by Dave Briggs
As the crowd of phone-wielding amateur photographers began to swell around Foiled Again in the Jug Barn on Thursday morning at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, the horse’s trainer and part-owner Ron Burke couldn’t help but smile at the reception at this, his latest stop on the Foiled Again Farewell Tour.
“It’s been incredible. It’s been like this in every place,” Burke said. “It’s just more people than you can imagine appreciating him. The thing is, the horse really appreciates it. I’d say a year ago that maybe he wouldn’t have done this, but he’s got the idea of how special this is and he really seems to enjoy the attention and hangs out. It’s nice.”
Foiled Again, the richest standardbred in history with earnings of $7.59 million, greeted fans and then led the post parade for the Little Brown Jug.
“Yesterday they gave him a standing ovation in the tent when he pulled up and I thought, ‘This is cool’. It was really neat, really awesome, so I think it’s really nice,” Burke said. “For sure, it’s been the highlight of the year. It’s just made it a completely different experience. Usually everything is stressful, but there’s no stress to this, it’s just pure enjoyment.”
Booked for appearances across North America for the rest of the year, Foiled Again’s racing career will culminate at his home track, The Meadows, on New Year’s Eve, the last day the 14-year-old son of Dragon Again—In A Safe Place can race before facing mandatory retirement when he turns 15 on Jan. 1.
“I realize any time that I do one of these that it’s that much closer to the end for him, with him, and that’s tough to take,” Burke said. “My whole family is emotional and I know (the last race) will get crazy.”