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Lous Pearlman Prevails In Thrilling Little Brown Jug Finish

Published: September 23, 2021 10:00 am ET

Last Comment: September 24, 2021 8:34 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Lous Pearlman nosed out favoured elimination winner Perfect Sting in a photo finish to take the $397,080 final of the 76th Little Brown Jug on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Delaware County Fairgrounds.

With Lous Pearlman's victory, trainer Ron Burke capped off an incredible week at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds that included winning the Jugette with Scarlett Hanover, earning a record 13 training wins during Little Brown Jug week, and watching his parents Mickey and Sylvia Burke honoured as Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductees.

"Yeah, but I probably lost 15 races too so I doubt anybody else has done that either," said a humble Burke from the Little Brown Jug winner's circle. "I raced a lot and I expect to win some, but it's been a magical week, you know, it's just incredible. I'm so proud of this horse, it's a homebred — our sire, our mare. We get a lot of people telling us that we're gonna go broke breeding to Sweet Lou, I don't think it's going to happen. I'm really happy and I'm proud of the guys."

Burke combined with driver Yannick Gingras for their third Little Brown Jug victory. They teamed up for their first win in 2014 with Limelight Beach and also won the 2017 edition with Filibuster Hanover.

After winning his elimination heat from the outside post, 3-5 bettors’ choice Perfect Sting and driver David Miller got the inside for the final and lined the field up in post position order through a :28.1 opening quarter. Lous Pearlman, who persisted on the front in his elimination, followed in the two-hole for Gingras before forced to move early at the :57.2 mid-way mark as the backfield moved underway.

Perfect Sting continued to lead the way into the backstretch with Lous Pearlman applying pressure before being joined on the outside by a three-wide Whichwaytothebeach (Andrew McCarthy). They raced three-across past three-quarters in 1:25.1 and turned for home with the elimination winners pulling ahead to continue their duel down the lane.

With a final surge just before the finish, Lous Pearlman nosed out Perfect Sting for the triumph in 1:52.4. Whichwaytothebeach finished third 1-3/4 lengths behind and just ahead of Ill Drink To That (Tim Tetrick), who followed his cover and closed along the pylons down the stretch.

"I would have rather been on the front [instead of the two-hole] but that's just the way that the cards were dealt,” said Gingras after the race. “I wasn't going to get locked in, Ronnie and I talked a little bit about it before the race...I wasn't so keen about pulling the deuce that early, but he seemed pretty confident so I went with his gut feeling.

"All the credit goes to the Burke Brigade; they've had him on his toes for over a month now and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year with him."

Lous Pearlman paid $5.20 to win as the 8-5 second choice.

With the addition of Lasix after his sixth-place finish in the Adios this summer, Lous Pearlman has reeled off five straight wins including a victory in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. He is now seven-for-14 on the season and boasts a lifetime record reading 12-1-3 from 25 starts and earnings soaring over $700,000.

The Sweet Lou-Lucys Pearl colt is owned by breeders Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Elizabeth Novak along with partner Howard Taylor.

"We've got the best trainer in the world, the best driver in the world and the best sire in the world,” said Mark Weaver in the winner’s circle.

"I really don't even have any words for it,” added Michael Bruscemi. “It's nothing you can dream of, and I'm real glad I'm part of it."

The top four finishers from the two elimination heats contested earlier on the mega 20-race card comprised the Jug field. Recaps of the eliminations are below. Click on the following links for undercard coverage, including the Miss Versatility Trotting Series final and other stakes action.

Field Set For The Little Brown Jug

Elimination winners Lous Pearlman and Perfect Sting lead the way to the $397,080 final of the Little Brown Jug, which will close out Thursday’s 20-race program at Delaware County Fairgrounds.

Lous Pearlman ($3.40) stretched his win streak to four with a convincing victory in the $132,360 first elimination of the 2021 Little Brown Jug on Thursday (Sept. 24) at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

Leaving from post two, Lous Pearlman was pointed to the front as expected by driver Yannick Gingras. The 3/5 public choice allowed Mysweetboymax (Aaron Merriman) to clear to the top for a brief moment, then pulled the pocket to retake the lead through a :28.1 opening quarter.

Birthday boy Joe Bongiorno, seeking a Little Brown Jug repeat with Town Gossip, advanced first up from the back of the pack to flush second choice Whichwaytothebeach (Andy McCarthy) out from third at the three-eighths mark. The half was reached in :57.4, with Gingras and Lous Pearlman controlling the tempo and Whichwaytothebeach first up.

The front pair of Lous Pearlman and Whichwaytothebeach continued to trade blows down the backside, with the third station tripped in 1:26. Those two sophomores picked up the pace and started to separate from the field, but Whichwaytothebeach started to feel the sting of that overland attack turning for home. With the earplugs still in, Lous Pearlman coasted home nearly two lengths to the good in 1:54. Whichwaytothebeach was second with Mysweetboymax and Town Gossip also advancing to the Little Brown Jug Final after finishing third and fourth, respectively.

"The horse couldn't have trained any better here on Monday," said assistant trainer Mickey Burke Jr. after the win. "He did everything we wanted him to, he's had a good week and the plugs were still in today so we're really pleased with how he went."

Lous Pearlman (Sweet Lou - Lucys Pearl) notched his sixth win of the year for trainer Ron Burke, who co-owns the colt as Burke Racing Stable LLC along with Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Elizabeth Novak and Howard Taylor.

Heavy favourite Perfect Sting and driver David Miller overcame the outside post position to win the second $132,360 elimination for the Little Brown Jug in 1:54.1.

"It's always a surprise [to win a Little Brown Jug elimination], but he's talented, he fought today and I feel good about our chances," said trainer Joe Holloway after the first heat. "David said he didn’t have any worries [about the outside post] and he's taking a shot. I'm happy we did."

Leaving from the outside post six, Miller fired Perfect Sting into third behind the inside starters, with Cane Pace winner Rockyroad Hanover (Dexter Dunn) leading the way and Messenger Stakes champion American Courage (Matt Kakaley) following in the pocket through a :28 opening quarter.

Miller, one of the winningest drivers in the history of the Jug with five prior victories, confidently sent Perfect Sting after Rockyroad Hanover coming off the turn as they headed in front of the grandstand the first time on the way to the half in :57.4, with Ill Drink To That following his cover for Tim Tetrick and Water Sports Teen (Joe Bongiorno) third-over.

They raced head-to-head into the backstretch before Perfect Sting collared Rockyroad Hanover at the 1:25.4 third quarter station and drew clear. Ill Drink To That, who was left uncovered, chased the winner home, finishing a half-length behind in second. Water Sports Teen finished third, just ahead of Bayfield Beach (Yannick Gingras) to secure the remaining spots in the final.

Fresh off his runner-up finish in the North America Cup earlier this month, Perfect Sting paid $3.60 to win.

The homebred Always B Miki-Shebestingin colt earned his fifth win in 11 starts this year and now boasts a lifetime record reading 15-5-1 from 21 races with earnings topping $1.3 million for owners Brittany Farms and Val Dor Farms.

Here's the field in post position order for the $397,080 final of the 76th Little Brown Jug:

1. Perfect Sting (David Miller)
2. Lous Pearlman (Yannick Gingras)
3. Whichwaytothebeach (Andy McCarthy)
4. Ill Drink To That (Tim Tetrick)
5. Water Sports Teen (Joe Bongiorno)
6. Mysweetboymax (Aaron Merriman)
7. Bayfield Beach (Chris Page)
8. Town Gossip (Dexter Dunn)

September 24, 2021 - 8:34 pmAnd the curse

Mike Mobley SAID...

And the curse continues....Perfect Sting has still not been the first horse to cross the finish line in any race this year in which the purse was $100,000 or more.

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