08/21/2014 11:35PM

Harness: Gingras guides trio of perfect rookies this weekend

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Chris Gooden
Yankee Bounty is undefeated in five career starts.

Even for driver Yannick Gingras, who steers some of the best horses in the nation for top barns like Ron Burke and Jimmy Takter, driving a trio of undefeated 2-year-olds on the same weekend is something of an oddity. On top of that, the leading money-winning pilot in North America will sit behind the incomparable Foiled Again and perhaps the top rookie trotting filly in training, Mission Brief.

The weekend of perfection commences with Yankee Bounty in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action at Harrah’s Philadelphia, race five on the Friday afternoon card. Sporting a flawless record in five career starts, the gelded son of Yankee Cruiser made his debut for the Burke barn on August 8 at The Meadows and promptly set a new lifetime mark and tied the national season’s record with a 1:50 4/5 mile.

“He was very powerful,” said Gingras. “He is not the tallest, but he has power and a long gait.”

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While fellow top rookies like Artspeak battle for the chance at competing in the rich Metro stakes at Mohawk, Yankee Bounty is aiming for the PA Sire Stakes finals for 2-year-old pacers at Mohegan Sun Pocono on September 6. A recent purchase from Frank Chick, who retains partial ownership, Yankee Bounty is not staked for most of the top races.

Gingras will head north to Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night to steer a pair of standout 2-year-old pacing fillies in the She’s A Great Lady stakes. He will handle another Burke trainee in Band Of Angels in one division as well as JK Shesalady in the second of three C$35,000 eliminations.

“I honestly think I’m driving the two best fillies in the country,” said Gingras, who admitted he got lucky that they didn’t draw into the same division this week. “It will be a very tough decision next week.”

A New York-bred, Band Of Angels will seek to move her unbeaten streak to six in the tenth race on the card. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again has yet to lose against her peers in New York and will attempt to keep the good times rolling against open company.

JK Shesalady has been the talk of the town after her eye-catching rally off bad cover in the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk last week. From the barn of Nancy Johansson, the Art Major-Presidential Lady product uncorked a huge turn of speed that night to improve her record to 4-for-4 lifetime.

“She was freaking awesome,” said Gingras about the filly’s last start. “You just don’t see any horse make up that kind of ground on the turn.”

Jk Shesalady will start from post five in the ninth race on the Mohawk card. Band Of Angels gets away from post six.

Of course the big cheese on the Mohawk Saturday card is Sweet Lou. Riding a nine-race win streak against the best pacers in the world, the 5-year-old faces five foes in an elimination of the Canadian Pacing Derby including the Gingras-driven Foiled Again.

Foiled Again hasn’t won a race in months, but Gingras sees some light at the end of the tunnel with the all-time money winner in North America.

“At the Meadowlands (August 2), I thought he was good and was pacing strong at the wire,” said Gingras about the last time he drove the 10-year-old. “I think in the coming weeks you’ll see he’s the same Foiled Again we are used to.”

Foiled Again starts from post six while Sweet Lou gets away from the two-hole in the first of two Pacing Derby eliminations, scheduled as races three and eight on the card.

Although the purse will only be $10,000, Gingras wraps up his weekend behind the talented Mission Brief in the Kindergarten series at Tioga Downs. The fastest freshman trotter in the land will try to improve her record to five-for-six lifetime on Sunday afternoon.

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