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Taking Advantage Of An Absent Rival

Published: May 11, 2018 10:31 am ET

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With last year’s Dan Patch Award winner and Pennsylvania champion Manchego not entered, the field for Saturday’s $168,237 PASS at The Meadows has the look of understudies waiting to step up to starring roles. Ron Burke thinks at least one of those three-year-old filly trotters will rise to the occasion.

“We’re all up the river without a paddle against her (Manchego),” Burke says, “but somebody might come out of the woodwork. They won’t be giving money away.”

Burke will send out two of the potential stars in the stake known as the Stenographer -— Front Circle (race 3, post 6, Dave Palone) and DBomb (race 4, post 1, Aaron Merriman). Saturday’s card also features a pair of total-pool guarantees — $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 8-12). First post is 1:05 PM.

DBomb, a $65,000 yearling acquisition for Bill Donovan, banked $64,212 at two despite racing through injuries.

“She underachieved last year, but maybe we underestimated how much her injuries bothered her,” Burke says of the daughter of Explosive Matter-Machita. “This year, she’s starting to act like the filly we figured she would be. I think she’ll be a better horse.”

DBomb kicked off her sophomore campaign in outstanding fashion, nailed at the wire by Special Miss in the Lady Suffolk at Freehold. That outing demonstrated her speed and ability to get away well from the rail.

“I don’t think the rail will be an issue,” Burke confirms. “She’s pretty solid mentally.”

A daughter of Muscle Hill-Sheena Hall, Front Circle earned $80,152 last year for Burke Racing Stable; Silva, Purnel & Libby; Michelle Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, by turns brilliant and green. She’ll be making her seasonal debut after a pair of qualifiers, and Burke thinks she may be ready to justify her $110,000 yearling price tag.

“She’s from a really good family,” he says. “She had points of greatness last year and points of something less than greatness. She has a lot of natural ability but maybe could be a little grittier.

“She came back well this year, and I expect that she’s ready to race. She may grow into her talent this year.”

(The Meadows)

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