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WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 16, 2020 -- Drama Act overcame post 8 to score easily in 1:50, matching the stake record in Wednesday's $63,550 Keystone Classic for 3-year-old harness racing filly pacers at The Meadows. Drama Act was making only her second start since owner The OK Corral shifted her to the Ron Burke stable, but the trainer likes what he's seen so far of the daughter of Well Said-Lounge Act. "I think she's really a high-end filly," Burke said. "She won in 1:50 with her ear plugs in -- that's a special kind of mile. She has a few races left, and I think she'll get better as the year goes on." Drama Act needed almost the entire opening panel to make the point for Matt Kakaley, but she faced no serious challenges from there, defeating Keystone Eureka by 3-1/2 lengths, with the previously undefeated Seadog Lady third. Her time equaled the mark Lispatty established in 2016.   Burke anticipates that Drama Act, who now has banked $157,982, will continue to race at 4. "She has the potential to do well -- especially on small tracks. She's a pretty nice horse," he said. $67,500 Keystone Classic -- 3-Year-Old Filly Trot Dune Hill figured to be a lock for her eighth straight victory; she was hammered down to 1-9. But she broke stride before the gate, a bit of serendipity that caught the attention of Jim Pantaleano aboard Miss McKee for trainer Jack Baggitt, Jr. but didn't change his approach a jot. "I talked to Jack before the race, and he indicated that she had good gate speed and to try to place her forward," Pantaleano said. "That was my strategy regardless of Dune Hill's condition. I tried to take care of her a little bit in the middle half, and I probably didn't need to be that careful because she was really strong finishing." Miss McKee prevailed in 1:55, 3-3/4 lengths better than Impulse Buy. Allswell Hanover completed the ticket. J.L. Sadowsky LLC campaigns the daughter of Muscle Massive-Dazzling Deb, who vaulted over $100,000 in career earnings. Sans Defaut has performed largely under the raider this year for Burke -- even though her win in the other Keystone Classic split sent her over $200,000 in lifetime earnings. But Wednesday's victory in what likely are her waning days of racing may have raised her profile. "I think she has a bit more to give," Burke said. "We want to finish the year strong with her. She's royally bred -- a full sister to Southwind Frank -- and I think she'll be bred at the end of the year." In the race, the daughter of Muscle Hill-Flawless Lindy idled until the field settled, powered to the lead and scored in 1:54.1. Perth Angel De Vie was second, beaten 2-3/4 lengths, with Electrapedia third. Sans Defaut races for Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby. Burke enjoyed a four-bagger on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday when the 13-race program features a $24,658.78 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 7, 2020 -- When Dune Hill won her $40,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series championship Monday at The Meadows, it was historic on several counts. Not only did it complete the 3-year-old filly trotter's sweep of the four preliminary legs and the final, but it also gave trainer Ron Burke career win 11,000. The Meadows hosted all eight $40,000 stallion series finals Monday, and there was action aplenty, as four championship records fell. But Dune Hill and Burke clearly took center stage. Dune Hill got away fifth for Matt Kakaley and moved with cover before attacking the leader, Alittlebitofsugar. Kakaley said he had no doubt the daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible would get by. "She felt really good in the last turn; I wasn't too worried," Kakaley said. "As long as you keep her out of trouble and she has her manners right, she's better than these." She downed Aittlebitofsugar by 2-3/4 lengths in 1:54.4, lowering the previous stake mark of 1:55.1 set by Dressed To Impress in 2017. The first-over Hannah earned show. Dune Hill now has banked $151,886 for owner Joseph DiScala, Jr.   Burke, harness racing's perennial leading trainer, just keeps rolling. Since 2009, he's won at least 762 races every year; during that period, his UTR hasn't been below .321 in any season. Overall, Burke trainees have earned just shy of $244 million. Jim Pantaleano and Tim Tetrick each collected a pair of titles. Highlights of the other championships: 2-Year-Old Filly Trot -- Love Muffin When he learned that Love Muffin had drawn post 8, trainer David Wiest indicated he wasn't concerned. "I know she'll leave and get a good spot," he said. "I wasn't worried at all." Love Muffin justified Wiest's confidence, zipping to the point for Pantaleano and scoring in 1:55.4, which shattered Day Lily's previous record of 1:57.2 set in 2014. The first-over Rebel Girl raced well for second, beaten 1-1/2 lengths, with Trend third.   Wiest said owners Edward Kimmel and Don Wiest have consigned the daughter of Andover Hall-Pine Yankee to the Harrisburg sale; she'll contest several Pennsylvan1a stakes before then. 2-Year-Old Filly Pace -- Odds On Whitney She was forced six wide in the lane, but the full sister to World Champion Papi Rob Hanover showed her determination, overcoming Darby Hanover by a head to prevail in 1:52.2 Skyy completed the ticket. It was the second consecutive stallion series record for Odds on Whitney; this one eliminated the old mark of 1:53.3 set by Sidewalk Dancer in 2017. "I put a lot of trust in her," said winning driver Tetrick. "We got away in a bad spot, but she overcame it. It's hard to come that wide through the turn. She has a lot of power and pedigree, so who knows what she can be next year." Tony Alagna conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover for Odds On Racing. 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot -- Overserved The son of Explosive Matter-Afterimage moved first over for Tetrick to win his fourth straight for owners William Donovan, Stephen Michaels, Joe Sbrocco and Jim Winske, setting a stake record 1:54.2 in the process. Frost Free Hanover established the previous record of 1:55.2 in 2014. Early leader Town Victor was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, while Stickler Hanover earned show. "The biggest thing about him -- he's matured," said winning trainer George Ducharme. "Like last week when he went on the lead, he would never have done that a year ago, or even earlier this spring." 3-Year-Old Filly Pace -- Going Gone Hanover Yankeeland Partners' daughter of Captaintreacherous-Go On BB was the day's most decisive winner, drawing off late for Andrew McCarthy to beat Wayside by 5-3/4 lengths in 1:51.3. Keystone Eureka completed the ticket. "It looked like a pretty good spot for this mare -- she's been good all year," McCarthy said. "I think she was a little sick her last start, but she got the job done." Winning trainer Brett Bittle said his filly is eligible to several of the rich stakes at the Red Mile. 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace -- Somewhereinverona Somewhereinverona shot the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:53.1 for Aaron Merriman and trainer Blake MacIntosh, who owns with Petitpas Stables, Ozzie Mackay, and Gilles Landry. "I didn't really have a choice but the Lightning Lane after getting away third," Merriman said. "The horse really responded when he saw air, so it was really easy." Captain Fancy was second, beaten 1-1/2 lengths, with Rifleman third. 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pace -- Seriously Hanover Seriously Hanover went wide through the lane to collect a hard-fought win for Andy Miller in 1:51.3, 1/2 length ahead of Ruthless Hanover. Mankat earned show. "It's hard to make up ground when you're that wide, but thankfully, he stuck his nose up," said Ron Coyne, who trains the son of Western Ideal-Stolly Up Bluechip for Michael Cimaglio, Stephen Demeter and Stephen Giagni. "He'll go to Lexington, where he'll have a couple options. We'll see what makes the most sense." 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot -- Lepanto Lepanto made it look easy for the second straight week, notching a front-end win in 1:56 for Pantaleano. Sunny Crockett and Lindys Goin Crazy completed the ticket. "He was a pleasure to drive; he did everything right, especially for a baby," Pantaleano said. "He's probably a notch below the Grand Circuit horses. I think he'll make most of his money because of his quick speed, and you can put him in good spots." Ake Svanstedt conditions the son of Bar Hopping-Woman of Character for Esa Lahtinen, Jussi Hietalahti and Arvo Risto. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA                    

MILTON, ON - September 5, 2020 - Harness racing driver James MacDonald engineered his second consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby stunner, guiding Dorsoduro Hanover to a 43-1 upset on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Ron Burke trained Dorsoduro Hanover and MacDonald sat fifth-over turning for home and swept by rivals promptly for a 1:48.4 victory in the $540,000 event. "I always though the seven claimer was my race," joked MacDonald, who also drove Courtly Choice to a 34-1 upset in last year's event. "I'll take the Derby, it's a real honour just to be in it and to win it...I can't even put it in words." A hot opening-quarter of :25.1 was put up by American History after rocketing off the gate along with rail starter Bettors Wish and Backstreet Shadow. Bettors Wish quickly rushed from third to first and led by the half in 52.4. The third-quarter saw Backstreet Shadow come first up at Bettors Wish with the pacers dueling by three-quarters in 1:21.1. The field fanned out wide with the front horses tiring at the head of the lane, setting up a wild finish that saw Dorsoduro Hanover sweep by after being ninth to win by 3 ½ lengths. Dancin Lou came from third-over to finish second, while Century Farroh was third after sitting second-over turning for home. Sintra finished fourth. A five-year-old gelding, Dorsoduro Hanover came into the 'Pacing Derby' off a hard-closing third-place finish in the Dan Patch at Hoosier on August 22. The Burke trainee is now three for eight on the season and sports career numbers of 17 wins and over $1.9 million earned for owners Burke Racing Stable, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb, Weaver Bruscemi and Wingfield Brothers. "Mark Weaver had messaged me earlier in the week and told me the horse had been great, but just had been drawing terrible and then the draw came out and he drew (post-eight)," said MacDonald. "It was one of those races when it looks like there is four or five or six that can win, if you're in the outer flow and they get battling it's usually a long shot that comes in. "Ronnie did such a great job, they were at the half in :52.4 and I was just standing up in the stirrups, like he was ready to go. Thanks a lot for the drive." Dorsoduro Hanover's victory gave trainer Burke a sweep of Saturday's, tagging alongside Atlanta's win in the Maple Leaf Trot. A $2 win ticket on Dorsoduro Hanover returned $88. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The best of the Pennsylvania-sired babies came in for their closeup on Saturday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, racing in four $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, with a $50,000 consolation event also for the two-year-olds in each harness racing division of sex and gait. And after studying the sterling forms of the entrants, it turned out that all you needed to know about the Championships was this: bet Ãke Svanstedt in the trots, and bet the team of driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke in the paces. Here is a summary of how all of the action went: TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS Svanstedt pupils were 1-2-3 early in this Championship, with Johan Palema (driver Dexter Dunn; not coupled with the other two because Ãke owns no part of him) on the lead, Fly Light (Andy Miller) second, and Captain Corey third under Svanstedt's control. They sat that way through fractions of :27.1 and :57, then Svanstedt pulled Captain Corey (a Googoo Gaagaa - Luv U All colt) out raw at the 5/8 to challenge, with second choice (and leading prelim pointwinner) In Range advancing to second-over. Past the 1:25 three-quarters Fly Light made a break in the two-hole, bothering several other horses; by this time Captain Corey had moved to within a head of his frontstepping stablemate, with In Range right behind. Through the stretch Captain Corey maintained his long and powerful strides, reaching the wire two lengths ahead of In Range in 1:53.3, with Johan Palema another length back in third. An inquiry was posted to look into the incident on the far turn, but Captain Corey was not affected.   The time eclipsed by a fifth of a second the record set by Real Cool Sam last year, and lowered his own season's record. Captain Corey is now undefeated in four lifetime starts, three PaSS elims and this Championship, and he boosted his earnings to $264,563. Svanstedt (as Ãke Svanstedt Inc.) co-owns the winner with S R F Stable, Knutsson Trotting Inc., and Midnight Sun Partners Inc. It would be surprising if more is not heard from this colt. Consolation: The Cantab Hall - Jolie De Vie gelding Jack Fire had bad luck in the first half, three-wide much of the first quarter, then going first-over, but then he had good luck when he was trying to clear favored pacesetter Bacardi and that one broke, letting him go to an easy lead and winning in a lifetime best 1:56.1 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Nifty Norman, and the ownership of Pinske Stables and Curly Tall Curly Small. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES Like her stablemate Captain Corey, the Southwind Frank - Aleah Hanover filly Flawless Country found herself third early in the backstretch - but she took a very different route home, though producing the same result. Flawless Country actually had the lead at the ¼ in :27.3, but the second quarter saw first Gimme Shelter and then Anoka Hanover make their way to the top, the latter in front at the :56.1 half. Svanstedt kept Flawless Country inside as You Ato Dream, the leading prelim pointwinner with four PaSS seconds, attacked towards the 1:25.1 three-quarters, with pocketsitter Gimme Shelter following the first-over outside as she gained a small advantage nearing headstretch. This move gave Svanstedt room to maneuver Flawless Country to the Pocono Pike, and the baby filly responded to the challenge like a seasoned pro, quickly kicking in gear to beat out the unfortunate You Ato Dream (if a maiden with earnings of $157,556 can be considered "unfortunate") by a neck, with Anoka Hanover another 2½ lengths back in third.   Flawless Country started her career finishing second in photo decisions, and since has won four in a row, swelling her earnings to $263,496 for Ã…ke Svanstedt Inc., Wolfgang A Table inc., and Borje Nasstrom. Consolation: The Cantab Hall - Evermore filly May Karp was moved to the lead in front of the stands by driver Dexter Dunn and left her field far in arrears while taking a new mark of 1:55.4. Third in her only Sire Stakes start and coming off two Stallion Series victories, May Karp is at the peak form of her young career for trainer Lucas Wallin and Shermay Stables. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS Both of the Svanstedt winners were crowd favorites, as was the colt winner in the Miller/Burke sweep, the Always B Miki - Gambler's Passion gelding Southwind Gendry, who won in off-the-pace fashion in 1:51.3. Bayfield Beach led the field to the quarter in a sharp :26, with Always A Miki, the top pointwinner and second betting choice, going to the lead in front of the stands and slowing the half to :55.3. Chase H Hanover, who tucked fourth early from the outside post nine, came up to pressure the leader, passing the three-quarters in 1:23.4 and carrying the fight around the turn - until Always A Miki made a break nearing headstretch, briefly bothering Bayfield Beach. Chase H Hanover continued on after his rival's misfortune, but Southwind Gendry, who had been on his back most of the way, went wide and was the fresh horse late. Chase H Hanover was 1½ lengths behind the winner and a length ahead of a recovering Bayfield Beach.   So far Southwind Gendry's scorecard shows four wins, two breaks, and $217,144 in earnings for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Phil Collura, Knox Services Inc., and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, with a lot of the stakes trail still to go. Consolation: Favored Whichwaytothebeach, setting the pace, looked like he might be under siege by a sweeping Sweet Angel Boy at headstretch, but that one ran in in early stretch and lost momentum straightening away, leaving the Somebeachsomewhere - Swinging Beauty colt able to retain his lead to the wire, stopping the clock in 1:52.1. Marcus Miller drove the winner for trainer Roland Mallar and owners Alan Johnston and John Craig. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES The Captaintreacherous - Aria Hanover filly Blue Diamond Eyes was the only non-favorite to win a two-year-old Championship, but at 4-1 she was hardly overlooked, and she opened some eyes with a victory in 1:51, equaling the stakes record of Pure Country and also the national season's record. As was the case in the other filly Championship, there was plenty of early activity, with Blue Diamond Eyes on top at the :27.3 quarter, but then having pointleader Marsala Hanover and then favored Grace Hill go by her before a :55.1 half. Continualou, one of four Burke entrants in the race went first-over and was within a length of the leader at the 1:23.1 three-quarters; after she backed off, Marsala Hanover moved outside, giving the room for Blue Diamond Eyes to go to the Pocono Pike. Blue Diamond Eyes took full advantage of the inner route, going past Grace Hill by ¾ of a length, with Thebeachiscalling gaining inside the winner in the Pike to take third ahead of Marsala Hanover.   Blue Diamond Eyes now has three wins and a second in six starts, a new record, and earnings of $191,542 for Thomas and Scott Dillon. Consolation: Trainer Nifty Norman, driver Dexter Dunn, and the Pinske Stables collected a second consolation victory when the Somebeachsomewhere - Fit To Frame filly Fire Start Hanover forced favorite Mackie Hanover to work hard to clear for the lead at the half, then came back in the lane to pass that rival and win while taking a new speed badge of 1:52.3. The Pinske Stables' partners in this filly are David Hoese and Lawrence Means. The three-year-old Pennsylvania-sired stars will be at Harrah's Philadelphia Sunday afternoon for their Championships and consolations. On Monday The Meadows will host the Stallion Series Championships, as Labor Day Monday afternoon will find no fewer than four Pennsylvania tracks in operation during the afternoon: pari-mutuel tracks Pocono, Philly, and The Meadows, and also the Bloomsburg Fair. From the PHHA/The Downs  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 15, 2020 -- Rebounding nicely from her Hambletonian horror show, Sister Sledge overpowered her field and trotted to a harness racing stakes record 1:52 -- on a "good" surface -- in Saturday's $186,382 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. Crucial rallied furiously through the lane to capture the other division in the event for 3-year-old fillies known as the Stenographer, giving trainer Ron Burke a stake sweep. Sister Sledge was the divisional Dan Patch Award runner-up last year, but she stepped up to face the boys in the Hambletonian. While she made the final, her journey there was forgettable, as she broke stride and finished 8th, beaten 56 lengths. "That was a weird race," said Burke. "She got parked out and tilted around. But I didn't think I had much to worry about today -- and she was back on Lasix." Indeed, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors dispelled any doubts early when she zipped to the front from post 7 for Dave Palone and won as she pleased, defeating the pocket-sitting Dip Me Hanover by 2-1/2 lengths, with Queen Of The Hill third. Her time erased the previous stake record of 1:52.4 established last year by Millies Possession.   Sister Sledge, who is scheduled to race next in another PASS leg, now has banked $682,653 for Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. When Crucial trailed the leader, Next Level Stuff, by 3 lengths at the top of the stretch, even winning driver David Miller figured he was racing for a place check. "The leader kind of opened up on me, and I thought we could be second," Miller said. "But she kept on coming and put her nose in front. I like horses like that." Fifty Cent Piece earned show in the 1:53.1 mile. Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi campaign the daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $271,577.   $60,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Fillies In Saturday's subfeature, Dune Hill stretched her winning streak to five -- including three stallion series victories -- with a stake-fastest triumph in 1:55.4. Witchey Woman and Alittlebitofsugar took the other splits. Dune Hill endured a demanding three-wide journey to the point, but she hung tough in the lane for Matt Kakaley, downing Hannah by a neck. Miss Kendra D completed the ticket. Winning trainer Burke indicated he thinks the daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible is well spotted in the stallion series. "I have other top fillies who are maybe a little better than she is," Burke said. "She's found a spot where she's happy and not making mistakes. We're thrilled with her." Dune Hill has banked $121,886 for owner/breeder Joseph DiScala, Jr. All eight $40,000 stallion series championships take place Monday, Sept. 7, at The Meadows. Burke collected five wins on Saturday's 15-race card while Tony Hall and Palone each fashioned a triple. Monday's 15-race program at The Meadows features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $12,691 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3); a $1,028,56 carryover in the Early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the MSOA

It was the Ron Burke and Chris Page harness racing show on Saturday night, Aug. 15 at MGM Northfield Park as the trainer-driver combo captured the first three Ohio Sires Stakes. It's Academic and driver Page captured the first of two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for sophomore trotting colts handily in 1:55.1. The son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis-Muscle Hill was the 1-5 favorite, hailing from the barn of Ronnie Burke and upped his seasonal earnings to $150,572 and career earnings to $279,574 for owners Burke Racing, Bill Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and the Hatfield Stables. Danny Noble steered Doubleyellowline (3-1) to second place money with 18-1 Bold Strategy getting up for third with Kurt Sugg aboard.   Page returned to score another OSS triumph with the 3-year-old pacing filly Crowntimerockette in 1:51.3. The daughter of Pet Rock, out of the Feelin Friskie mare Crown Time Keeper sat in the pocket behind the leader and eventual second-place finisher 3-5 PJ's Legacy (Ryan Stahl) before unleashing a hefty late kick to win at odds of 3-1. McMarkle Sparkle got up for third at 7-2 for driver Brett Miller. Crowntimerockette notched her sixth seasonal victory in 15 starts and pushed her earnings to $72,060 and her career earnings to $82,305 for Burke Racing, A. Schmucker, Jr. Weaver Bruscemi and L. Karr.   The Paige-Burke winning combo continued in the second OSS division for 3-year-old pacing fillies as 18-1 Rockngo BB scored in 1:53. Owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, Weaver Bruscemi and L. Karr, the brown daughter of Pet Rock, out of the Art's Chip mare Gingo BB picked up her second seasonal win in three tries and now has $29,750 in career earnings for her connections. Favorite (3-5) Artful Dancer was second for Danny Noble and 8-5 Ellagator notched show honors with Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. at the controls.   Action Uncle, the 1-9 favorite, took the second OSS contest for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings in 1:55 for driver Brett Miller and trainer Virgil Morgan, Jr. The son of Uncle Peter-Action-Broadway, by Broadway Hall is now six for six on the season, with 2020 earnings of $166,500 for owners Carl Howard, Joyce McClelland and Larry Wills. Yanks Dougout (21-1) was second for Kurt Sugg with Buxton (99-1) third for Danny Noble.   by Kimberly Rinker, Ohio Standardbred Development Fund Administrator  

Hightstown, NJ - After winning his first 10 harness racing career starts, Elver Hanover has found himself on the other side of a streak, dropping three races in a row. He will look to halt the skid Saturday (Aug. 15) when he meets seven rivals in the $250,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park. Elver Hanover, who was Ohio's 2019 Horse of the Year, starts the Milstein from post three with driver Chris Page. He is 4-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind Delvin Miller Adios winner Catch The Fire (2-1) and Indiana's 2019 Pacer of the Year Odds On Osiris (7-2). Catch The Fire starts from post one and Odds On Osiris from post two. Ocean Rock, who set a world record at Northfield last season and handed Elver Hanover his first loss with a track-record performance at Scioto Downs in July, leaves from post eight and is 8-1. "We're in a good spot," Page said. "There's going to be plenty of action, and I've got a lot of options in the race. My horse can do it any way I want him to. "It's going to be a fun race to watch and a better race to drive." Elver Hanover, a son of Yankee Cruiser out of Edra Hanover, won all nine of his starts at age 2. He captured the Ohio Sire Stakes championship at Northfield in 1:51.2 over a sloppy surface, missing Ocean Rock's world record for a 2-year-old gelding pacer on a half-mile track by one-fifth of a second. Two starts later, he became the fastest 2-year-old male pacer in history with a 1:48.3 win in a Bluegrass Stakes division at Lexington's Red Mile. He battled sickness earlier this year, resulting in a nearly month-long gap between qualifiers, but won his seasonal debut in a division of the Ohio Sire Stakes at Scioto on June 26. After suffering his loss to Ocean Rocks in an Ohio Sire Stakes split three weeks later, he finished third in his elimination of the Adios and fifth, beaten one length from post nine, in the final. "When you have a horse that went undefeated last year and set a world record, he's got pretty big shoes to fill, high expectations," Page said. "This year, he's still racing very good, and just missing. He was fifth in the Adios and just as easily could have been second. It was a blanket finish. "The horse is getting tighter each week, better every start. I look for him to race very good. He's raced on that (Northfield) surface before, so he's familiar with the track. He gets around a half good. I think it's all system's go this weekend. Hopefully all the stars align for us come Saturday." Elver Hanover is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, Bridgette Jablonsky, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby. He has earned $422,700 in his career. The Milstein Memorial is race 10, with an estimated 9 p.m. (EDT) post time. The event is named in memory of the former longtime owner of Northfield Park, Carl Milstein, who passed away in 1999. Racing begins at 6 p.m. Saturday. For complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

CHESTER, PA - The Donato Hanover gelding Crossfit, parked to the 3/8 to gain command in the $13,600 harness racing featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia Thursday afternoon, proved tough in the stretch while equaling his lifetime mark of 1:54.2, with the 19-1 shot turning back the late-closing 1-9 shot Winnerup by 1 ¼ lengths. Corey Callahan was in the sulky behind the winner of $122,760, who is trained by Philly's leading conditioner, Ron Burke, for owner Joe Sbrocco. Burke also trains the fastest diagonally-gaited winner of the Thursday session, the Muscle Hill gelding Goes Down Smooth, who left the field well behind in a new lifetime best of 1:52.2, just two ticks behind Scirocco Rob's divisional track standard. The winner of $259,127 was two lengths ahead at the :28.1 quarter, seven lengths up at the :56 half, ten lengths clear at the 1:23.3 three-quarters, and had 1¾ lengths over his nearest rival at the finish for driver David Miller and the partnership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, William Switala, and James Martin. While feature favorite Winnerup could not overcome the pronounced Philly track bias against closers, the Holiday Road gelding Henderson Seelster was able to come from second-over in taking the $11,600 co-feature in 1:53.3. Tim Tetrick had the favored earner of $223,384 behind first-over Bluebird Jesse, then in the stretch the pair was able to outfoot that determined foe by a neck for trainer Paul Stafford and owner Thomas Ceraso Jr. From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia            

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With open road late in the stretch, Filibuster Hanover fired past harness racing horses to land a head in front at the finish of the $61,540 Sam McKee Memorial Consolation on Saturday (Aug. 8) at The Meadowlands.   Our Majordan A, the 6-5 favorite, launched to the lead from post six while Jesse Duke N pushed from the pylons to race in the pocket. Filibuster Hanover sat fourth to a :25.4 first quarter and stayed put at the pylons as Our Majordan A posted middle fractions of :54 and 1:22.2.   Rounding the final turn, Donttellmeagain advanced first over to apply mild late pressure with Trump Nation and Geez Joe in tow -- second- and third-over, respectively. Into the stretch, Our Majordan A maintained a narrow lead as Jesse Duke N squeezed through a slim opening at the pylons, edging by the tiring pacesetter to take a short mid-stretch lead before Filibuster Hanover -- angling to the center of the track off a covered trip at the pylons -- gathered momentum and charged past to win in the final strides of a 1:49.1 mile. Our Majordan A settled for third.   Returning $58.40 to win, Filibuster Hanover won his first race from five starts this season and his 14th from 75 overall and has earned $1,758,544. Ron Burke trains the 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding for owners Burke Racing Stable, Joseph DiScala Jr., J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. Matt Kakaley drove the winner.   by Ray Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society    

Five fields of fillies provided Northfield Park harness racing fans with sizzling miles, including a new track and world record clocking of 1:51.4 by Summer Touch, the 1-5 favorite in the first of two $50,000 Ohio Sires Stakes for 2-year-old pacing fillies on a lovely August 7 evening. The Ronnie Burke-trained daughter of Well Said-Real Touch-Real Desire was given a perfect steer by Chris Page as she captured her second OSS contest, having captured Leg Two on July 24 at Scioto Downs in 1:54.2. This homebred is owned by Burke Racing, Knox Services, Slaughter Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Rainy Day Chic, a 20-1 longshot was second for Brett Miller, followed by 45-1 longshot She Knows It All (Ryan Stahl) in third.   Ronnie Burke harnessed another filly--this one a trotter--to another track record performance and also equaled the world record for a 2-year-old trotting filly on a half-mile oval as Merry Ann trotted to a 1:56 clocking in the first of three $40,000 OSS events. The 1-9 favorite used a front-stepping performance with Chris Page in the sulky for owners Burke Racing, Knox Services and Weaver Bruscemi as she notched her third win in five tries. This homebred daughter by Southwind Spirit-Witty Girl-SJ's Photo also captured Leg Two in 1:57.4. I'malovelylady was second at 11-1 for Anthony MacDonald while 10-1 Ozma got up for third with Aaron Merriman doing the driving. Burke continued his dominance as his Pinknperfect captured the second $50,000 OSS for 2-year-old pacing fillies in 1:52.4, holding off a pair of determined rivals at the wire. Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., steered the 7-1 daughter by Well Said-Pink Camo-Pine Valley for Burke Racing, S. Jefferis, J. Smith and Weaver Bruscemi as she captured her first OSS contest. Bred by Rtk Racing, Pinknperfect upped her career earnings to $37,500. Leave Her Wild was second for Mike Wilder at 3-1 while 9-5 Gucci was a close third for Aaron Merriman. My Jazz cruised to a front-end victory for driver Anthony MacDonald and trainer Jason McGinnis in 1:57.1, a new lifetime mark, in the second OSS division for 2-year-old trotting fillies. The daughter of My MVP, out of the Incredible Abe mare Loving Jazz left the gate at 3-1 odds, besting 45-1 rival I Am Winning (Brett Miller) easily and 10-1 Fiesty Pistol (Aaron Merriman) in late stretch. My Jazz, who was bred by Jake Wickey, Jr., had finished third in Leg One and fifth in Leg Two of this series. Herculisa captured the third OSS trotting test handily, looking much the best for driver Brett Miller as the 1-5 favorite and stopping the clock in 1:56.1. The daughter of My MVP, out of the Andover Hall mare Herculotte Hanover is owned by the Jesmeral Stable and trained by Virgil Morgan, Jr. She has won both previous OSS legs, in 1:58.1 and 1:56.2 and pushed her career earnings to $61,812 with this latest triumph. Herculisa was bred by Billy Walters, Joe McLead and Up Front Racing. Celebrate With Me (Kurt Sugg) was second best at 5-1 with 20-1 Ciao Baby Hall getting up for third with Aaron Merriman at the lines. by Kim Rinker, Ohio Standardbred Development Administrator 

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Trainers Ron Burke and Nancy Takter each accounted for two $30,000  harness racing divisions of a Pennsylvania All-Stars event for two-year-old pacing colts during a Sunday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with Burke sending out the fastest two winners and Takter harnessing victorious sons of Always B Miki. Fulsome, a colt by Betting Line - Triple V Hanover, was much better in his second purse start to break his maiden and win the fastest of the five All-Stars sections. Moved to the lead in the second quarter by driver Yannick Gingras, the pair came their last split in :27.3 to post a 1:52.2 victory, two lengths clear of Capt Jack Hanover. William Donovan, Thomas Dillon, Purnel & Libby, and Joe Sbrocco co-own the Burke trainee.   The Brigade sent out the 1-2 finishers in the first All-Stars race, as the Sweet Lou - Lucy's Pearl colt Lou's Pearlman followed the cover of fellow 6-5 shot and stablemate Summa Cum Laude late on the backstretch, then finished out his own back half in :54.4 - :27.1 to defeat his barnmate by a half-length in a career best 1:52.4. A winner in the first prelim of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes as well, Lou's Pearlman was driven by Joe Bongiorno in his All-Stars triumph for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Elizabeth Novak, and Howard Taylor.   The Takter-trained Always A Miki squared off against fellow PA Sires winner Bayfield Beach in his division, but after Always A Miki got away with a :57.4 half, there was no catching him in the :55.3 - :27.2 back fractions, completing this mile in 1:53.2 after winning his Sires event a full second faster. The Always B Miki - Beach Gal colt defeated Bayfield Beach by 1¾ lengths; mention should also be mentioned of 59-1 shot Whole Lotta Lou, who came uncovered from seventh and held for third. Dexter Dunn had sulky duty behind the winner for owners Christina Takter, Goran Anderberg, Herb Liverman, and the Rojan Stables.   The Always B Miki - Katie Said colt Monterey Jack made his purse debut a winning one for Nancy Takter, getting a 58.3 half after forcing a lineup from the rail, then jetting home in :55.3 - :27.2 for a new mark of 1:54.1, 3¾ lengths ahead of Batterup Hanover. Yannick Gingras, getting a Sire Stakes victory for both doubling trainers, drove "Jack" to the easy win for Black Horse Racing, Caviart Farms, and John Fielding.   In the other All-Stars event, the Captaintreacherous - Calgary Hanover gelding Chase H Hanover also used the rail to force an early lineup, then sprinted home in :55.1 - :27.1 to take a mark of 1:53.2, 1¾ lengths ahead of Straight Talk. Scott Cox conditions the David Miller-driven winner for himself and co-owner Jason Ash.   The two-year-olds have come to establish their form quickly in Pennsylvania - all five winners were sent off as the posttime betting favorite. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, July 4, 2020 -- Heavily favored It's Academic cruised to a 5-3/4-length victory in Saturday's $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadows. When Sister Sledge and Crucial waltzed to similarly easy wins in the $64,594 filly division -- each in stake-record time -- they gave harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke a Currier & Ives sweep. Burke's big day didn't end there. He started horses in 11 of the card's 15 races and won a remarkable nine of them. It's Academic entered the Currier & Ives off two strong place finishes in Ohio Sires Stakes legs and looked to lay over the field. In this case, looks weren't deceiving, as the son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis floated to the lead and widened at will, even after Gingras had shut him down. Harley K and Coventry Hall completed the ticket. "He's just a real gentleman -- perfect to drive," Gingras said. "Down by the wire, I left him alone. He's a little bit lazy, but he's a nice horse. To be a top colt, he'll have to go a lot faster, but for Ohio and here, he's the perfect horse." Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables campaign It's Academic, who vaulted over $200,000 in lifetime earnings. Following last week's facile victory in her season's debut, Sister Sledge continued to roll through the soft part of her schedule, quarter-poling to the point and scoring in 1:53.2. That eclipsed the stake mark of 1:53.4 established about 15 minutes earlier by Crucial. Last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behind Closedoors will begin a tougher stretch with the July 15 PA Sires Stake leg at Harrah's Philadelphia. Is Sister Sledge where she needs to be to handle more competitive fillies? "She couldn't have been any better today, that's for sure," Gingras said. "It will get tougher; that's coming for sure. There are a lot of good fillies that weren't here today. But her timing is right. She's really good right now." Sister Sledge Sans Defaut (trained by Burke) and Perth Angel De Vie finished second and third, respectively. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Sister Sledge, who now boasts a career bankroll of $584,843. Although Crucial's stake record was fleeting, her win after a quarter-pole move signaled that she might be ready for more. "She had a class edge on these horses for sure," Gingras said. "She's grown since last year, of course, and she's stronger. I thought she was very professional today." Petey Sarah and Dune Hill rounded out the ticket. In keeping with Burke's huge day, he swept the top three spots in this split. Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, now has banked $159,587 for Burke Racing Stable, Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. Dave Palone collected four wins Saturday while Dan Charlino and Jim Pantaleano enjoyed triples. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when 59 freshman filly trotters will make their stakes debut in a pair of events: a $210,221 PASS and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake. In addition, the 15-race card will feature a $9,712.33 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Trainer Ron Burke, building on his victory with Backstreet Shadow in the Roll With Joe Pace at Tioga in the afternoon, unleashed a trio of quality sophomore stakes fillies who were all victorious in their 2020 harness racing debuts Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Most impressive was the Muscle Hill trotting filly Sans Defaut, who lived up to her name (which translates from the French as "flawless") while taking a new mark of 1:53.2. Sans Defaut made a second move uncovered, went to the lead nearing headstretch, and finished well in hand for driver Matt Kakaley and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby. Most of the ownership of Sans Defaut also own the Father Patrick filly Crucial, who worked to the lead early, rated the half, then powered home to a 1:55.4 victory. Burke / Weaver-Bruscemi and Silva-Silva/ Purnel & Libby share ownership of the fast miss with William Donovan. The Burke Brigade also revealed its pacing potential when the Sweet Lou filly Shouldabeenatd equaled her lifetime mark of 1:52.2 in his first 2020 purse start. Shouldabeenatd flashed home in :55 while rallying out of the pocket and winning under a hold for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and the "core" Burke / Weaver-Bruscemi partnership. Another impressive sophomore returnee was the Bolt The Duer gelding Blank Stare, who moved to the lead in front of the stands then motored home in :55 - :27.1 to take a new mark of 1:51.2. John Butenschoen conditions the promising three-year-old for Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, James Crawford IV, and In Over My Head Stable. Top purse event was a $14,000 mare pace, and the veteran McArdle mare Lispatty did not let a long uncovered journey bother her, going her last half in :54.2 coverless to win in 1:52.4. Driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera have been an overpowering duo as eastern Pennsylvania racing resumes as Lispatty pushed her earnings over $925,000 for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen. PHHA / Pocono

Harness racing trainer Ron Burke in a great interview over a few wines with Ryan Clements. Ron Burke has won more than 10,000 races and purses in excess of $200 million. Click here for the one and a half hour interview. For more interviews with Ryan Clements with harness racing people click on this link

Freehold Raceway will celebrate the harness racing luck of the Irish on Friday the 13th this year, when they play host to the annual St. Patrick's Day Pace.   The race is scheduled as the fourth on the ten-race program. As usual, the race features a lineup of all Irish drivers.   The field, from the rail out, consists of Classic River, with George Brennan, JV'z Dream, with Ron Burke, Happilyeverfaster, for Jim Whelan, Anotherprettyface, with last year's winner, Jack Killeen, Our Royal Majesty, for Jack Baggitt Jr, Nora's Tandt, with Mike Whelan, Dear Diary, with Irish Joe Hanney, and J Danae, for Anthony Haughan.   Race sponsor, Peter Grandich & Co,. will make a presentation to the winning driver after the race.   The first race on Friday is scheduled for 12:30 PM EDT.   From Freehold Raceway  

LEBANON, OH. - Dylan The Great (Josh Sutton) equaled the harness racing track record for 4-year-old gelding trotters at Miami Valley Raceway on Monday afternoon (March 9), winning a $16,000 top condition event in 1:54.1. The mark was originally established by Another Breath in April of 2017. Sutton was content to allow Insomniac (Brady Galliers), a notoriously fast front-end specialist, to cut the early fractions of :28, :56.3 and 1:24 before reeling him in through the lane for the impressive triumph. Steel Reserve (Tyler Smith) grabbed the show dough. Dylan The Great, a son of Ohio sire Break The Bank K, banked $101,462 as a sophomore and now has one win, one second and one third in three starts to commence his 2020 campaign. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J & T Silva-Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi. Racing resumes Tuesday (March 10) with a 2:05 p.m. matinee at Miami Valley. Features will be a $25,000 Open Trot, the $25,000 championship of the Ray Paver Sr. Memorial Series, a mid-range $12,000 condition event raced at 1-1/4 miles, and a 5/8ths mile dash for $8000 claimers. From Miami Valley Raceway    

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