Concert promoter Bill Graham once said of the Grateful Dead, "They're not the best at what they do; they're the only ones who do what they do.”
It seems like the same line could be modified to describe Foiled Again.
At the age of 9, Foiled Again is the only one who does what he does.
"He's not the best or the fastest or most talented, but he knows how to fight,” said Kevin Koury, who is among the owners of Foiled Again. "He just keeps out-gaming and out-toughing them. He just keeps going.”
Foiled Again stands alone in harness racing history as the only horse to win a Breeders Crown after the age of 8. The gelding accomplished the feat on Oct. 19 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, where he beat Pet Rock by a nose in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace.
The win pushed Foiled Again's career earnings to $5.65 million and made him the richest North American harness racing horse in history. The victory also moved his seasonal earnings to $1.02 million and made him the oldest horse to ever have a million-dollar campaign. He broke his own record, which he established last year when he banked $1.20 million.
For his career, Foiled Again has won 74 of 194 races and finished in the top three a total of 148 times.
On Friday night, he competes in the $223,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby at Hoosier Park. Foiled Again, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Yannick Gingras, starts from post six and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He won the Indiana Pacing Derby at Indiana Downs in 2012 and 2011.
The Hoosier Park Pacing Derby is part of a stakes-filled card that also includes the $286,500 Carl Erskine for 3-year-old trotters and the $252,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old pacers.
"He's just been a model of consistency,” Koury said. "He's racing against the best horses in the world and still says I can go and win these races.
"He's not the most physically gifted, but he's got the perfect gait, I think. He's got a flawless gait and that's why he's been able to go for so many years. He takes care of himself, but still gives you maximum effort every time he races. That's his secret.”
Foiled Again is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver, Mike Bruscemi and JJK Stables, which is Koury along with his father Joe and brother Joe Jr.
The group purchased Foiled Again during his 4-year-old season in a deal put together by Koury. Since then, Foiled Again has won 66 of 148 starts, finished in the top three on 126 occasions (85 percent) and failed to collect a paycheck only 10 times.
He was voted Pacer of the Year in 2011 and was named the sport's best older male pacer in 2012.
In June, Foiled Again won the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs – by a nose over Pet Rock, just like the Breeders Crown – and he enters the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby with a three-race victory streak. He has won four of his last five starts, with his only loss coming by a head to stablemate Clear Vision in the $223,500 Bobby Quillen Memorial.
He won in 1:48 at Pocono Downs on June 22, which is the fastest win time of his career. It also equals the fastest time ever on a five-eighths-mile track for a pacer older than the age of 4.
"His best attribute, I think, is that he's just one very smart animal,” Koury said. "He's done things this year that he's never done before. He's facing the best horses in the world, setting world records all the time, and it's like he's learned to adapt and go with these horses.
"It's just a special ride.” (HRC)