Leonidas A Attempts to Recapture Crown in Potomac Pace
2020 Champ Returns to Rosecroft for Third Time
FORT WASHINGTON, MD – It’s true that Leonidas A will be one of the longshots in Thursday’s night $125,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft.
It’s true that he hasn’t won a race this year with a purse of more than $50,000. And it’s true that he hasn’t always had good fortune when it comes to drawing post positions. Do we need to jog anyone’s memory with that fact he scored from post eight in the MGM Aria, post six in the Gerrity, post seven in the Battle of Lake Erie, or post eight in last year’s Sam McKee?
No, Leonidas A, who arrived in the U.S. from Australia two years ago, hasn’t always had the best of luck or trips.
But “if this is my bad luck,” said owner/trainer Steven Finkelstein, “I’ll take it!”
And who wouldn’t want a horse like Leonidas A? The game and consistent 7-year-old son of Mach Three returns to Rosecroft and the site of his signature victory – a come-from-behind win in the 2020 Potomac Pace. And like Thursday night, he was longshot the evening he won at odds of 15-1.
For Finkelstein and so many others who like following the careers of horses over several years, Leonidas A has been a constant. He comes into the Potomac winning 10 of 20 starts this year (all at Yonkers) and placing in another six. In 2021 he won nine of 20 starts and in 2020 five of nine and only once did he finish worse than third.
So, in the past three years, Leonidas A has won 24 of 49 starts in the U.S. Of those 49 starts, he has hit the board 36 times. The gelding has earned more than $630,000 the past two years.
And the best part? “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had,” Finkelstein said.
He’s been so much fun for me,” he added. “He stays consistent, tough. Every race he gives his best.”
Finkelstein trains and warms up Leonidas A, “and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”
Racing under Jesmeral Stable, Finkelstein has also seen Leonidas A become more versatile. Once a one-run closer – as he did when winning the Potomac in 2020 – Leonidas A has proven more than capable winning on the front end this year.
“When you race at Yonkers you need to come from the front,” Finkelstein said. “But this race looks like it will have a lot of speed.”
The fact is with Breeders Crown second-place finisher Tattoo Artist and third-place finisher Allywag Hanover in the race, Leonidas A’s regular driver Austin Siegelman may wind up trying to use the come-from-behind tactics used when winning at Rosecroft in 2020. The gelding finished sixth last year.
No matter what happens, it will be OK by Finkelstein.
“He’s coming into the race as good as he could,” he said. “We would have liked to have seen him draw better. In finals he always seems to draw six or seven or eight. But I’ll take it every day. It’s been a blast.”