Ron Burke became the first harness racing trainer to surpass $20 million in purses in a single year when For All We Know finished third in a $14,000 mares claiming handicap pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Wednesday night. In addition to the record for purse earnings, Burke's trainees have 981 wins so far in 2013 -- another record. Burke is on his way to leading all North American harness racing trainers in both wins and earnings for the fifth consecutive year. He won 906 races in 2012, breaking harness racing's training record of 842 established by his stable in 2010. He saw his horses win $19.69 million in purses in 2012, breaking the record of $18.54 million set by his stable in 2011. HOLLOWAY HOPES TO 'STING' MATRON FOES Joe Holloway uses the word "decent" to describe Shebestingin's year so far, but the 3-year-old filly pacer has two more chances to improve that assessment. Shebestingin is the 3-5 morning line favorite in Sunday's $130,650 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers at Dover Downs. She will start from post four with David Miller in the sulky. Last week, Shebestingin won her Matron elimination by three lengths over Ms Caila J Fra in 1:51.2. Ms Caila J Fra is the 9-2 second choice in the final. Dover Downs hosts Matron finals for 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers on Sunday. Following the Matron, Shebestingin is expected to make her last start of the year in the $200,000 Nadia Lobell Stakes on Nov. 30 at the Meadowlands. "(Her year has) been decent," said Holloway, who trains Shebestingin for owners Val d'Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L&L DeVisser. "When I trained her down, I thought she had a chance to be dominant. She wasn't. You have to show up, you have to race." Shebestingin has won 10 of 17 starts this year and finished in the top three a total of 14 times while earning $489,551. The three times she failed to hit the board were the $500,000 Breeders Crown, $350,000 Valley Forge and $184,250 Mistletoe Shalee. All three of those races, as well as the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial where Shebestingin finished second, were won by I Luv The Nitelife. I Luv The Nitelife did not enter the Matron, but is expected to race in the Nadia Lobell. "I Luv The Nitelife has been the dominant filly; the best 3-year-old filly," Holloway said. "In my heart, I think if we were ever on our good day and have a shot, we could beat her. But we haven't done it, so you have to tip your hat to them. I knew it would be a battle with her, but I thought come year end, we would best her more than she bested us. "We'll have to maybe wait to find out next year. But it should be fun." A daughter of stallion Bettor's Delight out of the mare Armbro Tussle, Shebestingin was purchased as a yearling for $55,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a half-sister to stakes-winners Hop Sing and Bono Bests. Shebestingin (pronounced She-be-stingin) went 3-for-3 last year, winning divisions of the Simpson, Reynolds and Tompkins-Geers stakes before being sidelined in August by a stress fracture. She won five of her first six races this year, with the loss coming by a neck from post nine to Jerseylicious in the Bobby Weiss Series final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Other highlights this year included winning her division of the Glen Garnsey in a world-record 1:47 at The Red Mile on Oct. 5 and capturing the $250,750 Empire Breeders Classic in a stakes- and track-record 1:49 at Tioga Downs on Aug. 11. Her 1:47 mile in the Garnsey is the fastest ever by a female pacer of any age in harness racing history. "(Was I surprised) that she raced well? No," Holloway said about her effort at The Red Mile. "That she went in (1):47 flat, time becomes a little bit irrelevant anymore because horses can go so fast, but I've known she's been an extremely fast horse for quite some time." Holloway said Shebestingin had issues tying up at The Red Mile and was not at her best heading into the Breeders Crown. But those issues seem to be in the past as she prepares for the Matron final. "We'd had a tough week before the Breeders Crown," Holloway said. "She had tied up, but no excuses, you have to be good when you have to be good. I wish she had been a little bit better for the night of the Breeders Crown, but she wasn't. But she was very good last week and seems to be excellent so far this week." As for her chances in the Matron, Holloway said he expected her to race well. "I just hope she is as good as she was last week," he added. "She'll handle the rest from there." To see the full Matron card at Dover Downs, click here. by Ken Weingartner for HRC
Keith Kash Jr. scored the 2,000th win of his driving career while driving Wildatthebeach in Northfield Park’s 11 race on Friday (August 9) by boldly looming from the back to pass the competition. Wildatthebeach paced her successful mile in 1:57.2, winning by two lengths and returning $94.40 to win. His milestone win was his fourth on Northfield’s Friday program and his eighth win of the day. Kash left his Medina home on Friday headed for the Ashtabula Fair in Jefferson, Ohio with 1992 wins to his credit. He garnered four wins at the fair before arriving at Northfield to drive for the evening. “I think I can do it tonight,” said Kash, “It looks like I have a pretty good lineup.” Kash’s richest wins are for a purse of $100,000. He drove Bono Bests to victory in the 2008 Battle Of Lake Erie and Osborne’s Bullet in an Ohio Sires Stakes final. Keith rates the most exciting horse he has ever driven as Bono Bests, “Winning the Battle was great. I grew up watching the race and it was an honor to win it.” Kash’s favorite horse he drove with regularity is Waltz Across Texas. “She was the first good horse I ever drove and she was fun to drive. It was just push a button and she would go,” recalled Kash, “She also taught me a lot about driving.” 34 year-old Kash began driving in 1997 and won his first race that year aboard Improvise Hanover in a $525 conditioned race at the Ashland County Fair. Since then he has amassed over $7.8 million in purse earning. Kash recalls his fastest win as being 1:51.1 with Forever Happy at Colonial Downs. Keith Kash Jr grew up in the horse business, watching his father drive. Keith Kash Sr. won nearly 1,500 races in his driving career. Kash Jr. notes his father and David Hawk as having the largest influence on his career. With 2,000 wins under his belt, Kash will start tomorrow the same way as he did today. He will train his 25-horse stable with Melinda, his wife of 11 years as well as being an active and doting father of their five year-old daughter, Kylee. Ayers Ratliff, Northfield Park Publicity Department
Most of the biggest names in Australasian harness racing are among the nominations for the BIG6 Hunter Cup and SEW-Eurodrive Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, which closed at noon today.
Now is the time for Bono Bests. The former North American speedster is only weeks away from making his much prolonged yet highly anticipated downunder harness racing debut.
2008 Battle of Lake Erie winner Bono Bests has been sold to Australian interests, according to trainer Ross Croghan.
Herbert J. Burns III and Stephen W. Demeter's Bono Bests sandwiched a victory in the $100,000 Battle of Lake Erie between wins in legs of the George Morton Levy Series on the way to April Horse of the Month honours, as conferred by the U.S. Trotting Association.
A trio of abbreviated fields went postward in Saturday night's fifth and final preliminary leg of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway...one last shot to earn valuable points redeemable for a berth in next week's $390,000 final.
Keith Kash, Jr., steered 3-1 Bono Bests three-wide at the three-quarters, and the five-year-old son of Pro Bono Best drew off in the stretch to win the 2008 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park by three lengths in 1:52.2 over a sloppy track caused by a downpour just prior to the race.