For Foiled Again, it's summertime and nothing is easy. But trainer Ron Burke is confident the 10-year-old pacer will return to prominence again.
The three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, Foiled Again has won four of 14 starts this year and earned $300,100, but last visited the winner's circle in mid-April. He will try to snap a 10-race skid when he heads to Saratoga Casino & Raceway for Saturday's $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial. The entry box for the Gerrity closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
For his career, Foiled Again has won 80 of 212 races and earned $6.33 million, which is the most money for any harness racing horse in North American history. He has gotten better with age, with the money he has banked since turning age 7 -- $4.31 million -- being good enough on its own to make him the richest pacer.
"I feel bad for him,” Burke said. "He's super right now. He's drawn the wrong spots, but he'll get himself going. He'll come back.”
Since joining the Burke stable in 2008, Foiled Again's overall win percentage in June, July and August is 19.2 percent, with 11 wins in 57 starts. That makes him 61-for-109 the rest of the year, which is a win rate of 55.9 percent. And he's hit the board an astounding 103 times in those 109 races.
During the months from September through the end of the year, Foiled Again has won 32 of 56 starts since 2007 and finished on the board 54 times.
Foiled Again will enter the Gerrity off a sixth-place finish in the U.S. Pacing Championship, where he was beaten by stablemate Sweet Lou by 5 1/2 lengths despite a :25.4 final quarter-mile. In his previous two starts, he was third from post seven in the Battle of Lake Erie at half-mile Northfield Park and eighth in the William R. Haughton Memorial from post 10 at the Meadowlands.
At the end of June, he paced the fastest mile of his life, timed in 1:47.1, but finished third to Sweet Lou in a world-record 1:47 mile in the Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
"You watch the replay (of the U.S. Pacing Championship) and at the wire he's absolutely airborne,” Burke said. "He came home as fast as anybody.
"Now a couple of the smaller tracks are coming up and he's always been good at Mohawk. We go to Saratoga with him, then Mohawk, and then we go to Harrington (Raceway) or maybe Scioto (Downs). He's sharp. He'll be good.”
Mohawk hosts the Canadian Pacing Derby, which Foiled Again won in 2012, on Aug. 30. Eliminations, if necessary, will be Aug. 23. Harrington is home to the Bobby Quillen Memorial, which Foiled Again has won twice and been runner-up three times, on Sept. 15. Eliminations will be a week earlier, if needed. Scioto Downs has the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational on Sept. 27.
Foiled Again ranks No. 6 in earnings among older male pacers this year. The leader is his stablemate, Sweet Lou, with $916,500. The 5-year-old Sweet Lou has a nine-race victory streak after winning last Friday's Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park in a track-record 1:47.2.
For his career, Sweet Lou has won 31 of 67 races and $3.03 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins in 2013.
"I thought last year the torch would pass from Foiled to Lou, but I give credit to Foiled, he stepped his game up and Lou didn't quite come through,” Burke said. "I'm not surprised this year. I don't know if Foiled has ever run into a horse in the last couple years that's as sharp as Lou is right now. It's just a matter of whether Lou can maintain this until the end of the year.
"But nothing Foiled does down the road will shock me. He's just such a good horse.” (HRC)