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Burke Reaches 6,000 Career Wins

Published: May 27, 2015 10:51 pm ET

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North America's leading trainer Ron Burke celebrated his 6,000th career win amidst Wednesday night's New York Sire Stakes at Buffalo Raceway.

Three-year-old pacing gelding K Rock ($2.90) captured his $39,900 division to propel Burke to new heights in his record-breaking career.

K Rock had to tussle with We Think Alike in the opening panel scrum and that proved to be the right move. Posting fractions of :27, :56.1 and 1:24.2, K Rock never looked back and disposed of the remaining six entrants easily by three and a quarter lengths in 1:54.

"I didn't want to sit third and get caught in traffic," winning driver Matt Kakaley said of the decision to send K Rock to the top."

Enjoying a four-length advantage at the top of the lane, Kakaley admitted that K Rock was throttled down in the drive for the wire.

"He was kind of spent, but still raced good. I think a 1:24.2 mark to the three-quarter pole is a pretty good time for this track."

Southwind Masimo showed some good closing speed to take the place position while Masterson (Jim Morrill Jr.) rallied for the show spot.

K Rock (Rock N Roll Hanover-Sunduel A) is a three-year-old gelding that is owned by Eugene Kurzrok. The win was his second in four starts in 2015 and pushed his seasonal winnings to $38,862 and lifetime earnings to $74,688.

It was just last June that Burke reached the 5,000-win milestone. Continuing to win races at a stunning pace, Burke's stable earned 1,091 victories in 2014 and one-upped his own single-season win record from the previous year. The Pennsylvania horseman also smashed his own single-season earnings record, topping $28.5 million, and became the first trainer to surpass $100 million in career earnings.

In other Sire Stakes action, Lone Survivor ($5.40) cruised to an easy six-length victory in 1:53.4.

"I expected him to do this," driver Brett Miller said after he guided Lone Survivor to the fastest time in the evening's three divisions.

Miller took the blame for Lone Survivor's fifth-place finish last week in Sire Stakes competition at Tioga Downs and was more than ready for redemption.

"I drove this horse so bad last week," Miller said. "He's a nice colt and I knew he was ready tonight."

Sitting fourth headed down the backstretch, Miller went three-wide and Lone Survivor paced away from the field. Quickly opening up a five-length edge at the top of the stretch, Lone Survivor finished with a six length advantage over runner-up Artistic Major (Pat Lachance) and North America Cup eligible Americanprimetime (Rick Dane Jr.) at the wire.

"I wasn't worried at all going up the backstretch," Miller said about the final half-mile. "I was feeling good about him. I just let him go and he did his thing," added Miller about Lone Survivor's big backside move.

Trained by Sam De Pinto, Lone Survivor (Art Major-Wenditone) earned his first victory in three seasonal starts. He is now a winner of $21,532 this year and $87,457 lifetime. He is owned by Shannon and Nicholas De Pinto, Howard Taylor, and the Kovach Stables LLC.

In the other division, J Eagle Feather went gate-to-wire and held on to beat the highly-regarded Burke trainee Sicily by a neck in 1:56. A final sizzling quarter-mile of :26.4 secured the win for J Eagle Feather.

Using some soft splits of :29.3, :59.2 and 1:29.2, driver Jim Morrill Jr. said in the winner's circle, "We got away with some cheap fractions. He's never cut the mile before and still is very green. The only time I asked of him was in the last quarter mile and he responded."

Sicily (Kakaley), a North America Cup contender, took the hard-luck second-place position while Maurice (Lachance) was third.

Trained by Linda Toscano and owned by KJ Stables LLC, J Eagle Feather (Bettors Delight-Town Feather) picked up a nice cheque for $19,600 for his first winning effort. He has been in the money three times in four career appearances.

In the $15,000 Excelsior 'A' Series, Nobettorplacetobe tripped the timer in a solid 1:54.3 time to register the $7.20 decision for driver John Cummings Jr. In the other leg, Coaster (Kakaley) posted a popular $2.20 score in 1:58.1 giving Burke another victory.

Tonite We Rock covered the mile in 1:57.4 for driver Jack Flanigen to take the $6,800 Excelsior 'B' Series event.

Kakaley and Morrill Jr. each finished the evening with driving triples.

(With files from Buffalo Raceway)

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