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Speedy Pacer Coming Into Focus

Published: September 6, 2013 8:28 am ET

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“It’s hard to win. Last year, (1):47.3 with a 26-second final quarter wins the Canadian Pacing Derby. This year, it’s third. The horses have just gotten better.”

Clear Vision might be just now catching the eyes of harness racing fans after his dramatic stretch duel with A Rocknroll Dance in last weekend’s Canadian Pacing Derby, but trainer Ron Burke said the seven-year-old gelding’s recent good form is not a surprise to him.

Although he has only two wins in 19 starts, Clear Vision has four second-place finishes in his last five races. He missed by a nose against A Rocknroll Dance in the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk, timed in a track- and Canadian-record-equaling 1:47.2, one week after losing by a neck to A Rocknroll Dance in their CPD elimination.

On Aug. 17, Clear Vision was second by a half-length to Bolt The Duer in the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial at Saratoga in a world-record-equaling 1:49 mile.

Clear Vision’s next start is Monday in the second of two eliminations for the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington. Clear Vision, who won last year’s Bettor’s Delight and was second in the Molson Pace, was sidelined in July 2012 because of a suspensory injury and didn’t return to the races until March.

“People think he just got good, but he was good last year just before we had to quit with him," said Burke. "It just took longer than we thought it would to get him back rolling this year.”

Clear Vision has won 21 of 131 career races and earned $1.54 million, including $390,603 this season. The son of Western Hanover-Artistic Vision is a half-brother to 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven. He will be driven in the Quillen elim by Brett Miller, who has been behind the horse in his last three starts. Clear Vision will start from post two in the six-horse field and is the 8-5 morning line favourite.

“Brett has done a wonderful job with him,” Burke said. “It’s funny, the only driver who doesn’t get along with him is Yannick (Gingras), and Yannick will admit to it. Yannick can’t understand it. He’s tried to do it different ways with him and he just doesn’t seem to fire with Yannick.”

Gingras will drive Burke’s Escape The News in the second Quillen elim, two races after driving 7-5 favorite Foiled Again in the first elim. Foiled Again, the richest pacer in harness racing history with $5.29 million in career earnings, was third in the Canadian Pacing Derby.

Foiled Again, who this year at age nine has won five of 20 and hit the board a total of 15 times, captured the Quillen in 2010 and 2011. He was the Pacer of the Year in 2011 and voted the best older male pacer in 2012.

“He’s been really good,” Burke said. “In his last start he went in 1:47.3, which is the fastest he’s ever paced in his life. 'Foiled' has been racing as good or better than he ever has, there are just better horses right now. It’s just that the four-year-olds, which is what I said at the beginning of the year, have been so good."

Burke’s Atochia also is in the first Quillen elimination, along with Sapphire City, McErlean and Dynamic Youth. In the second elim, Clear Vision and Escape The News are joined by Heston Blue Chip, Malak Uswaad N, Mel Mara and Michaels Power.

The top four finishers from each elimination advance to the $223,500 final on Sept. 16.

“They’re short fields, but they’re very equal fields,” Burke said. “I don’t think it looks to be a problem for Clear Vision or Foiled; they both should easily make the finals I think. Hopefully, we can get in all four.”


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.

(Photo courtesy New Image Media)


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