By Bill Finley
Photo by J.J. Zamaiko Photography
It was a race for the ages that was won by the aged.
No matter how old he is, no matter how bad his recent form might have been, never, never, never, never, never, never write Foiled Again off. Just when it looked like he was finally done, the 11-year-old wonder horse scored a game victory in last night’s $175,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park, It was the third time he won the race, the first coming way back in 2009.
“He is the toughest horse in the history of harness racing,” winning driver Matt Kakaley said when it was over.
With the win, Foiled Again, already the richest pacer in the history of the sport, went over the $7 million mark in earnings with $7,012,351 now on his card.
You couldn’t exactly blame anyone who said Foiled Again was done. Not only is he 11, but he was 0 for 4 this year and had not won a race since the Sept. 15 Quillen Memorial at Harrington. Trainer Ron Burke was not at all ready to give up on the veteran, explaining that his form was off this year because he had an entrapped epiglottis. The problem was fixed with minor surgery and Foiled Again was proclaimed ready to go after a 49-day layoff and two solid qualifiers.
Not everyone was a believer as the bettors sent him off at 5-1, making Luck Be Withyou the even money favorite.
Driven by Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Luck Be Withyou shot to the lead and sizzled through opening fractions of 26, 53.4 and 1:21.3. Meanwhile, Foiled Again was the first to pull and drew alongside Luck Be Withyou as the field crossed the wire for the first time.
Luck Be Withyou still led on the final turn but broke. That allowed Foiled Again to inherit the lead but the race was far from over. He faced intense challenges from stablemate Clear Vision on the outside and Cammikey on the inside. Showing his guts and his class he held on to win by a neck over Clear Vision. Cammikey was third. After the break, Luck Be Withyou finished last.
Foiled Again paid $13 to win and completed the mile in 1:50.3.
“It’s unfortunate that other horse broke, but I had him,” Kakaley said. “No matter what, Foiled Again was going to get by him.”
“I knew he wasn’t done,” a beaming trainer Ron Burke said. “He’s nowhere close to being done. We plan to race him until he’s 14. That may mean he’s racing here on a Monday night, but I think we can keep him going until he’s 14.”
Asked if he would be back next year for another try at the Battle of Lake Erie with a 12-year-old Foiled Again, Burke said: “We plan on it.”
Burke said Foiled Again will likely start next in the June 27 Ben Franklin at Pocono Downs.
Last night was his 229th start and his 84th career win.