The richest horse in the history of harness racing could be drinking from the Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer trophy in three weeks-time.
Foiled Again is rumoured to be coming for the $75,000 race for trainer Ron Burke and U.S. owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, and JJK Stables. Those same connections brought Escape The News to Charlottetown to capture the 2013 Gold Cup and Saucer in 1:50.4 for driver Marc Campbell.
Now 10, Foiled Again boasts 80 lifetime wins, $6.3 million in purse earnings and a mark of 1:48 taken at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania in 2013. The Dragon Again-In A Safe Place gelding has four wins and $300,000 made so far in 2014, with a third-place finish in his last start, pacing in 1:50.3 over the half-mile oval at Northfield Park in Ohio in the $150,000 Battle Of Lake Erie.
His two starts previous to that were a 1:48.1 out-of-the-money finish at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, and a third-place effort in the Ben Franklin final at Pocono Downs, pacing in a blistering 1:47.1.
If this horse comes to P.E.I., it could be lights out for the 2014 Gold Cup and Saucer, but it would not be the first time a good horse was defeated in August at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The highlight race of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week in Truro will go to post Saturday night at the Nova Scotia oval.
The $7,500 Exhibition Cup has a field of nine horses with Duke Did It favoured from Post 4 for driver Todd Trites. The nine-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding will be making his East Coast debut for owner-trainer Richard Sullivan after shipping in from Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. Duke Did It was a winner his last three starts in 1:54 over the five-eighths Rideau oval. If he races well in Truro, seeing him in the Gold Cup and Saucer will likely be in the cards. The payment for the race is due August 4.
Also in the Exhibition Cup field is the Jason Hughes trained duo of Red Rock and Astor from Posts 5 and 9, respectively.
Owned by Foxyhall Racing of Wallace, N.S., Astor was a runner-up in $25,000 Governor’s Plate final to D Gs Camme (who is absent from the Exhibition Cup), while Red Rock was third for owners Bryan, Steven and Don MacRae and Melissa Trainor of Vernon Bridge. Gary Chappell will drive Red Rock while Hughes holds the lines of Astor. Also in the field is Prosecco Brut (Darren Crowe), Junebugs Baby (Myles Heffernan), Likely To Win (Ryan Ellis), Ultimate Luck (Gilles Barrieau), Modern Xhibit (Dale Spence) and Touch Of Lightning (Earl Smith).
A former Gold Cup and Saucer starter has made his way back to P.E.I.
Pacific Oak is now trained by Anthony Stymest for Ontario owners Shirley and Kerry House, who vacation on the Island in the summer. The 11-year-old son of Pacific Rocket boasts 51 lifetime wins, $416,682 in earnings and a mark of 1:51.1 at Woodbine Raceway in Rexdale, Ont. Pacific Oak was a recent winner in 1:55 over the half-mile oval at Clinton Raceway in Ontario.
You will best remember Pacific Oak finishing second to Along Came Polly in his 2009 Gold Cup and Saucer elimination for driver Brad Forward, then getting caught up in a speed duel with that horse in the final as part of a Ken Oliver-trained duo. The other Oliver horse, All The Weapons, won that Gold Cup and Saucer race and the classy veteran now calls P.E.I. home for trainer Philip Kelly, who cares for the gelding for owner Allan McGuigan.
The P.E.I. trotting series gets underway next Wednesday at the Summerside Raceway and a pair of Ontario trotters will be among the entries.
Trainer Tom Riley will take a few horses to P.E.I. for the next few weeks including Who Took That and Mopey Corey. Mopey Corey is named after P.E.I. driver Corey MacPherson, who worked with the horse while training down as a two-year-old for trainer Anthony MacDonald. MacPherson will be listed to drive the namesake in the series in what would be a fitting touch.
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in
The Guardian each Friday. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.