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Gingras Training For Burke

Published: January 9, 2016 9:03 am ET

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Trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras have become one of harness racing’s most potent partnerships, and now there’s another Gingras on the team.

Yannick’s Quebec-based father, Raymond, has four Burke horses in his care at a farm near Joliette, including millionaire pacer Atochia, winner of the $455,000 Levy final at Yonkers in 2012.

All have been away from the track a while, with various ailments, and his job is to ready them for an eventual return to the races.

One of the four, six-year-old Muscle Mass trotter Hunkofburninlove, won at Rideau Carleton on Dec. 27, giving the 63-year-old horseman his first and only driving win of 2015.

“My wife (Manon Levasseur) has had serious health problems so I basically dropped everything three years ago,” said Gingras. “She’s doing better and better since spring so I felt I could get back into horses but I wasn’t sure how. I didn’t have the finances to buy stock just to race at Rideau and Hippodrome 3R. Then Ron Burke asked if I’d take these horses for him, try to get them back, he’ll come for them when they’re ready. There’s any number of people in the U.S. who could do this for him, but he’s giving me a chance, helping me a lot, and I appreciate it. I’ve been working seven days a week with horses all my life. I don’t mind putting in the time. It’s what I know.”

Gingras, an accomplished horseman with more than 1,400 driving wins and 260 training victories, said the Rideau win was satisfying, but he gets as much joy just from qualifying them. These are, after all, horses who’ve had problems and need to be brought back carefully. Nine-year-old trotter Dontgetinhisway, for instance, was away from the races two-and-a-half years before he qualified him last month at Rideau. Both Dontgetinhisway and Hunkofburninlove are in-to-go at Rideau on Sunday.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)

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