Day At The Track

Burke duo leads in the Meadows Maturity

02:04 AM 02 May 2015 NZST
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Ron Burke
Ron Burke

WASHINGTON, PA, May 1, 2015 -- Though harness racing stablemates and 4-year-olds, Gural Hanover and Rose Run Parker have taken different geographic paths to stardom. Gural Hanover captured the New York Sires Stake championship last year; Rose Run Parker achieved the same feat -- in Indiana.

Together, they've earned just over $1 million for trainer Ron Burke, and they'll lead the field in Saturday's inaugural edition of the $62,100 The Meadows Maturity for 4-and-up stallion and gelding trotters. The event, part of a special Kentucky Derby Day card that begins at 11:25 AM, goes as race 9.

"They're very similar," Burke said of his dynamic duo. "They dominated their sires stakes programs, and they have big chances this year to move up."

Gural Hanover (post 1, Matt Kakaley) has won 11 of 15 career starts and will be launching his season after a sharp 1:55.3 qualifier at Harrah's Philly.

"That was a vicious qualifier," Burke said of the Crazed-Givemearing gelding owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Little E and Panhellenic Stables. "I'd like to have one more work in him, but it is what it is."

Rose Run Parker (post 2, Dave Palone), had a 3-race winning streak snapped April 18 when he broke stride in Hoosier Park's Invitational.

"I didn't like that break last week, but that's out of character for him," Burke said. "I don't expect it to be a problem.

Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and William Haas, Jr. campaign the Jailhouse Jesse-Centergy gelding. Burke said he hasn't plotted specific schedules for Gural Hanover and Rose Run Parker.

"When they finish one race, I think about the next race," he said. "I never assume they'll be ready for this race or that race. I take it week by week."

The road to victory may go through the Burke pair, but Melady's Monet (post 4, John Campbell) may be just the contender to speed down that road. The 6-year-old Revenue S-Keystone Melady gelding already has won five of eight outings this year, including three straight in the Open Handicap at the Meadowlands, for trainer Kevin McDermott and owner Melady Enterprises.

Last week's distaff division of The Meadows Maturity was a showcase for local talent, as Bill Bercury's Daylon Miracle blew past 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry to lead a 1-2-3 finish for The Meadows-based horses. Bercury will be looking for a stakes sweep Saturday when he sends out Tamarind, (post 8, Aaron Merriman), who has banked $624,484 in his career but needed a drop to conditioned company to get his most recent victory.

Completing the local contingent are Classicality (post 5, Brian Zendt), an easy winner in The Meadows' top trot last week, and Sixteen Mikes (post 7, Eric Goodell), campaigned and bred by Bob Key and conditioned by Rich Gillock.

Saturday's 13-race card also features three splits of the $183,216 Adios Betty, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake for sophomore filly pacers.

The field for The Meadows Maturity, in post position order, with drivers and morning line odds:

1. Gural Hanover, Matt Kakaley, 9/2

2. Rose Run Parker, Dave Palone, 7/2

3. Madewell Hanover, Chris Ryder, 6-1

4. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, 5/2

5. Classicality, Brian Zendt, 8-1

6. Possessed Fashion, Tony Hall, 8-1

7. Sixteen Mikes, Eric Goodell, 10-1

8. Tamarind, Aaron Merriman, 10-1

The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

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