Always B Miki, Foiled Again win Crown OP elims
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After staying put in the first-over position around the far turn, Always B Miki began to slide toward control and quickly roared by pacesetter State Treasurer en route to a three-length victory in 1:49.4 in the second $35,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace elimination on Saturday (Oct. 17).
All Bets Off secured the lead approaching the first turn, but State Treasurer, who was parked out into the first turn, soon brushed to the lead off a :27.1 first quarter. He took the field by the half in :55.2 while Always B Miki edged first-over and began to progress towards the top, with Mach It So on his tail.
Remaining stride for stride with pocket-rider All Bets Off off a 1:23 third quarter, Always B Miki started to chase down State Treasurer, who was drifting off the pylons slightly. All Bets Off managed to skid up the gap at the inside into the final eighth, but Always B Miki instantaneously powered by him and State Treasurer, drawing clear.
Bettor’s Edge finished second, State Treasurer third, Mach It So fourth, and All Bets Off fifth.
Making his second start of the season for the interests of Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter, Always B Miki paid $2.90 to win. He pushed his career earnings to $957,591. The 4-year-old horse by Always A Virgin, out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, is trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by David Miller.
"He’s a fantastic horse,” Jimmy Takter said. "We had a long journey here; we had a big bump in May when he got reinjured in the other leg, so I’m really, really pleased to see this horse [win], because he’s really a special animal, and he’s a very popular horse in the sport, with so many people asking about this horse. Seeing him come back, I thought he looked pretty darn good. I’m so pleased to be a part of his life.
"This horse has the right determination, an extremely great set of lungs, and, like David [Miller] said last year, he had some problems steering him, but the horse never got tired,” Takter also said. "Like in the Meadowlands Pace, he was three wide and finished second; the whole race he was outside. Standing here, I was nervous; I didn’t like post one. But when they went off, I knew he was going to be right there.
"You’ve got to be patient with them,” Takter said regarding Always B Miki’s return to racing. "An injury takes time [to heal], and you have to listen to him [the horse]. He did very well; he was standing in his stall for a long time, and a lot of horses get frustrated doing that. He was able to keep his weight, so it’s a heck of a story really. For this horse, he won the Breeders Crown elimination last year [in the 3-year-old colt pace], and never got an opportunity to show what a great horse he was in the final.” --Ray Cotolo
Foiled Again wins Crown elim
Foiled Again, mired in one of his worst seasons when it comes to victories, turned the tables on Saturday night in capturing the first $35,000 elimination of the Breeders Crown Open pacing division at Woodbine as an 8-1 outsider.
The richest Standardbred of all time, Foiled Again entered the contest with nearly $7.2 million banked throughout his storied career, but this year had just one victory in 17 starts prior to Saturday night. The lack of wins didn't stop driver Yannick Gingras from giving Foiled Again a good steer as he got away third in the early stages as Melmerby Beach and Paul MacDonell sprinted out through a :26.1 quarter to take control. Arthur Blue Chip was a distant second in the opening quarter with Foiled Again third.
Gingras waited until the :54.2 half had been clocked before setting Foiled Again, an 11-year-old son of Dragon Again to the outside. The gelding knew exactly what to do as he grinded his way up to the leader through a 1:22.1 three-quarter clocking and then shifted into high gear in the homestretch, scoring quite safely in 1:50 flat.
The victory was number 85 in the career of Foiled Again, trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables.
JK Endofanera was sent off as the heavy favorite, but he trailed from the start and closed briskly for second as the 6-5 choice. Arthur Blue Chip squeezed in late for third with pacesetter Melmerby Beach and McWicked also advancing to the final.
"Every win is special with him," said Yannick Gingras the winning driver. "He's the greatest horse I've every driven.”
The driver suggested that the wins have come with more spacing this year in parts due to Foiled Again's age and an abundance of poor post positions.
"When he draws outside you have to use him too much early and he just can't finish after that. Usually I know how good he's going to be when we come through the final turn," said Gingras. "Tonight he latched on to me and I knew they weren't going to beat him." --Jay Bergman