05/18/2016 12:21PM

Bergman: Gingras not ready to write off Foiled Again

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Derick Giwner
Yannick Gingras and Foiled Again have teamed up for more than 60 wins.

When one door closes another opens.

On the surface that might be the thought for driver Yannick Gingras after he guided Rockin Ron to victory last Sunday in the Confederation Cup. It would appear after seven starts this season and no victories that Foiled Again’s career may be reaching its conclusion. On the other hand, Rockin Ron’s 1:50 1/5 victory over Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Flamboro Downs race may have given rise to a new star for both trainer Ron Burke and his new driver.

Gingras, for one, was not exactly ready to close the door on the all-time leader in earnings, or for that matter, draw comparisons between Foiled Again, a horse he first drove back in 2008 when he was a 4-year-old, and the current 4-year-old Rockin Ron.

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“I thought his last two races were better,” said Gingras of Foiled Again, who will make his record eighth appearance in Saturday’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park. “He’s got a little extra weight on him this year but it’s coming off. I think you have to give him another three or four starts to see where he’s at.”

There have been many people along the way who have suggested that Father Time had caught up to the now 12-year-old son of Dragon Again. Gingras is not among them.

After finishing third at Harrah’s Philadelphia this past Sunday to Rockeyed Optimist, the driver felt Foiled Again was heading in the right direction. At the same time, he thought the horse would need a race with more even fractions to excel.

“I think if you get a race with even fractions say, 27, 27, 27, 27, he’ll be very good. The races with 26, 29 and 26, he’s not as good. He just won’t sprint,” said Gingras.

The change in scenery to Cleveland’s Northfield Park could be positive for the defending Battle of Lake Erie champion in quest of his fourth victory in the prestigious aged event that became a stakes races in 2015 after a long era as an invitational.

Gingras will not follow Foiled Again out to Ohio this week since he’s got a full plate of activity at The Meadowlands. Two horses that could have seen action in New Jersey in the Graduate, the 4-year-olds Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggle It Jiggleit, have instead entered at Northfield to renew their rivalry.

Foiled Again will come between those two having drawn post four. Wiggle It Jiggleit landed the pole position and Freaky Feet Pete starts from post five in the field.

Northfield’s gain will leave Rockin Ron in a much better position as he makes his Meadowlands debut.

“Ron (trainer Burke) built him up to me before the race. Dave Palone who had driven him also told me that I would love the horse. He’s a good looking horse that doesn’t wear any boots,” said Gingras of Rockin Ron.

Also bred in Indiana, Rockin Ron is a son of Real Desire that has won all 11 of his starts since joining the Burke stable. The Graduate at the Meadowlands on Saturday will likely provide him the opportunity to continue that streak and perhaps get a sub 1:50 race record.

“He went a huge mile on Sunday,” said Gingras of Rockin Ron.

As far as beating Wiggle It Jiggleit in the process, Gingras recognized the disadvantage his rival had starting from post nine in the second tier but didn’t think his rival had that bad a trip. “He got good cover and came wide down the backstretch,” said Gingras of Wiggle It Jiggleit’s trip.

After a relatively slow start to the season, Gingras has caught fire over the last month including capturing the lucrative Pennsylvania Classic with Check Six at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

“I loved this horse last year,” said Gingras. “He’s come back very strong this year and I think he may benefit from not being over-raced as a 2-year-old.”

Check Six got hurt as a 2-year-old but came back well late in the season. Gingras was most impressed with the horse in the Governor’s Cup trials but opted off of him for the final when he landed post 10.

Now as a 3-year-old, Check Six will go next in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Sunday at Pocono. The driver however remains in limbo as to whether he’ll remain with Check Six for each start.

“That’s something that Ronnie and I will decide,” said Gingras.

As far as 2-year-old trotting colt champion Southwind Frank, scheduled to make his first sophomore start in New Jersey Sire Stakes action on Friday at The Meadowlands, Gingras sung a different tune.

“I’m going to stay with him every start,” said Gingras. “That’s for sure.”

Southwind Frank was scratched from his first Meadowlands qualifier but that didn’t pose a problem. “We had planned to give him an extra week,” said Gingras. “He was a little excited in the first qualifier but much better the second time.”

A winner in 11 of his 12 starts last year, Southwind Frank debuts on Friday after a 1:54 qualifier.

“I went down to the farm to train him this morning (Tuesday),” said Gingras. “He was very sharp.”

For the driver, the trail begins in earnest for his first Hambletonian victory.

Last year’s Hambo champ, Pinkman, will make his second start of the year in a division of the Graduate on Saturday night with Gingras in the bike.

“I was very happy with his first start,” said Gingras. “We kind of babied him in the qualifiers and needed to give him some work. He got tested some and was a little tired at the end.”

Gingras suggested that trainer Jimmy Takter had done some work on Pinkman after the race to help correct the issue of him bearing out in the stretch.

Pinkman drew post three in a $50,000 Graduate division and faces two new rivals each undefeated in nine starts as 4-year-olds. Musical Rhythm has been a dominant force for trainer Benoit Baillargeon on the WEG circuit this year and Maestro Blue Chip has been equally impressive, most recently sweeping the SOA Bonus Trotting series at Yonkers for trainer Joanne Looney-King.

It is no surprise that with more at stake Yannick Gingras appears well situated to play a major role in the action.

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