Mach It So defeated three-time Bobby Quillen Memorial Pace champion Foiled Again in the final strides to win the ninth edition of the $150,000 Invitational on Monday evening at Harrington Raceway.
With the inside post advantage, 8-5 second choice Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) kept Bandolito (Daryl Bier) parked out through opening fractions of :26.2 and :54.2. Meanwhile, even-money favourite Shamballa (Rick Zeron) followed in the pocket spot with 7-1 shot Doctor Butch (David Miller) also parked outside second over.
At the mid-way mark, driver Tim Tetrick moved Mach It So into the outer flow third over. Foiled Again continued to lead the field to three-quarters in 1:23.3 with Doctor Butch sweeping three-wide around the fading Bandolito and Mach It So following that move.
Turning for home, Foiled Again, Doctor Butch and Mach It So were three-across the track. Foiled Again was able to keep Doctor Butch at bay down the lane, but Mach It So surged by in deep stretch to score the neck victory in 1:51.1. Shamballa closed inside for third-place in his first start on a half-mile track.
Mach It So paid $18.60 to win as the 8-1 fourth choice.
“I really liked my horse as long as there was enough speed up front,” said Tetrick after the race. “I really thought I had a good shot at winning. I drew a good spot [post three] and didn’t have to use him much early and they had enough speed up front. I just needed him to have a good kick and today he did.
“My horse felt really good, he was very sharp and spry in the post parade there. He had his ears up and was really paying attention like he did in the Haughton race. He got a little sick after that and he’s kind of been off and on, but he’s coming back into form and he showed that today.”
The victory was Mach It So’s fourth this year and 23rd in his career from 59 starts. The lion’s share of the purse pushed his bankroll to $1.09 million.
“Mach It So is a horse we’ve had since he was a two-year-old,” said Jeff Bamond Jr., who trains and co-owns the five-year-old gelded son of Mach Three with his father as part of Bamond Racing LLC. “He’s always been a good horse for us. He’s kind of a trip horse, but it worked out for him tonight.”
As for Foiled Again, who was the winner of the Quillen in 2010, 2011 and 2014, the 11-year-old now has four runner-up efforts in his seven years competing in the Invitational event. Harness racing’s richest horse also previously finished second to Clear Vision (2013), Betterthancheddar (2012) and Won The West (2009).