again would have throttled the same group of pacers but at the age of 14 and with his best days now well behind him the future Hall of Fame pacer is barely competitive at the middle conditioned levels at Yonkers even when he draws favorably. Perhaps Foiled Again's 100th victory is close at hand, especially when he's eligible to the non-winners of $10,000 last five starts class at Yonkers, then the aged warrior can make one final farewell tour and visit another dozen tracks where harness racing fans can celebrate his stellar career first hand one last time.

One race earlier in a non-winners of $10,000 last five starts class for older pacers, Winds Of Change (Jason Bartlett) gained command soon after the start, got a breather to the half in 57.1, shook off one rival down the backside then held safe the pocket-sitting Capozzo to score by a neck in 1:53.1. Owned and trained by Richard Banca, Winds Of Change notched his first win in five starts this year and denied Capozzo his second win of the campaign.

One race earlier in another non-winners of $10,000 last five starts conditioned event for pacers, Oh Johnny B Good N (Jordan Stratton) rallied from midpack to forge a modest 4-1 upset in 1:54. A seven-year-old Mach Three gelding owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, Oh Johnny B Good N saved ground through much of the journey and weaved through traffic late to notch his first win of the current campaign.

Then one race earlier in another non-winners of $10,000 last five starts class, Melmerby Beach (Jim Marohn, Jr.) lived up to his role as the 3-5 favorite when he gained command just past the opener, led the field by the half in 54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.2 then held sway through the lane to score in 1:53.2. A seven-year-old Somebeachsomewhere stallion owned and trained by Attore Ennunziata, Melmerby Beach notched his first victory of the current campaign.