Qualifiers help ignite older pacers

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Ted Black

March 13th, 2015

For the second straight week the morning qualifiers at the Meadowlands Race Track have looked like an early preview for the numerous older stakes races this spring, summer and fall and harness racing fans perhaps should take note of how well the sport's aged stars prepped for their respective returns to the track.

Earning top billing as he normally does wherever he travels is the durable, talented and wealthy Foiled Again, the amazing 11-year-old pacer who won his second straight qualifier in his final preparations for the upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial series at Yonkers Raceway in New York. The lucrative Levy series runs from Saturday, March 21 through April 18 with a $400,000 final slated for April 25.

The last two qualifiers on Friday morning were the highlight of the card. In the penultimate race on the program, Clear Vision (Yannick Gingras) benefited from a pocket trip behind stablemate Bettor's Edge (Matt Kakaley) and then just nailed that one at the wire in 1:53 in their final tuneups for the Levy series.

Clear Vision, whose best races are typically in the fall, has won both of his qualifiers and will look to emerge from the shadows of Foiled Again at some point this season. While Foiled Again has earned the bulk of the headlines during his Hall of Fame career, Clear Vision has been among the best aged pacers in the land the last three years.

Last year he posted a 6-7-6 slate and banked $550,000 from 29 starts. In his 165-race career the nine-year-old Western Hanover gelding sports a 29 wins and earnings of just over $2.3 million. He was second to Foiled Again last year in the $200,000 Robert Quillen Memorial at Harrington, one year after defeating his illustrious stablemate in that event.

Bettor's Edge also enjoyed a solid 2014 campaign for Burke, posting an 8-7-4 slate and earnings of nearly $675,000 from 30 starts last season. In 87 career tries, Bettor's Edge owns 21 wins and earnings of over $1.43 million and has typically been good in the opening legs of the Levy series.

Then in the last qualifier of the morning, Foiled Again (Gingras) gained command soon after the outset and led throughout and held safe Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) for a length score in 1:53. One week earlier Foiled Again had rallied from last early courtesy of a 26.4 kicker,  but Friday morning he tuned up for the Levy by leading throughout in sharp fashion.

While Clear Vision and Bettor's Edge have enjoyed very productive careers, their combined earnings ($3.7 million) are still just more than one-half of the stellar $6.9 million bankroll posted by Foiled Again through his amazing career that spans 223 starts and 83 wins heading into his 2015 campaign.

Foiled Again  will certainly be a major player in the Levy series again this spring at the ripe age of 11, but so will Mach It So who finished a sharp second Friday morning in his second qualifier. The Jeff Bamond trainee posted a 9-4-1 slate and earnings of more than $236,000 from 23 starts last year and he was good in the Levy series and will join stablemate and defending Levy final hero PH Supercam at Yonkers next weekend.