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Burke Confident With Versado


Published: July 26, 2010 6:33 pm ET

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Ron Burke bought Versado with an eye toward winning the Delvin Miller Adios at The Meadows. After last week’s elimination victory, Burke is one step nearer to realizing the goal.

Versado, driven by Dave Palone, won his elimination by a half-length over Im Gorgeous in 1:51. Nova Artist finished third to also advance to Saturday’s $500,000 Adios final. Also winning elims were Rockin Image and Pang Shui. Rockin Image won by a nose over We Will See in 1:50.2 and Pang Shui was victorious by three-quarters of a length over Whackamole Hanover in 1:52.2.

The win for Versado was his third in a row and fifth in his last six starts. It was his second win in the Burke Stable, which purchased the colt on July 12 from trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and Nancy Vander Heyden. The Burke Stable shares ownership with Mark Weaver, Michael Bruscemi, Howard Taylor, and Edwin Gold.

On June 12, Versado won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Meadows in 1:50.4. Since joining the Burke Stable, he won a sire stakes race at The Meadows in 1:50.3 on July 17.

“He showed the ability to get around the track,” Burke said, referring to the June 12 effort. “Nifty does a great job; you know you’re getting a nice horse that’s well taken care of. We’ve been real happy with him. He seems exactly like we thought he was. He’s a little bit of a trip horse, but he’s sound and willing.”

Versado, who has won seven of 13 races overall this year and earned $127,944, is a son of Dragon Again, out of the mare Beach Jenny, who is a half sister to millionaire mare Stonebridge Kisses. Burke has had success with Dragon Again’s offspring, including recently with millionaire Foiled Again and Atochia.

“Dragon Again is our sire,” Burke said. “They’re our kind of horses. They’re a little bit lazy, but they respond when you ask them to do their work.”

The Burke Stable trained 2007 Adios winner May June Character, but was not among the horse’s New York-based owners. This time, with Versado, it is an all-Pennsylvania group.

“It’s awesome to win this race,” said Burke, who was born in Washington, Pennsylvania and lives in Canonsburg, not far from The Meadows. “It’s our hometown race and this year it would mean even more because these are hometown owners. (Weaver and Bruscemi) are at the races every day. It’s a Pennsylvania-bred (horse) at a Pennsylvania track. It shows what slots can do for a region. Better breeding, better owners and better horses.”

The post position draw for the Adios will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the race book at The Meadows. All media are invited to attend the draw, which also can be accessed via live video streaming at

“We just need to draw inside (post) five, hopefully,” Burke said. “It wouldn’t hurt if (Rockin Image) drew outside the five. My horse is the only one that hit the finish line still fresh. The other horses were fighting not only to win, but they were fighting to make the finals. I like the fact he didn’t have to be used hard to get here.”

Rockin Image won a Meadowlands Pace elimination race and was fourth in the $1 million final on July 17. Delmarvalous, Im Gorgeous, Nova Artist also were Meadowlands Pace finalists. We Will See was second in the $1.5 million North America Cup on June 26 at Mohawk Racetrack.

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

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