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Burke Confident Heading Into Final

Published: January 19, 2012 11:20 am ET

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Westwardho Hanover was heavily favoured going into the first and second legs of the Willowdale Pacing Series, and with the $100,000 final scheduled for this Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack, trainer Ron Burke expects to see an action-packed race.

After a pair of third-place finishes in both legs, Burke still likes his chances with the son of Dragon Again.

“I thought he raced very well," Burke said. "He was just in impossible spots. It’s been a tough series. I think you are going to see multiple horses taking their shot [in the final]. There will be plenty of action in here, so I think that will help my horse.”

Westwardho Hanover has assembled a lifetime record of 10-5-8 from 30 outings with $597,320 in career earnings. He boasts a 1:49.1 speed badge, which was earned in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs.

The four-year-old will make his third trip to the Toronto oval this season. He has trucked back to Burke’s stable in Pennsylvania after each leg, but the horseman feels the travel won’t be an issue for his pupil.

“He’s a pretty calm horse and I don’t think it bothers him,” he explained.

Brett Miller will also make the trek north from his Pennsylvania home to drive the bay for the third straight week. Westwardho Hanover, who is owned by Westward Ho Stable of Frederickstown, Pennsylvania, will start from Post 6 in Race 9.

“It is a good spot because it gives him options,” Burke said in regard to the post position. “He can leave or race from the back, so it really does put him in a perfect spot, because he doesn’t have to commit to either way.”

But, Burke is hopeful that Westwardho Hanover can get away near the front.

“I think he is better more forwardly-placed, and with a race like this, I think here is a better chance that we can get him closer to the front than he has been the last couple weeks,” the trainer explained.

After the Willowdale, Burke plans to send Westwardho Hanover to the Meadowlands Racetrack to compete in the Aquarius Series, which would then be followed by some much-deserved time off.

Also on Saturday night’s 12-race card, 10 three and four-year-old colts and geldings will contest the $50,000 final of the Snowshoe Pacing Series, which has been programmed as Race 6.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Woodbine, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Racetrack.


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