03/09/2013 1:51PM

Harness Racing: Foiled Again among top names at Meadowlands qualifiers

Derick Giwner
Foiled Again (5) is lined up behind the gate for the first time in 2013.

The stakes season for older performers will commence in just two weeks at Yonkers Raceway with the Bluechip Matchmaker for mares and George Morton Levy Memorial for the boys. But before the real racing kicks off, the qualifiers must go on. A parade of stars were out in full force on Saturday morning at the Meadowlands to prepare for their first starts of the season.

Top billing went to all-time money-winning pacer Foiled Again. The now 9-year-old son of Dragon Again with over $4.6 million in the bank was a credible third, beaten five lengths by stable-mates and co-millionaires Clear Vision and Atochia. The winning mile time was 1:52 2/5.

Foiled Again sat third for the entire mile while loose-lined as usual by regular driver Yannick Gingras, who always says you never know until the final turn whether the gifted pacer will pick up the bit and bring a huge mile. In the stretch Foiled Again lacked a strong rally, but that was to be expected from a horse that hadn’t been on the track since November 10.

“He raced very well,” said Gingras. “It was his first qualifier and we didn’t want to go much faster than 1:54. Next time I’ll aim for 1:52.”

The Ron Burke trained Foiled Again is scheduled to qualify at the Meadowlands next week before racing in the Levy on March 23.

Perhaps the sharpest mile of the morning was turned in by Camille. The 5-year-old mare brushed to the front past the quarter and never looked back while under light urging from driver Matt Kakaley. They stopped the timer in 1:52 4/5 and bested some nice mares in Bettor B Lucky, Anndrovette and Rocklamation.

“Some of these have been out there (qualified) twice already and we didn’t want to stretch her out too much in her first start,” said Gingras, who is usually listed on all the top Burke horses, about Rocklamation. “(Ron) Burke has eight in the Matchmaker and they are all nice mares. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of them won two or three legs. I think Camille and Rocklamation are the two best. Camille is not the soundest but she is tough as nails. Rocklamation is bigger and stronger.”

Another Burke trainee, Rock N Soul, was very impressive wiring a field that included Handsoffmycookie (2nd), Ginger And Fred (3rd), Darena Hanover (4th) and Krispy Apple (5th). All five mares finished within five lengths of each other in a 1:54 3/5 mile, each pacing home in under 27 seconds.

Perhaps the most disappointing effort of the quintet was turned in by Jugette winner Darena Hanover, who sat the pocket and was clearly out-paced by her contemporaries.

“She’s not much of a sprinter,” explained Gingras of her finishing fourth after sitting second through the opening three quarters of a mile behind slow fractions. “I thought she would have paced home a bit better than she did.”

Other notable winners were Tall Cotton (who impressed Gingras), Rocky Mountain Guy and Hugadragon.  The track was fast for the qualifiers and a light tailwind was aiding the horses through the stretch.

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