Foiled Again is poised to become the richest Standardbred racehorse of all time.
He hasn’t garnered anywhere near the same amount of attention as Horse of the Year Chapter Seven or Hambletonian victor Market Share, but Foiled Again, last year’s Pacer of the Year and this year’s repeat winner as Older Male Pacer of the Year, deserves just as much print as his fellow champions.
The now 9-year-old son of Dragon Again and In A Safer Place paced 24 miles with seven triumphs, eight seconds and five placings. The gelding earned $1,207,429 with his picture being taken in $291,000 Molson Pace on June 25, the $794,870 Canadian Pacing Derby on September 1, and the $200,000 Indiana Pacing Derby on November 11.
Foiled Again was second in the $455,000 Levy Final on April 28, the $182,000 Bettor’s Delight on June 10, the $111,000 Battle of Lake Erie on July 21, and the $216,500 Bobby Quillen Memorial on September 17. He also came home third in $180,000 Graduate Final on May 12, the $155,000 Allerage Pace on October 7 and the $500,000 Breeders Crown on September 27. He also became the oldest pacer in the history of the sport to have a million dollar season and is now the richest North American pacer of all time with $4,625,984 in the bank.
“Foiled Again is a total freak,” Ron Burke, the gelding’s conditioner, told The Cleveland Plain Dealer on July 19. “He’s getting older, but just gets better with age. He takes basically any kind of trip that’s needed and seems to love it.”
Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and JJK Stables, Foiled Again will be returning to the races this year at age nine.
“It might sound like a retarded aspiration, but I want to win 1,000 races this year and $20 million in purses,” Burke, a Canonsburg, PA resident and last year’s top North American conditioner with 906 wins and $19,695,486 in purse money, told Harnesslink.com on February 12. “I’ve got the best owners and drivers to call on to achieve that.
“I’d also love to win the Adios and the Little Brown Jug,” he continued. “And if that’s not enough, I also want Foiled Again to become the richest racehorse of all-time.”
The gelding only needs to surpass the retired Australian pacer Blake’s A Fake, who has $4,708,770 in earnings, to reach Burke’s goal.
Like Foiled Again, Market Share may not have received quite the amount of admiration his 2012 campaign deserved, but his accomplishments also need to be acknowledged.
The son of Revenue S and Classical Flirt, who is owned by Richard Gutnick of Blue Bell, PA, TLP Stable and William Augustine, became only the fourth trotter in the history of the sport-joining Muscle Hill, Donato Hanover and Deweycheatumnhowe-to earn $2 million in a season. He is the only member of this group not to be elected as Horse of Year.
Market Share captured 10 of 20 races, finished off the board only twice and handed Linda Toscano her first Hambletonian trophy, which is the only occasion a female trainer has ever captured this prestigious event. He was second in the Horse of the Year balloting behind only his stable mate.
The colt started off his year undefeated after going five for five in his freshman season of racing and in his first race of 2012 he did win his Dexter Cup elimination, but was seventh in the Final after losing a shoe.
He was then third in the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final on June 2, a $343,980 division of the Goodtimes on June 16 and the $445,594 Yonkers Trot on July 7. Market Share captured his $70,000 Hambletonian Elimination on July 28 and then went on to annex the $1.5 million Final over Guccio the following week.
After his Hambletonian victory, Market Share never was worse than third. He won the $350,000 Zweig Trot on August 26, the $1,030,000 million Canadian Trotting Derby on September 15, the $235,000 American-National on November 10 and the $108,000 Galt Trot on November 16.
The colt was second in the $500,000 Colonial Final on August 19 and his $25,000 Breeders Crown Elimination on October 20. He was third in the $555,000 Breeders Crown Final on October 27.
Gutnick does plan to race Market Share in 2013 at age four.
“Any other year he accomplished enough to be a Horse of the Year,” he said. “But I will enjoy watching him race this year and without Chapter Seven maybe this will be his year.”
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it certainly did for Gutnick and Toscano this year. How often do the same owner and trainer have the horses that run one-two in the Horse of the Year balloting?
“I have to keep pinching myself,” Gutnick says. “And I’m just going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.”
Honored as the sport’s 2012 Horse of the Year and Older Male Trotting Horse, Chapter Seven, in his third year of racing, finally enjoyed a season where he had his health. As a 2-year-old he had an entrapped epiglottis that required two surgeries and at three, he battled a severe bout of pneumonia. But he had always shown flashes of brilliance.
This year Chapter Seven faced the starter 10 times with eight victories, two second place finishes, and $1,023,025 in purses. The stallion, who will now stand at Bluechip Farms and is co-owned by Southwind Farms and Jerry Silva, began 2012 by establishing a new world record of 1:50.4 in the $40,000 Titan Cup Prep on June 23. He matched that time with another win in the $201,700 Titan Cup Final on June 29, becoming the first horse in the history of the sport to record back-to-back world record performances in his first two seasonal engagements.
“In the Titan Cup prep I had Timmy (Tetrick, his driver) race him from the back,” Toscano explained. “It was like, don’t hurt this horse. Rome wasn’t built in a day and this isn’t the big one now. We are trying to get him to the Maple Leaf Trot and those kinds of races, but he kind of laid up on the outside and he literally destroyed great horses. I said, ‘Holy Jiminy Cricket. He’s better than I thought he was. I knew he was good and nobody wanted to prove it to the world more than I did, because I know what he had gone through as a 3-year-old so nobody got to see the real Chapter Seven until then. That’s when everyone stood up and took notice. The next thing you wanted to see was to have him show up every week and he did. He really did. He’s just a great horse.”
On July 21, Chapter Seven was just nosed out by Mister Herbie in 1:50.4 in the $742,500 Maple Leaf Trot, but defeated that rival in the $250,000 Nat Ray Invitational on August 4 in a world record 1:50.1, tying Donato Hanover, Giant Diablo, Muscle Hill and Lucky Jim for the fastest trotting mile of all time.
On August 19 he won the $150,000 Maxie Lee by six lengths in a stakes record 1:52.1 before losing the $200,000 Credit Winner by a nose on September 7.
Chapter Seven captured a $7,500 Open on September 30, the $131,000 Allerage Pace on October 7, the $600,000 Breeders Crown on October 27 and the $180,000 American-National on November 10.
In the Allerage, his connections were hoping the stallion would have the ideal weather scenario over The Red Mile’s famed clay oval and he would become the first trotter to break the 1:50 barrier, but Mother Nature did not cooperate, instead doling out heavy winds with very cool temperatures.
The Breeders Crown, however, was where Chapter Seven laid his claim to being one of the greatest trotters of all-time. After a horrific trip on the outside, he rolled by Europe’s best trotter Commander Crowe in mid-stretch and drew off easily.
“The week before the Breeders Crown I remember jogging on the racetrack with somebody and I looked over and said, ‘All I need to do is keep this horse good for one more week as he’s never been better’ and he proved me right on Breeders Crown night,” Toscano said. “It was absolutely shocking. I think somebody said to me in the winners’ circle that I was more emotional than (at) the Hambletonian, but I said horses just don’t do what he has done. Also, when you spend that much time with a horse, they get into your heart. I jogged him almost exclusively for his whole career and I can’t say enough good things about his groom Diane. A lot of work went into that horse. She nursed him through everything and nebulized him every day. There were times I didn’t want him out in the field running around and she would spend hours walking him and just doing the right thing by him.
“Timmy had a special bond with him so he took care of him and brought back a horse every time,” she continued. “In my opinion, the two races in which he got beat this year were because Timmy was trying too hard not to hurt the horse. It’s nice when all the work that every single part of my operation does comes together. When I see those kinds of things happen it’s very rewarding to me. I feel like I was given the opportunity to train a great horse and all I wanted to do was prepare him properly. He did it: he made me look good.”
Gutnick thought long and hard before retiring his star, but it basically came down to not wanting to race Chapter Seven against Market Share next year.
“He is such a phenomenal horse with a phenomenal heart,” he said. “Linda has done a phenomenal job with him and honestly I would have liked to see him race next year, but there aren’t enough races for older horses and having to race him against Market Share was the last straw.
“I still can’t believe I am lucky enough to have these two horses when I’m only a small owner,” Gutnick continued. “Who could ever have imagined this would happen?”