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Burke Barn Loaded For Bear In Levy

5-2-09 Levy finale Foiled Again .jpg

Published: April 19, 2010 7:39 pm ET

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As the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for older pacers at Yonkers Raceway heads into the final leg this weekend before the final on May 1, two horses from the Ron Burke Stable, Foiled Again and Atochia are at the top of the standings.

Foiled Again, a seven-year-old gelding, is the defending Levy Series champion and a son of Dragon Again, as is Atochia.

Of the 46 horses competing in the series, the two are tied in the lead with two wins and a second-place finishes each, good for 250 points. As of Monday, Burke was not quite ready to enter both for this weekend’s leg. Mr Wiggles, Southwind Lynx, Poker Hat, Tenant In Chief, and River Shark all had at least 200 points in the series, too.

“We haven’t made our decision yet,” Burke said. “If every possible worst-case scenario happens, we figured out the points and it takes almost a perfect storm, but we could end up eighth and ninth and not racing, so we haven’t decided.”

Burke said Atochia is more likely to race than his stablemate Foiled Again.

“Foiled’s the only one we’d give a week off,” Burke said. “The other one (Atochia) doesn’t mind. He gives half an effort all the time, anyhow. He’s just lazy; he phones in half his races. He’s one of the most talented horses we’ve had. He just doesn’t care to participate all that often. Everything he does is under duress. He’d rather do nothing at all.”

Burke says time is resulting in a bit more workmanlike attitude from Atochia.

“He has improved as gets older and I do think that this year maybe he’s up to 75 percent effort now,” Burke said. “He will pass (another horse) a little bit more. Last week (in a second-place finish), he was revved and ready to go by someone. Then he got halfway out and the other horse fought him a little bit and he just backed down. He’s not going to overcome adversity. He too much likes to be handed everything and he’ll settle for second. He doesn’t have killer instincts.”

That’s a sharp contrast to Foiled Again, whose next start will be the 98th of his career.

“Foiled will fight tooth and nail, every step he has to, to hang on,” Burke said. “The other horse? Second’s OK with him, he doesn’t see why you’re pushing him into something.”

Jason Bartlett has driven both horses throughout the series, but if Atochia and Foiled Again both advance to the final, Burke will call on the leading driver at The Meadows, Dave Palone.

“I’m pretty sure David Palone’s going to come drive Atochia,” Burke said. “He actually knows him and a bunch of his little quirks, like he passes better going left than right, and he really doesn’t like to be hit with a whip at all. He has his own ways of doing things.”

In addition to having a willing attitude, Burke says Foiled Again doesn’t seem to be slowed down by a long racing season.

“The first year we raced him, after we bought him (in the early part of 2009), basically every time they opened the box someplace, we put him in,” Burke said. “At the end of the year, we were embarrassed. I said, ‘Do you realize we raced this horse 40 times this year?’ He never gives a bad effort, so you get used to saying, ‘Oh, he was good, put him back in.’ He gets breaks now every year. Since we figured out that he’s a better horse than we thought, he gets a break. He’s just coming off a three-month break.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S.
Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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