Burke: ‘Ron’s Our Best Shot'

Published: July 30, 2015 03:24 pm EDT

“I love him. I think he’s our best shot. He just gets better every time we race him. He’s versatile. He’s a big horse, a strong horse, with a good attitude.”

My Hero Ron could be trainer Ron Burke’s hero with a win in Saturday’s $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids presented by Coors Light at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

Since being purchased in early June by Burke and his racing partners, My Hero Ron has put together a three-race win streak heading to the 49th edition of the event at Burke’s home track. The Burke Stable, which won the 2007 Adios with May June Character, will send three horses into the final, with Cooperstown and Yankee Bounty joining My Hero Ron in the field of nine.

First race post time is 12:20 p.m. Saturday, with the Adios scheduled for approximately 4 p.m.

My Hero Ron, driven by Yannick Gingras, won his Adios elimination by one and a half lengths over Yankee Bounty in 1:50.3. My Hero Ron drew Post 7 for the final and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Gingras piloted Sunfire Blue Chip to the 2013 Adios crown.

Cooperstown also won an Adios elimination with Gingras – at odds of 37-1 – besting Lost For Words and favourite Dudes The Man both by a neck in 1:49.4. Cooperstown, who will be driven by Matt Kakaley in the final, drew Post 4 and is 6-1 on the morning line.

Dudes The Man is the 5-2 morning line favourite in the Adios final after his rally from sixth place in his elimination fell just short. Dudes The Man, who finished second in the Meadowlands Pace on July 18, will start from Post 2 with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Jessica Okusko.

National Seelster, who won the remaining of the three Adios eliminations in 1:51.1, drew Post 9 for the final and is 6-1 early for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Chris Ryder.

My Hero Ron, who has won five of 19 career races and earned $139,128, is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Frank Baldachino.

He won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on June 6 in his first start for the ‘Burke Brigade’ and last year finished second in divisions of the Tompkins-Geers, Historic-Goshen Cup, and Arden Downs stakes for then-trainer Erv Miller.

“I love him,” Burke said about the gelding, who is a son of Well Said out of the mare Erma La Em. “I think he’s our best shot. He just gets better every time we race him. He’s versatile. He’s a big horse, a strong horse, with a good attitude.”

Yankee Bounty won last year’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for two-year-old male pacers and finished his campaign with eight victories in 10 starts. This season he is winless in 10 races. His second-place finish to My Hero Ron in their Adios elimination was Yankee Bounty’s best finish since a runner-up effort on May 28 in a division of the PASS.

Driver Brett Miller and Yankee Bounty will start the Adios final from Post 1 and are 15-1 on the morning line.

“He’s definitely underachieved,” said Burke, who trains the gelded son of Yankee Cruiser-Bootleg Yankee for the Yankee Bounty Partnership and Frank Chick. “He was the best two-year-old in Pennsylvania last year. Other horses got better (this year) and he didn’t seem to. But last week also was a little bit of a return to form.”

Cooperstown has won only four of 23 lifetime races, but hit the board a total of 16 times on his way to earnings of $178,687. Last year, the son of Four Starzzz Shark-American Charm finished third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and sixth in the Breeders Crown for two-year-old male pacers.

His triumph in his Adios elimination was his first win in stakes company.

Cooperstown, whose mother is a half-sister to multiple Dan Patch Award winner Art Major, is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver-Bruscemi, Keith Pippi, and Michelle Yanek.

“Probably all this year he’s been a little bit of an underachiever, too,” Burke said. “He was third in the (Pennsylvania Sire Stakes) final last year and a Breeders Crown horse and yet he’s had trouble getting out of non-winners of three. He probably should have been racing better. The other day was like a return to form for him as well.”

Following is the Adios field in post order, with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

1. Yankee Bounty, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 15-1
2. Dude’s The Man, Corey Callahan, Jessica Okusko, 5-2
3. Trading Up, Dave Palone, Tony Alagna, 15-1
4. Cooperstown, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1
5. Dreams Beachboy, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 12-1
6. Lost For Words, David Miller, Brian Brown, 5-1
7. My Hero Ron, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1
8. Angelo J Fra, Tony Hall, Norm Parker, 12-1
9. National Seelster, Tim Tetrick, Chris Ryder, 6-1

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

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