Defending series champ Real Nice (Jason Bartlett) stole a cheap early number in the final grouping, then held sway against the season-debuting, thrice-millionaire Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras). The mile, off fractions of :27, :56.1 1:24, was a life-best 1:51.1, also the swiftest local mile of the season.
The margin was a half-length, with Blatantly Good (George Brennan) another couple of lengths in arrears.
"I was able to rate the second quarter, and that helped," Bartlett said. "I knew Foiled Again was going to take his shot, and both horses raced super. He was running in last week (finishing second in Open), and was much better tonight."
"I couldn't have asked for anything else from (Foiled Again)," Gingras said. "I was able to get an early seat (third), and had to move sooner than I would have liked, but 51 and one for his first start back was great.
"I probably would have driven him a bit more aggressively had he had a race or two under his belt -- maybe continue on to the lead at the start -- but he's just going to get better as this series goes along."
Real Nice, a 7-year-old Real Artist gelding co-owned by Gary and Beverly Paganelli and Anthony Scussel and trained by Rich Banca, returned $10 as the third choice for his first win in four season’s starts. The Exacta paid $25.80, with the Triple returning $59.50.
Saturday night's opening Levy quintets offered these scenarios:
First division -- Odds-on favorite Strand Hanover (Brian Sears, $3.70) powered by from third-over, getting the pacesetting MacRaider N (George Brennan) by a length in 1:52.4. Dreamland's Art (Yannick Gingras) was a pocket third, with Giddy Up Delight (Mark MacDonald) a from-last fourth.
Strand Hanover, a 6-year-old son of Modern Art trained by Tony Alagna for co-owners Uncirculated Stables and Brenda Selwyn Waxman, won his third consecutive race in as many starts at as many venues (three-for-eight this season). The Exacta paid $6.20, combining the two choices, the Triple returned $26.80 and the Superfecta paid $163.50.
Second division -- Canadian invader Reibercrombie (Briasn Sears, $32.00), who made headlines getting into this series, did his damage from second-over. He picked off the 2-5 fave Code Word (Jason Bartlett) by one-half length in 1:53.1, with One More Laugh (Ray Schnittker) a pocket third.
Reibercrombie, a 5-year-old Cheyenne Rei gelding owned by Steve Calhoun and trained by Andrew Harris, is now three-for-eight in 2012. The Exacta paid $95.50, with the Triple returning $756.00.
Third division -- People's preference Clear Vision (Yannick Gingras, $3.20), away third, moved to the lead after the quarter and was kept to his task. He won by a half-length in 1:52.3. Dancing Yankee (Jason Bartlett) closed well from a three-hole, with Mainland Key N (Eric Goodell) a pocket third.
Clear Vision, a 6-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable Corp. and James Koran, is approaching $950,000 in career earnings. The Exacta paid $15.20, the Triple returned $56.00 and the Superfecta paid $154.00.
Fourth division -- Art Z (Brett Miller, $12.00) encored his win in the final of the Four Leaf Clover Series by picking off the pace setting, even money choice Summer Camp (Jason Bartlett) by a neck in 1:52. Southern Allie (Yannick Gingras) offered a hard challenge to the leader before fading to third.
Art Z, a 4-year-old Artiscape gelding owned by Richard Lombardo and trained by Jordan Rubin, has those pair of wins in eight season’s starts. The Exacta paid $25.20, with the Triple returning $75.00.
Fifth division -- Atochia (Yannick Gingras) and his $1.3 million bankroll were too much for these, circling the cou