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More Than One First For Sweet Lou?

Published: June 11, 2012 2:22 pm ET

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“There’s never been a doubt in my mind that he could pace as fast as we saw him go last Saturday. I don’t think we’ve seen yet how fast he can go.”

When Sweet Lou powers from the gate in Saturday’s $1.5 million final of the Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, he likely will be leaving from post 4 or 3.

Under NA Cup rules, the connections of last week’s elimination winners, Sweet Lou and Dapper Dude, select the post positions of their choice before the balance of the final is drawn. The draw takes place on Tuesday, June 12 at Mohawk Racetrack. Ron Burke, Sweet Lou’s trainer, already is pretty sure of his preferences.

“We’ll probably take post 4,” he said. “If Dapper Dude picks first and takes 4, I’ll take post 3. I want him somewhere where he can sit in the middle of the track and make his own decisions on where he’d like to go.”

If this year's winner does leave from Post 4, it will be the first time that the richest event in Canadian harness racing has a winner from that spot.

In the elim, the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future set a Canadian and track record of 1:47.4 for Dave Palone and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phillip Collura. Yet Burke said he hardly seemed taxed by the effort.

“That’s maybe his best quality — his ability to recover immediately. Two minutes after he’s off the track, you never would know he’d been on the track. I think there are horses that can go with him, but his ability to shut himself down and be at rest will separate him from other horses.”

Following the elim, Burke shipped Sweet Lou, the 2011 Dan Patch awardee who now has 13 wins in 15 career starts, back home to his base near The Meadows. He said he’ll ease Sweet Lou’s usual training regimen before traveling to Mohawk on Thursday.

“We’ll back off training a little bit” Burke said. “Last week, I tuned him up less than other horses. He doesn’t require a ton of work, so I’ll back off even a little more this week. He trains well but not great. But when you put him in a bike, he’ll do things that make you stare and say, ‘Is that even possible?’"

(with files from the Meadows)

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