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Burke, Palone Behind 'Lou' 100%; Campbell To Steer Thinking Out Loud

Published: July 19, 2012 10:56 am ET

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So far in 2012, Sweet Lou, harness racing's top two-year-old pacer last season, hasn’t been able to match the performances he flashed in the marquee events of last year. This season he has finished fourth as the favourite in the North America Cup, and fifth as the big threat in last week’s $600,000 Meadowlands Pace, but that doesn’t mean trainer Ron Burke would characterize his performances as disappointing.

“I might be disappointed with the results, but I’m not disappointed with the horse,” Burke said. “In the Meadowlands Pace, he was actually ninth when they turned for home. I especially liked the last 100 yards --- he was pacing as fast as anybody. That leads me to believe he’s rounding into form. I was very happy with that."

Burke went on to state that Sweet Lou has “been a little bit unlucky, and he might not be as sharp as he was. But my horses usually get better as the year goes on.”

Sweet Lou will have a chance to atone big time by winning the $600,000 Delvin Miller Adios, the signature race of his home track, the Meadows. The son of Yankee Cruiser--Sweet Future has drawn Post 4 in Saturday’s first elimination, which will head to post as Race 4. The top four finishers in each elim will advance to the final, which is set for the following Saturday afternoon (July 28).

It won’t be easy for the hometown hopeful, as the first elim has come up extraordinarily tough. Starting outside Sweet Lou will be Hurrikane Kingcole (Post 7), who captured the Meadowlands Pace consolation in a sizzling 1:47.3; Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance (Post 8), and North America Cup champ Thinking Out Loud (Post 9). Sweet Lou has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favourite.

Burke has been the leading trainer in the sport for the last several years, and his stable won the Adios orchids in 2007 with May June Character; in fact, the stable enjoyed a one-two-three sweep that year. But Burke was assistant to his father, Mickey, for that triumph. If Sweet Lou can pull off an Adios victory for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phillip Collura, it would be the first with Ron Burke’s name on the trainer line.

He’ll have the services of Dave Palone, harness racing’s all-time 'winningest' driver, who, as Burke, isn’t down on Sweet Lou.

“I’m even higher on him now than I was before the Meadowlands Pace,” Palone said. “He was in a position where he couldn’t win, and he still raced beautifully.”

Burke has another shot at the orchids with Breakin The Law, who will start from Post 5 in the second elim (Race 6). The Artiscape-Arls Troublemaker gelding won eight of his first 10 starts this year, including a sweep of the Spring Survivor Series at the Meadowlands.

“He’s been super-consistent this year, but he doesn’t like half-mile tracks,” Burke said. “If he catches the right position, he could make the final.”

But the team of Sweet Lou, Burke, Palone and the home court edge should be formidable.

“This crop of three-year-olds may be the best in recent memory,” Burke said. “I think we’ll see a lot of ‘take your turn.’ We hope Sweet Lou will come along, and maybe we can race him a little more aggressively.”

First post for the Adios eliminations card, which also features a pair of $300,000 (est.) Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (three-year-old filly pace, two-year-old colt and gelding pace), is 6:55 p.m.

Adios Driver Notes: Now confirmed for the elims are the following driving assignments: Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell; One Through Ten, Ron Pierce; Bettors Edge, Daniel Dube.

Revised elim fields, with updated drivers, appear below.

Elim 1
(Race 4)

(Post Position - Head Number - Horse - Listed Driver - Morning Line)
1 - 1 - Escape The News - David Miller - 10-1
2 - 2 - EZ Noah - Dave Palone - 8-1
3 - 3 - Special Forces - Dave Palone - 8-1
4 - 4 - Sweet Lou - Dave Palone - 3-1
5 - 5 - Bakin On The Beach - Jim Morrill Jr. - 6-1
6 - 1A - One Through Ten - Ron Pierce - 10-1
7 - 6 - Hurrikane Kingcole - Daniel Dube - 9-2
8 - 7 - A Rocknroll Dance - Yannick Gingras - 7-2
9 - 8 - Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell - 10-1

Elim 2
(Race 6)

(Post Position - Head Number - Horse - Listed Driver - Morning Line)
1 - 2 - Bolt The Duer - Mark MacDonald - 7-2
2 - 3 - Star Recruit - Mike Wilder - 6-1
3 - 4 - McAttaboy - David Miller - 10-1
4 - 1 - All Star Legend - Jim Morrill Jr. - 5-2
5 - 5 - Breakin The Law - Dave Palone - 8-1
6 - 6 - Ezpass Hanover - Brian Zendt - 8-1
7 - 7 - Hillbilly Hanover - Ron Pierce - 10-1
8 - 8 - Dapper Dude - John Campbell - 9-2
9 - 1A - Bettors Edge - Daniel Dube - 5-2


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