Sunday, May 25, 2014


Sweet Lou Stands Atop the Free For All Pacers


East Rutherford, NJ, May 24,2014--Sweet Lou overpowered a stellar field of fast class pacers to win the $50,000 second leg of the TVG Free For All Championship Series in 1:48 on Saturday night at The Meadowlands.

Ron Pierce was in the driver's seat again and used Sweet Lou's speed to get into the race early from post ten, tucking third as first Golden Receiver then Bolt The Duer took turns on the lead through the 26.1 opener. Pierce edged Sweet Lou to the outside and had command in a matter of strides, clicking off a half in :54.2 and three quarters in 1:22 before streaking home in 26 flat for the win.

Clear Vision parlayed an uncovered move into the place finish behind his barn mate for Matt Kakaley (who won both ends of tonight's Daily Double). Thinking Out Loud closed to be third with John Campbell aboard and looks like he might be sitting on a big one for conditioner Bob McIntosh.

Now five years of age, Sweet Lou is in career form currently for the Ron Burke stable and the partnership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. The 1:48 mile is a mere fifth of a second off his lifetime best, taken in an elimination for the North America Cup at age three.

Owner Larry Karr mentioned in a post race Bob "Hollywood" Heyden interview that a trip to Tioga Downs for next Sunday's $160,000 Roll With Joe FFA Pace may be the next objective for the partnership's star player.

Doo Wop Hanover exploded in mid-stretch and drew away from the field to win the $48,500 second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the fifth race on Saturday night, May 24, 2014 at the Meadowlands.

Driver John Campbell bided his time with 3-5 favorite Doo Wop Hanover [$3.40], sitting in the outside tier, then fanning out to mid-track in the stretch and blowing by for a two and a quarter length victory in 1:50.4 on a racing surface rated good.

The Steve Elliott trainee put away runner-up Dancin Hill and Rock Out, who was third by three and a quarter lengths. All three top finishers are sons of Rocknroll Hanover.

At two, Doo Wop Hanover finished in-the-money in six of 12 starts and was second to Western Vintage in his 2014 debut last week. The $52,000 Harrisburg Yearling has now earned more than $87,000 for owners Peter Blood of Pompano Beach, FL; Rick Berks of Boca Raton, FL and Gary Piontkowski of North Smithfield, RI.

Sayitall BB and Act Now each paced career best miles in taking their respective $21,000 division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Sayitall BB [$3.20], driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Ron Burke, took the lead at the quarter and drew away to a three length victory in 1:51 flat in the first division, the third race.

The daughter of Tell All –Challo BB picked up her fourth win in six starts this year after winning all five of her outings at two.

Rockingham Park [Rocknroll Hanover] was second best while it was four and a half lengths to Fanticipation [Rocknroll Hanover] in third.

Sayitall BB has now banked more than $60,000 for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA.

Act Now [$2.80], a daughter of Western Ideal-CPA, was a wrapped up winner in 1:50 flat in the second division of three-year-old pacing fillies, the fourth race, finishing four and a half lengths ahead of Blixtra [Rocknroll Hanover]. It was four and three-quarter lengths to Highland Rockstar [Rocknroll Hanover] in third.

Act Now, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Nikolas Drennan, was a $40,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase who has now banked more than $200,000 for Joseph Davino of Clarksburg, NJ and Patrick O’Brien of New Hyde Park, NY.

This year she has a first and a third in two tries and last year she posted three wins, a second and a third in nine starts with her largest payday in the $394,950 Three Diamonds when she finished second by a neck to Delightful Dragon.

The $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for all the three-year-old divisions will take place on May 31.

Despite less than stellar weather conditions, live handle at The Meadowlands showed gains of 15-percent.

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


SWEET LOU Leads TVG Free For All Leg At THE MEADOWLANDS


Sweet Lou returned to The Meadowlands in style in the first round of the TVG Free For All Championship series with a dominant and compelling performance on May 10th, sailing around the East Rutherford oval in 1:48.3. Among those left in his wake was his stable-mate and the richest pacer in history, Foiled Again.

“(Sweet Lou) was super last week. That mile was as good as I have seen him since he was two,” was the reaction from trainer Ron Burke. “We tried him at Yonkers, but it didn’t seem to suit him, but all his efforts on the bigger tracks this year have been excellent.” He will be driven by Ron Pierce once again.

Sweet Lou (post 10) leads a three-pronged Ron Burke attack in the second $50,000 TVG Free For All Championship leg Saturday night at The Meadowlands. Joining him this round are stable-mates Clear Vision (post 1) and Bettor’s Edge (post 9).

While conspicuous by his absence, Burke explained why Foiled Again is qualifying this week and not entered in the TVG FFA event. “Each leg I want to race three out of the four I have in there. This week Foiled gets the night off."


Clear Vision, who just missed to Dancin Yanee in a world record mile of 1:47.2 at Pocono last week is having an excellent campaign thus far for Burke and will be driven by Matt Kakaley. “He has been awesome this year,” Burke added. “He’ll be a factor in there.”

The last of the trio is Bettor’s Edge, piloted by Joe Bongiorno, who despite his last two race lines, has been better than one may think. “He had no chance last week the way the race shaped up, but he was super,” said Burke. “The key with him is getting him into the race and if he gets a trip, he’ll be right there.”

The Burke entry has been installed as the 8/5 morning-line favorite for this week’s $50,000 TVG Free For All leg.

Warrawee Needy (post 3) will begin as the second choice, sporting a 3-1 morning line with Tim Tetrick at the lines once again. Warrawee Needy came up a neck short to Allstar Legend in the $30,000 Free For All Handicap last week at The Meadowlands after setting a blistering pace, getting to three-quarters in 1:19.4.

Bolt The Duer made a favorable impression in his 2014 debut, finishing a solid third behind Sweet Lou and Foiled Again. “He was really good,” said his regular driver Mark MacDonald. “He acted like he needed that start. He was racing against horses that had all been racing quite a bit already this year. I really think he is ready to step up and have a very big year.” Bolt The Duer will start from post 2 and is 4-1 on the morning line.

The remainder of this week’s TVG FFA leg consists of Thinking Out Loud, Modern Legend, Word Power, Golden Receiver and Dovuto Hanover. Total earnings for the field of 10 is over $12.5 Million. This $50,000 TVG FFA leg will go postward as race six on a 13-race program that also features the second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three year old colt and filly pacers. Post time is 7:15 P.M.




Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


Sebastian K Sets Stakes Record in The Cutler


Swedish champion Sebastian K added to his lore with another convincing win, this one the $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Final at The Meadowlands Saturday night in 1:50.2.

The Cutler was the first major test of the season for the Free For All trotters, promising a battle royale between last week’s elimination winners Sebastian K and Market Share and record speed possibilities that went awry when Market Share made an uncharacteristic break in the first turn.

As the race began Modern Family was put into play early by David Miller, using his keen gate speed to clear to the front before the turn with Sebastian K protecting the rail for Ake Svanstedt and securing the pocket through the 27.1 opener.

With Market Share out of contention, there was little movement as the field passed the half in :55.2. Approaching the final bend Sebastian K was flushed out trotting alongside Modern Family and they raced as a team past the 1:22.4 three quarters, by mid-stretch he was edging by that rival on his way to a length and a half win in a stakes record 1:50.2.

Modern Family held well to be second while Sevruga followed up close throughout and was third. Market Share’s break seemed to have his disappointed camp puzzled post-race.

The winner is a majestic specimen who again raced sans shoes as he had done in his record elimination win a week ago. He is raced by Swedish interests, trained by his driver Ake Svanstedt and owned by Knutsson Trotting.

“He’s just awesome, added owner Michael Knutsson. “ It’s fantastic – and our first time here at The Meadowlands and it starts like this. It’s absolutely amazing.

“We talked (after the 1:50.1 elimination win) and we all could see, I think, that he had more in him. He had a shot at it (the world record) today. It didn’t work out, but the time today is tremendous also. I mean fantastic.

“I’m not sure he has actually (ever been better). I think he’s in superb form right now.”

Immediate plans for the winner include a few weeks off before returning for a leg of the TVG Free For All series on June 13.

Yannick Gingras was the driving star of the night, winning 7 of the 14 races contested, including the $30,000 Free For All Handicap Pace with Allstar Legend in a lifetime best effort of 1:48 for Ron Burke and owners Brittany Farms and John Cherveny.

Total Handle on the 14-race program was $3,399,248, a 10-percent increase over the previous year. Additionally, on-track handle yielded a 26-percent increase.

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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