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Burke Optimistic For Quick Return

Published: March 31, 2020 10:31 am ET

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The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting industries hard all across the globe. It goes without saying that horsepeople – especially those in the Standardbred industry – need to see live racing return for a myriad of reasons. Trainer Ron Burke is optimistic that the harness racing industry will return to action quicker than most others.

Along with other well-known members of the harness racing industry, Burke recently offered his perspective to the Observer-Reporter, which has run a piece that focuses on the shutdown of live Standardbred racing, and specifically on the Meadows.

According to Burke, live harness racing could be conducted within a realistic framework that a prevailing racing commission would construct. The trainer said that racing “could be done under any system they want, 40 to 50 people. Horses have to exercise anyhow. There are ways. It would take some adjustments. The way we prepare, you’d have to cut the number (of people) and change the way you go to the paddock. You could put the horses together and we could separate people.

“We should be able to get back about the quickest of any industry. We don’t need interaction. People can bet from their phone and on computers. I have a little hope for whatever social-distancing requirements there are, we can manage it.”

Ron Burke, pictured with one of his pupils (Ken Weingartner / USTA)

In addition to speaking with Burke, the Observer-Reporter also touched base with fellow trainers Jim King Jr. and Dirk Simpson, both of whom offered their perspectives on the situation and updates on their stables.

To read the Observer-Reporter article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from the Observer-Reporter)

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