07/03/2013 10:48PM

Meadowlands: Sweet Lou, Foiled Again headline strong fields in Haughton eliminations

Derick Giwner
Sweet Lou could be trainer Ron Burke’s (pictured) best chance at winning a Haughton elimination on Saturday.

Over the last week Foiled Again has gotten the most press. After winning the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs this past Saturday to eclipse the $5 million plateau in lifetime earnings, there is plenty of cause for celebration. But as we’ve seen in this 24-hour cycle, news gets old rather quickly. Foiled Again returns this Saturday night to face eight others in one of two $50,000 eliminations for the William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands. Despite drawing post nine, he’s been rated a 2-1 morning line choice in the sixth race as a coupled entry with Hugadragon.

Those looking to wager on the Haughton, one of 13 races on the Meadowlands program, should beware of low morning lines and should be really cautious about $5 million-winning pacers. You see, for all Foiled Again has accomplished during his brilliant and seemingly endless career, he’s been a mere mortal at the Meadowlands.

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These statistics just don’t lie. Away from East Rutherford, Foiled Again has won 69 of 151 races good for an awesome winning clip of 45 percent. Over the Meadowlands course, the nine-year-old is a collective 1-for-30 in reaching the winner’s circle. His lone triumph was a victory in the 2011 Graduate Series.

Few can argue he’s having a stellar season off record setting performances at Pocono, but his lone trip at the Meadowlands this year, a leg of the TVG FFA series, found Foiled Again a disappointing sixth, one of only two off-the-board finishes for the Ron Burke-trained gelding.

Burke was effusive in his praise for Foiled Again following last week’s race. “He’s amazing, what can I say,” Burke said.

The likelihood on Saturday is that the Burke stable, which entered four in the Haughton, may in fact have a better chance with Sweet Lou and Fred And Ginger, both entered in the eighth race, than with the richest pacer of all time.

“I think Sweet Lou will do better over the big track,” said Burke, without reading the program. Sweet Lou, unlike his stablemate, has been impressive and consistent over the Meadowlands surface this year. A 1:49 victory in the Meadowlands Maturity on May 18 was followed with a huge effort in the TVG FFA event on June 1. In that mile Fred And Ginger headed Sweet Lou in a 1:47 3/5 effort.

Conceivably, Sweet Lou took last week off with driver Yannick Gingras electing to leisurely stroll out away from the gate from the pole position and willingly sit third behind Heston Blue Chip and Bolt The Duer. With his fate sealed, Sweet Lou finished an even third in the world-record 1:47 4/5 mile.

Fred And Ginger may appreciate the return to the Meadowlands, where he’s captured two legs of the TVG FFA series. He landed post three and looks to break a three-race losing streak.

While it’s easy to say there are horses for courses, in this year’s group of aged pacers, there are trips for horses that make all of the difference. Take Bolt The Duer, the four-year-old by Ponder fresh off a world record effort. He’ll meet Sweet Lou and Roll With Joe winner Pet Rock in this division for driver Mark MacDonald. Very few can sprint with Bolt The Duer when he gets a pocket trip as he did last week and in the $200,000 Dan Patch at Hoosier Park on May 25. If he doesn’t, as was the case two weeks ago in the Franklin eliminations at Pocono, he’s capable of falling out and not qualifying for the final.

Last year’s three-year-old champion, by virtue of 14 wins in 18 starts was Heston Blue Chip. There have been fewer wins thus far this year (1 of them to be exact), but trainer Linda Toscano felt her horse was moving in the right direction following last week’s second place effort in Bolt The Duer’s world record.

“It’s so tough to come right out of the box and have to go these miles,” she said. “He’s coming around.”

Tim Tetrick will guide Heston Blue Chip in the sixth race against Foiled Again as well as Meadowlands master Golden Receiver (post 1) and Levy winner Razzle Dazzle (post 7).

This division is loaded with talent including a rejuvenated Warrawee Needy (post 2) and last year’s Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance (post 3). Warrawee Needy paced what looks like a :52 final half coming overland to win three weeks ago in 1:48 3/5 at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance picks up Ron Pierce and hopes to hit the board for the first time in 2013 in just his fifth start.

Only the top five from each division will return for the final slated for July 13.