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Foiled Again Triples In 'Battle'

Published: June 12, 2015 11:19 pm ET

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Foiled Again became the first three-time winner of Northfield Park's $175,000 Battle of Lake Erie on Friday night and surpassed the $7 million career earnings mark with the victory.

Even-money Luck Be Withyou (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) cleared Cammikey (Brian Zendt) rounding the first turn and led the field through early fractions of :26 and :53.4 while Foiled Again advanced first over and stablemate Clear Vision (Chris Page) followed his cover.

As the field approached the 1:21.3 third quarter mark, Luck Be Withyou broke stride taking himself out of contention and handing the lead to Foiled Again.

Harness racing's richest pacer then dug in down the stretch to hold off the wide-rallying Clear Vision by a neck and Cammikey, who closed along the pylons for third-place less than a length behind. Foiled Again stopped the clock in 1:50.3 for his 84th career win.

He returned $13.00 to win as the 5-1 third choice on the toteboard.

"He's just the toughest horse, I think, ever in the history of harness racing," said Matt Kakaley, who has driven Foiled Again in all three of his Battle of Lake Erie wins for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Jjk Stables.

This was the record seventh year in a row that Foiled Again competed in the Battle of Lake Erie. He previously won the stakes event in 2009 and 2011 while his sire, Dragon Again, was also a winner of the 2000 edition.

"When I won with him in '09 it seems like forever ago," laughed Kakaley, who was 21 years old at the time with his driving career starting to pick up.

"He's definitely not [done yet]," said Kakaley of the 11-year-old gelding. "He's going to dig in. And going into the last turn, I figured if I was close he would just out-grit them because he is the toughest horse, I think."

Kakaley noted that Luck Be Withyou's break in stride worked out to his advantage, but he was confident in his mount.

"Honestly, I don't think it was going to matter," he said. "I think he was just going to out-grit him to the wire anyway. It obviously helped, but I think [I would have had him measured] because he's just so tough."

The veteran pacer was making his return to racing after a seven-week layoff in which he underwent minor throat surgery for an entrapped epiglottis.

"It's so special to us," said trainer Ron Burke of the victory for Foiled Again. "He's the horse that has built our barn."

Rejecting talk of retirement a month ago, Burke said, "he had a minor problem and we took care of it...the horse came back as good as ever. I tell everybody 14 is when we'll retire him."

Defending champion Clear Vision's second-place finish in this year's Battle of Lake Erie also made the evening a special one for his connections.

"It was awesome too, Jim Koran's horse was second that we train," noted Burke. "His wife just passed away so it was tough. I'm half cheering for one and the other. It was awesome, it couldn't have worked out any better."

Foiled Again's next stakes event will be the Ben Franklin at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Friday's harness racing card also included five $40,000 second leg divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for three-year-old fillies.

The Scott Cox-trained Lisa Jane was the fastest winner on the trot with a 1:55.4 wire-to-wire effort in rein to Ryan Stahl. The other divisions were won by Dark Roast (1:57.3, Kurt Sugg) and Like Old Times (1:57, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.).

Al Tomlinson's Karlee Sue journeyed first over to win the quickest pacing division in 1:54.2 with David Miller aboard while Crosswinds Cupcake (1:55, Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) won the other split.

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