It would come as no surprise to trainer Ron Burke if Rockin Ron gets on a roll.
Rockin Ron heads to Saturday’s $615,000 final of the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk Racetrack off of a career-best 1:47.2 win in his elimination last weekend. The five-year-old gelding will start the final from Post 4 with driver Louis Philippe Roy.
For the year, Rockin Ron has won six of 20 races and earned $243,945. He has finished off the board only twice in his most recent nine starts. He has posted two victories, four seconds and a third during that span. Prior to his Canadian Pacing Derby elimination, Rockin Ron was second to Dealt A Winner in the Roll With Joe Pace at Tioga Downs.
“It does not surprise me that he went that mile,” Burke said about Rockin Ron’s elimination performance, which was three-fifths of a second from equalling the fastest mile in Canadian history. “He’s gotten on rolls before where he’s won a lot of races in a row and beaten really good horses.
“Since (early July) he’s been consistently getting better. People forget, he beat Wiggle It Jiggleit twice last year. He’s not just a horse, he’s a pretty nice kind of horse.”
Rockin Ron won 11 consecutive races after joining Burke’s stable in November 2015. The streak culminated with his victory over Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year, in the 2016 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. Rockin Ron’s time of 1:50.1 was the fastest ever by an older pacer on a Canadian half-mile track.
A son of Real Desire out of the mare Im All A Roan, Rockin Ron has won 26 of 76 career races and earned $759,773. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and RTC Stables.
Burke, who won the Canadian Pacing Derby in 2012 with Foiled Again and in 2010 with Won The West, will also send out All Bets Off and Check Six in Saturday’s 10-horse final.
All Bets Off finished second to Keystone Velocity in his Canadian Pacing Derby elimination. Check Six was fourth in the elimination won by his stablemate Rockin Ron.
The six-year-old All Bets Off, a son of Bettors Delight out of Armbro Penelope, has won 25 of 94 career races and earned $2.58 million. Among his three victories this season was the Battle of Lake Erie in June. He will start from Post 6 Saturday with driver Yannick Gingras.
“I like his spot,” said Burke, who trains the horse for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and The Panhellenic Stable. “The six hole gives Yannick options; he can go either way. I think he’s got a good chance. The horse has been better and better. I’m very happy with him.”
Check Six, a four-year-old horse, won the Sam McKee Memorial and Dan Patch Stakes in his two starts prior to the Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations. He will start from Post 10, the outermost position, in the final and will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky.
For his career, Check Six has won 18 of 47 races and earned $1.53 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Bill Switala, and Jim Martin. He is a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of Southwind Vanna.
“I thought he was disappointing (in his elimination), but when you look back at it he just got into a bad spot where he had to leave and then he had to come first up against a horse that was going a great mile,” Burke said.
“I like that we were able to get Timmy. He’s going to need it to be a ‘Gong Show’ for him to probably win, but when you don’t have a horse that stands out above all the others, and I don’t think we do, there should be plenty of movement. I think you have a bunch of horses that can win.”
The Canadian Pacing Derby, first raced in 1936, is the oldest stakes race in Canadian harness racing. Mohawk’s card Saturday also includes Champlain Stakes action for two-year-old male and female pacers as well as the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters.
Following is the field for the Canadian Pacing Derby, in post-position order with listed drivers and trainers. Keystone Velocity was a $40,000 supplemental entry. The race is No. 7 on the card, with a 9:30 p.m. estimated post time.
1. McWicked-David Miller-Casie Coleman
2. Keystone Velocity-Simon Allard-Rene Allard
3. Easy Lover Hanover-Doug McNair-Ben Wallace
4. Rockin Ron-Louis Philippe Roy-Ron Burke
5. Rockeyed Optimist-Brett Miller-Steve Elliott
6. All Bets Off-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke
7. Nirvana Seelster-Trevor Henry-Bill Budd
8. Dealt A Winner-David Miller-Mark Silva
9. Sintra-Jody Jamieson-Gaetan Hebert
10. Check Six-Tim Tetrick-Ron Burke
To view the entries for Saturday's card, click on one of the following links:
► Saturday Past Performances Lines - Mohawk Racetrack (courtesy TrackIT)
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.