Leonidas A Looks For Another Potomac Upset

Leonidas A winning at Yonkers Raceway
Published: November 8, 2022 05:06 pm EST

It’s true that Leonidas A will be one of the longshots in Thursday night's $125,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway.

It’s true that he hasn’t won a race this year with a purse of more than $50,000. And it’s true that he hasn’t always had good fortune when it comes to drawing post positions. Do we need to jog anyone’s memory of that fact he scored from post eight in the MGM Aria, post six in the Gerrity, post seven in the Battle of Lake Erie or post eight in last year’s Sam McKee?

No, Leonidas A, who arrived in the U.S. from Australia two years ago, hasn’t always had the best of luck or trips.

But “if this is my bad luck,” said owner/trainer Steven Finkelstein, “I’ll take it!”

And who wouldn’t want a horse like Leonidas A? The game and consistent seven-year-old son of Mach Three will return to Rosecroft and the site of his signature victory – a come-from-behind win in the 2020 Potomac Pace. And like Thursday night, he was a longshot the evening he won at odds of 15-1.

For Finkelstein and so many others who like following the careers of horses over several years, Leonidas A has been a constant. He comes into the Potomac with wins in 10 of 20 starts this year (all wins at Yonkers) and placing in another six. In 2021, he won nine of 20 starts and in 2020, five of nine and only once did he finish worse than third.

So, in the past three years, Leonidas A has won 24 of 49 starts in the U.S. Of those 49 starts, he has hit the board 36 times. The gelding has earned more than $630,000 the past two years.

And the best part? “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Finkelstein.

“He’s been so much fun for me,” he added. “He stays consistent, tough. Every race he gives his best.”

Finkelstein trains and warms up Leonidas A, “and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”

Racing under Jesmeral Stable, Finkelstein has also seen Leonidas A become more versatile. Once a one-run closer – as he did when winning the Potomac in 2020 – Leonidas A has proven more than capable winning on the front end this year.

“When you race at Yonkers, you need to come from the front,” said Finkelstein. “But this race looks like it will have a lot of speed.”

The fact is, with Breeders Crown second-place finisher Tattoo Artist and third-place finisher Allywag Hanover in the race, Leonidas A’s regular driver Austin Siegelman may wind up trying to use the come-from-behind tactics used when winning at Rosecroft in 2020. The gelding finished sixth last year.

No matter what happens, it will be OK by Finkelstein.

“He’s coming into the race as good as he could,” he said. “We would have liked to have seen him draw better. In finals, he always seems to draw six or seven or eight. But I’ll take it every day. It’s been a blast.”

The complete field for the Potomac Pace is listed below in post position order.

$125,000 Potomac Pace
Post - Horse - Driver - Odds
1. Workin Ona Mystery - David Miller - 6-1
2. Sonny Weaver N - Tim Tetrick - 20-1
3. Lous Pearlman - Simon Allard - 10-1
4. Allywag Hanover - Todd McCarthy - 8-5
5. Tattoo Artist - Dexter Dunn - 2-1
6. Leonidas A - Austin Siegelman - 8-1
7. This Is The Plan - Yannick Gingras - 8-1

(Rosecroft Raceway)