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Fodera Discusses American History

Published: July 5, 2018 3:08 pm ET

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When a teenaged John Fodera began owning racehorses 57 years ago, he had no idea where it would lead him. But over the ensuing years, his involvement has brought him to the winner’s circle in many of harness racing’s great events, including the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Little Brown Jug and Metro Pace.

He will try again this year to add the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace to the list. Fodera, a Staten Island resident who has attended races at the Meadowlands Racetrack since opening night in 1976, is a partner on three horses in Saturday’s eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. All three – American History, Babes Dig Me and Captain Deo – are trained by Tony Alagna.

Those three horses are among five Alagna hopefuls in the elims, with O’Brien Award-winner Stay Hungry and Odds On Lauderdale joining the group.

The eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace, which is for three-year-old pacers, are part of a Saturday card at the ‘Big M’ that includes the $250,000 finals of the Graduate Series for four-year-old pacers and trotters. Racing will begin at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Meadowlands Pace eliminations have been carded as Races 6 and 8. The Graduate Series finals have been carded as Races 5 and 10.

“I’ve been in the business since I was 16 years old,” the 73-year-old Fodera said. “It goes back a long, long time. The majority of years I was in the claiming business, and I did well. I prided myself on watching all the races. I didn’t even know what the yearling business was all about back then.

“Little by little I got involved (with yearlings) and this is where we are now. It’s been fun in the game. It’s been really good; I can’t complain at all.”

Fodera got started owning horses with a $2,500 claimer named Sir Carlith that he bought with his cousin, Jim McGovern. He developed friendships with a number of owners over the years at the Meadowlands, including Brittany Farms’ George Segal and Myron Bell, who helped get Fodera started with yearlings and stakes races.

Since then, Fodera has been a partner on numerous stakes-winners including Luckyisasluckydoes, Yankee Skyscaper, Boulder Creek, Mr Feelgood, Tell All, Shake It Cerry, and Artspeak. Tell All was Canada’s co-Horse of the Year in 2007 (along with Somebeachsomewhere) as well as a Dan Patch Award winner. Shake It Cerry was Trotter of the Year in 2014, while Boulder Creek and Artspeak were divisional champions.

American History, pictured during his scintillating 1:47 victory at the Meadowlands Racetrack on June 29.

As for Fodera’s Meadowlands Pace horses, American History heads to his elimination off a 1:47 mile in a conditioned race last week at the Meadowlands. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a three-year-old pacer.

For his career, the son of American Ideal-Perfect Touch has won five of 10 races and earned $100,243 for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing, which includes Fodera. The colt finished last season with a third-place finish behind Lost In Time and Stay Hungry in the Governor’s Cup. This year, he was third in his elimination of the North America Cup and 10th in the final.

American History, the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands analyst Dave Little’s final Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is in the second of the two eliminations, with supplemental entries Courtly Choice and Jimmy Freight, plus Fashiononthebeach, Babes Dig Me, Odds On Lauderdale, Grand Teton and Dorsoduro Hanover. American History and driver Yannick Gingras will start from Post 1.

“We were very high on him last year,” Fodera said about American History. “Tony took his time with him, that’s why he only had five starts. We started real late at the end of the Lexington meet and he showed he had a lot of talent. And it’s come to the fore.

“I thought he went a giant mile in the North America Cup elim; parked three deep to the quarter in (:26.1), and leading before getting beat by three-quarters of a length. The week after, he was as flat as could be. He couldn’t beat anybody. He just didn’t go. No excuses. We gave him a week off and he came back and trained great before last Friday. We’re confident he will put in a very respectful mile here. I think it’s going to be some race.”

Babes Dig Me, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Babe, has won two of 15 lifetime races and earned $122,974 for owners Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert Leblanc and In The Gym Partners, which includes Fodera. The colt was third in the Art Rooney Pace and second to Courtly Choice in the consolation division of the North America Cup.

Captain Deo will contest the first Meadowlands Pace elimination, with Ideal Feeling, Hayden Hanover, This Is The Plan, Nutcracker Sweet, Stay Hungry, and Thinkbig Dreambig. Captain Deo, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Worldly Beauty, has won two of 10 career races and $30,307 for owners Alagna Racing, Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, and Captain Deo Partners.

Elimination winners will draw for posts one through six for the final.

“I think the eliminations will be very exciting,” said Fodera, who retired in 2017 as principal at St. Peter’s Boys High School on Staten Island and now serves as the school’s president. “It will be a great night.”

The fields for the Meadowlands Pace eliminations appear below.

Meadowlands Pace Elimination 1 (Race 6)
(Post – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds)
1 – Ideal Feeling – Corey Callahan – Michael Deters – 10-1
2 – Hayden Hanover – Andy Miller – Julie Miller – 3-1
3 – This Is The Plan – Tim Tetrick – Chris Ryder – 6-1
4 – Captain Deo – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna – 10-1
5 – Nutcracker Sweet – David Miller – Jimmy Takter – 7-2
6 – Stay Hungry – Doug McNair – Tony Alagna – 5-2
7 – Thinkbig Dreambig – Jordan Stratton – Jimmy Takter – 9-2

Meadowlands Pace Elimination 2 (Race 8)
(Post – Horse – Driver – Trainer – Morning Line Odds)
1 – American History – Yannick Gingras – Tony Alagna – 3-1
2 – Courtly Choice – David Miller – Blake Macintosh – 7-2
3 – Jimmy Freight – Louis-Philippe Roy – Andrew Harris – 5-2
4 – Fashiononthebeach – Tim Tetrick – Jim Campbell – 15-1
5 – Babes Dig Me – Brett Miller – Tony Alagna – 12-1
6 – Odds On Lauderdale – Scott Zeron – Tony Alagna – 10-1
7 – Grand Teton – Andrew McCarthy – Jimmy Takter -15-1
8 – Dorsoduro Hanover – Matt Kakaley – Ron Burke – 4-1


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