02/24/2016 10:43AM

Harness: Foiled Again is back again for another season

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Derick Giwner
Foiled Again will qualify on Friday morning at the Meadowlands.

Here he comes again --- Foiled Again.

Harness racing’s richest horse with $7.33 million in career earnings, 12-year-old Foiled Again is preparing for another season of going against the top older pacers in North America. He will qualify for the first time this year on Friday, at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with an eye toward competing in the upcoming George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway.

The Levy Series begins March 19. Foiled Again won the series championship in 2009 and 2010.

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“He could not have trained back better,” trainer Ron Burke said. “He really seems good. I cannot wait. He seems sharp. I’m just excited to get it going. Every time he steps on the track it’s history, so it’s cool.”

Foiled Again received Dan Patch Awards for best older male pacer in 2013, 2012, and 2011, when he also was named Pacer of the Year. The only older male pacers to receive three consecutive Dan Patch Awards are Foiled Again and Rambling Willie (1975-77). Foiled Again also received O’Brien Awards for best older male pacer in 2013 and 2011.

Last year, Foiled Again won three of 22 races and earned $436,207. It was his lowest earnings total since 2008, but still ranked ninth among all older pacers in North America despite missing nearly seven weeks following minor throat surgery. He was the only pacer older than age 6 among the top 10 money-winners in 2015. His seasonal earnings also were a record for any 11-year-old pacer in history.

Foiled Again’s wins last season came in the Battle of Lake Erie, a triumph that lifted him to above $7 million in lifetime purses, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, and an elimination for the Breeders Crown. He finished second in the Bobby Quillen Memorial and third in each the William R. Haughton Memorial, TVG Free For All Pacing Championship, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe Stakes.

The gelding is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and JJK Stables.

“He really is amazing,” Burke said. “He’s 12 years old, and maybe he’s not the best aged free-for-aller, but he’s in the top 10 easily. Last year he missed a big part of his normal schedule with throat surgery. I look for him to have a little bit of a bounce back year this year.”

Foiled Again is among a dozen horses from the Burke Stable qualifying on Friday at the Meadowlands. The others are pacers Always At My Place, Bettor’s Edge, Request For Parole, Sassa Hanover, Skippin By, Somewhere In L A, Southinkucandance, Take It Back Terry, and Western Bayama, plus trotters DW’s NY Yank and Luminosity.

Bettor’s Edge, a 7-year-old, has earned $1.79 million in his career, and 7-year-old Take It Back Terry finished second in last year’s Levy final on his way to $471,110 in purses. Stakes-winner Somewhere In L A is a newcomer to the stable. Sassa Hanover, a 4-year-old mare, also has $1 million in lifetime purses.

“I think we’re going to go four or five horses to the Levy,” Burke said. “We’re just trying to decide which ones. Take It Back Terry for sure is going. He couldn’t have had a better year. By the end of the year he was just out of his mind. We’re going to give him a shot this year to race a little more in the bigger races and see if he can compete with the true top ones. Somewhere In L A trained back very well. Hopefully he gives us another quality, upper level horse.

“Skippin By and Request For Parole look like they’re going to be top mares this year. Luminosity and DW’s NY Yank are both a step below the true free-for-all trotters, but they can race in those races and get checks. I’m excited. We’ve got a lot of good horses getting ready to come back. This will be the first wave and then the 3-year-olds will come back and before you know it the 2-year-olds will be ready to go.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com