All Bets Off, trained byand driven by , won his Rooney elimination last weekend by 2-1/2 lengths over Some Playa in 1:52.3. In his eight starts since joining the Burke Stable last September, All Bets Off has won five times and finished second on three occasions.
He finished last season by winning the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, beating Stevensville by a half-length in a track-record 1:50. Stevensville also is in the Rooney, having won his elimination by 3-3/4 lengths over Gold Rocks in 1:53.
All Bets Off will start the Rooney final from post four; Stevensville, with driverat the lines for trainer , from post six. All Bets Off is the 7-5 morning line favorite.
"He was very good," Burke said about All Bets Off's elimination win. "He's been super since we got him. We're trying to figure out how good he is and where he fits. This is a chance for us to see if he belongs in the group with the top 10 colts in the division.
"But he's been pretty special since we got him."
Burke owns All Bets Off with Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable Corp. and Rosemary Shelswell. A resident of Ontario, Shelswell was part of the previous ownership group that purchased All Bets Off for $7,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale.
All Bets Off is a son of stallionout of the mare Armbro Penelope, who enjoyed success on the Ontario circuit in the mid-1990s.
For his career, All Bets Off has won six of 15 races, finished second five times, and earned $216,917. All Bets Off is not eligible to the North America Cup or Meadowlands Pace, but has the Max C. Hempt Memorial, Messenger Pace, Progress Pace and New York Sire Stakes on his schedule.
This season, he had a win and a second against older horses before his victory in his Rooney elim.
"He's done everything we've asked of him," Burke said. "He's got a good spot (for the Rooney final). He can do it both ways, so he should be good there."
If luck counts for anything, trainershould feel good heading into the Rooney final. He saw his Bondi Hanover and Gold Rocks draw posts two and three, respectively, and then found out his Maxi Bon, who was also-eligible, got the coveted post No. 1 when Thereisapaceforus scratched.
Gold Rocks and Bondi Hanover finished second and third behind Stevensville in their Rooney elim. Maxi Bon went off stride and finished fifth in his elim, which was won by All Bets Off.
"Both (Gold Rocks and Bondi Hanover) raced very well," Algana said. "Gold Rocks won the Babic at Freehold last year, so we knew he was a good half-mile horse. That was only Bondi Hanover's fourth lifetime start and he raced excellent. For a maiden to go against those horses and be third, we're very happy with him.
"Maxi Bon is a fast horse that had some trouble in the last turn when he was out and going. We made some adjustments and he trained well (Wednesday)."
Alagna said All Bets Off and Stevensville are the horses to beat.
"Other than that, I think our horses are as competitive as anyone else's," Alagna said. "Gold Rocks, the half-mile track and five-eighths are going to be his thing. He's handy and you've got to use that to your advantage. I don't think the big track picks him up nearly as much. He's Meadowlands Pace eligible just in case he rises up, but we're going to concentrate on the smaller tracks."
Following is the field in post order for the Art Rooney Pace with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Maxi Bon,, ; 2. Bondi Hanover, , ; 3. Gold Rocks, , ; 4. All Bets Off, , ; 5. Some Playa, , Jennifer Sabot; 6. Stevensville, , ; 7. Unlocked, , ; 8. Ideal Fashion, , .
SOUTHWIND SILENCE HOPES TO MAKE NOISE IN LISMORE
is happy with Southwind Silence as she prepares for Saturday's $124,744 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old filly pacers at Yonkers.
Southwind Silence finished fourth in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in her seasonal debut at The Meadows on May 3, but bounced back last weekend to win her Lismore Pace elimination by 1-1/2 lengths over Bettor Business in 1:54.
Last year, Southwind Silence won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old filly pacers and also won a division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes.
For her career, the daughter of-Southwind Solara has won four of 15 races, hit the board 13 times, and earned $391,211 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Joseph DiScala Jr.
"She was a very good filly last year," Burke said. "I wasn't completely happy with her first start this year. It was alright, but she had to come first up and that doesn't usually work at The Meadows if you can't clear. (In her elimination) she seemed more like her normal self.
"She seemed to handle the track well, and at Yonkers that's a big thing."
Tyra, who was third in last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, also won a Lismore elimination. She beat Rusty's Bliss by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.4 and is the 8-5 morning line choice in the final.
Following is the field in post order for the Lismore Pace with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Also Encouraging,, ; 2. It Was Fascination, , ; 3. Bettor Business, , Scott DiDomenico; 4. Tyra, , Joann Looney-King; 5. Southwind Silence, , ; 6. Rusty's Bliss, , Douglas Lewis; 7. Gentlemens Delight, , Nancy Johansson; 8. Palm Beach, , Douglas Lewis.
by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications