By Dave Briggs for The Raceway at Western Fair District
London, May 27, 2011 -- He defies what you would expect from a world-class professional athlete at the top of his game in just about every category except heart. He lacks size, is an old man in a younger man’s game and isn’t blessed with blinding speed or a chiselled physique.
Yet, Foiled Again stands atop the globe as the richest horse in harness racing history and is an epic overachiever by any sport’s standards.
Friday night at The Raceway at The Western Fair District in London, fans will get a chance to sit mere metres away from this superstar as Foiled Again competes in his sixth consecutive Molson Pace. One lucky fan will be sitting even closer. The Raceway will draw one name to sit behind the great horse in a special two-seat jog cart when Foiled Again completes an early warm-up trip of the downtown oval.
As for the $150,000 race, Quebec native Yannick Gingras will be in the sulky behind Foiled Again, a horse that has earned over $6.2 million in his career. Gingras, who lives and works in New Jersey, is Foiled Again’s regular driver and one of the pacer’s biggest fans. He calls Foiled Again “The People’s Horse”. “He’s that third-line guy, the sixth round draft pick that scores 50 goals six years in a row,” Gingras said.
To further the hockey analogy, Foiled Again not only is a grinder, he’s also pushing 40. He’s 10 years old in a sport where most racehorses are retired at half his age and mandatory retirement comes when they reach 15.
“He’s an overachiever that wasn’t an expensive yearling, wasn’t a great two- and three-year-old,” Gingras said of horse racing’s most lucrative years. “He’s a horse that’s done it the hard way his whole life. Not only did he have to earn it against the best in the world, the $6 million he’s earned he’s earned it in the open company. He didn’t make $3 million by the time he was three against restricted horses. He’s made the most the last six years racing against the best North America has to offer… He’s a very easy horse to love.”
In the 42nd edition of the Molson Pace, Foiled Again will start from the outside post seven in the eight-horse field as he tries to win the race for the third time in his career to go along with victories in 2012 and 2011. Gingras said Foiled Again’s post might not be as big a hindrance as it may first appear. “He never takes his trip with him. He likes it roughed up. He’s a fighter,” Gingras said.
Last year’s champ, State Treasurer, drew the rail in a deep field in which the horses have combined earnings exceeding $10.5 million, as well as 215 career victories between them from nearly 650 starts.
The Molson Pace will be race 12 on a card that kicks off Friday with a 7:05 p.m. first-race post. Apart from the chance to win a trip around the track behind Foiled Again, commemorative Foiled Again post cards will be given away to fans while supplies last. The Molson team will have games, contests, giveaways and a grand prize draw at its Party on the Patio. The track will have a grand prize draw for a VIP package for eight people to annual London Beer and Barbecue Show June 20-22 at The Western Fair District. The OLG will be giving out slots vouchers to all customers in attendance. Radio station 98.1 FREE FM will also be on site, broadcasting live.
On the betting side, there will be a $7,500 guaranteed pool on the Early Pick-4, a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Late Pick-4 and a $10,000 guaranteed pool on the Super Hi-5. HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) will be running an online promotion to give away a Pepsi North America Cup VIP package and the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) is promoting the Late Pick-4 by asking people to vote for the races they’d like to see make up the sequence.
Gingras said he likes his chances to win a third Molson Pace with Foiled Again despite an ultra-talented field that, apart from State Treasurer, also includes: Bettors Edge, Bandolito, Apprentice Hanover, Dancin Yankee, P H Super Cam and Captive Audience.
“He’s actually gotten better and better and better every year,” the driver said of Foiled Again’s age-defying performance.
Meanwhile, Foiled Again’s fan following has grown substantially.
“I love that,” Gingras said. “At the end of 2012, I think he earned a lot of people’s respect. It was definitely when he went over Gallo Blue Chip’s money record in the Canadian Pacing Derby… It started a little bit there, but it snowballed into last year. At the end of last year all the attention was well, well deserved. I’m very proud of him.”