Day At The Track

Burke and Page honored

06:39 AM 11 Dec 2019 NZDT
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Ron Burke, harness racing
Trainer Ron Burke captured his second Kaltenbach title in 2019. USTA/Ken Weingartner photo.
Ken Weingartner photo

Columbus, OH — The powerful one-two punch of trainer Ron Burke and driver Chris Page captured both Kaltenbach titles in 2019.

The Jerry Kaltenbach Memorial trophies were established in 1988 and are awarded annually to the driver and trainer who have earned the most dollars competing in Ohio Sires Stakes events that season.

Trainer Ron Burke captured his second Kaltenbach title in 2019, sending 98 youngsters postward in the 2019 Ohio Sires Stakes legs, championships and consolations.

Burke’s impressive assortment of 2- and 3-year-old pacers and trotters earned $1,121,850 from 22 wins, 10 seconds and 12 third-place finishes. Burke had captured the 2014 Kaltenbach crown with $428,750 in OSS earnings and last year was runner-up to winning trainer Brian Brown with $953,150 earned from 78 starters with 11 wins, 13 seconds and 12 thirds in OSS competition.

Chris Beaver, who was third in the OSS training standings in 2018 and captured the 2017 Kaltenbach title, finished second to Burke this season, with 79 starters who earned $899,550 from 15 wins, 12 seconds and 12 thirds. Steve Carter was third with a 6-9-5 record from 24 starters who earned $422,250, while Virgil Morgan Jr. and Jason McGinnis were tied in fourth with five winners each. Morgan’s charges earned $417,700 while McGinnis’ trainees earned $310,050.

Of the 117 trainers who participated in OSS events in 2019, a full 18 scored earnings of $100,000 or higher, with 11 earning $200,000 or better and five who accumulated $300,000 or more in the series.

Driver Chris Page (Conrad photo)

Driver Chris Page captured the Kaltenbach title for the fourth time in six years. Page piloted 23 winners, nine second-place finishers and 11 third-place finishers to $1,085,100 in OSS earnings from 94 starters. North America’s leading reinsman, Aaron Merriman and Brett Miller, who returned to Ohio in 2019 after plying his wares on the East Coast for the past decade, tied for the bridesmaid role with 14 winners each among them. Merriman edged out Miller in earnings, with the 94 horses he drove amassing $1,019,050 while Miller’s 82 steeds earned $850,750.

Last year’s Kaltenbach king, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., garnered 11 triumphs and $669,800 in earnings from 89 starters, while Danny Noble ($587,050) and Tyler Smith ($481,650) notched seven winners each.

Of the 54 drivers who participated in the 2019 OSS events, 47 garnered at least one purse check; 15 notched earnings of $100,000 or more; nine earned $200,000 or more; and six earned $400,000 or better. There were 19 drivers whose OSS purse checks totaled between $10,000 and $100,000, while 13 amassed $10,000 or less.

In the 30 years the Kaltenbachs have been awarded, David Miller leads all drivers with seven trophies. In the training ranks, Virgil Morgan Jr., has captured the title six times. Only two horsemen have won the Kaltenbachs in both the training and driving categories — Sam “Chip” Noble III and Dave Rankin.

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