06/19/2014 8:39PM

Pocono: Gingras pumped for Saturday stakes elims

Derick Giwner
Yannick Gingras will drive the top rated Hambletonian colt Father Patrick in the Earl Beal Memorial eliminations.

Yannick Gingras is looking forward to Saturday night. That’s because one of the sport’s leading drivers has seven quality horses to drive as Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs rolls out elimination week for its Super Stakes Saturday card slated a week later on June 28.

Gingras’ rise to the top of the driving ladder couldn’t have happened without the $6 million-winning Foiled Again being a regular mount. Foiled Again returns to Pocono on Saturday night and the driver appears to be pleased with his situation.

“He’s been great,” said Gingras. “That really wasn’t his kind of trip at Mohawk last week.”

Foiled Again raced out of the pocket in the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup last Saturday night and finished second, but Gingras is most definitely correct when it comes to the type of races Foiled Again does best with.

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The good news for Foiled Again fans is the return to Pennsylvania may be just what the doctor ordered. “He won two $500,000 races there last year,” said Gingras, well aware of the Breeders Crown victory in the fall and the Ben Franklin taken during the summer. On Saturday, Foiled Again will be sandwiched with post five between two of last year’s exceptional three-year-olds—Captaintreacherous (post four) and Sunshine Beach (post six)—in the $25,000 first elimination for the $500,000 Ben Franklin, race 10 on the 16-race program.

A lifetime winner of 80 races, the 10-year-old Foiled Again has not won a race in two months.

While Gingras is optimistic Foiled Again will return to form, he’s ultra-confident in the three-year-old trotting sensation Father Patrick. While the driver was in Canada last Saturday, Father Patrick captured a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes division at Pocono for his third straight win as a sophomore and his 13th win in 14 lifetime starts. The margin was just a neck with Matt Kakaley in the bike.

“I told Matt before the race not to burn him up. I texted him after the race and he said the horse was vicious,” said Gingras. “I’ve been trying to baby him until this point. He could have gone in (1):51 and change, but there will be time for that later in the year.”

Gingras and Father Patrick are likely 1-9 favorites in the second of two $25,000 eliminations for the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, carded as race five.

Gingras still wishes the situation had been different for Western Vintage two weeks ago. The three-year-old by Western Ideal was caught coming first over after a very slow opening half and finished fourth failing to qualify for the $1 million North America Cup final.

“It’s a shame,” said Gingras, “The way the fractions set up in the final, that would have been a perfect race for him to close into.”

“I’m happy to have him,” said Gingras of Western Vintage, who starts from post six in the second of three $25,000 eliminations for the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial, race nine on the program.

Western Vintage will meet a solid field that includes Art Rooney winner All Bets Off (post two), the improving Cammikey (post one), a winner in six of seven starts this year, and Doo Wop Hanover (post seven), the colt that defeated Western Vintage in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship on May 31 at the Meadowlands.

Gingras guided Somestarsomewhere for trainer Ron Burke to victory in last year’s Breeders Crown eliminations and will be in the bike once again from post seven in his return to Pocono. The two go in the third Hempt elimination and Gingras is hoping that the colt can turn things around.

“He’s got a lot of talent but he hasn’t put it together as yet this year,” said Gingras.

Somestarsomewhere will meet North America Cup elimination winner McWicked (post four).

Three $20,000 eliminations were necessary for the James Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies and Gingras appears delighted to be able to drive three from the Ron Burke stable.

“I made a mistake getting off her,” said Gingras of Sayitall BB, a Tell All-sired filly that finished second in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final. “I know Ron likes her, they supplemented her to the race.”

Strong feelings aside, Sayitall BB from post seven is going to have to bring her A-game to make the final in a fourth race field that includes stakes winners Someislandsomwhere (post two), Gallie Bythe Beach (post five) and Weeper (post six) to her inside. Then there is Act Now, the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion to her right in post eight.

Gingras likes Allstar Rating, who landed the pole in the second Lynch division.

“I was a little disappointed in her the first few starts but she’s been much better the last two weeks,” said Gingras, “I love that mare, she won a Breeders Crown (1:50 1/5 at Pocono) elimination last year but she got used up in the final.”

Atsallrite Hanover is a very fast filly, according to Gingras. “She’s really fast but she had trouble getting around the turns at the Meadowlands. Ron (Burke) trained her at Pocono and said she was better,” Gingras said, hoping that the three turns won’t keep him out of the hunt. Atsallrite Hanover starts from post five in the third Lynch stanza inside Lismore champion Tyra (post six) and Fan Hanover champion Uffizi Hanover (post seven).

First post on the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Saturday program is 6:30 p.m.