Everything appears to be right on with All Bets Off as he heads into Saturday's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway.
All Bets Off, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, won his Rooney elimination last weekend by 2 1/2 lengths over Some Playa in 1:52.3. In his eight starts since joining the Burke Stable last September, All Bets Off has won five times and finished second on three occasions.
He finished last season by winning the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, beating Stevensville by a half-length in a track-record 1:50. Stevensville also is in the Rooney, having won his elimination by 3 3/4 lengths over Gold Rocks in 1:53.
All Bets Off will start the Rooney final from post four; Stevensville, with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Ray Schnittker from post six.
"He was very good,” Burke said about All Bets Off's elimination win. "He's been super since we got him. We're trying to figure out how good he is and where he fits. This is a chance for us to see if he belongs in the group with the top 10 colts in the division.
"But he's been pretty special since we got him.”
Burke owns All Bets Off with Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable Corp. and Rosemary Shelswell. A resident of Ontario, Shelswell was part of the previous ownership group that purchased All Bets Off for $7,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale.
All Bets Off is a son of stallion Bettor's Delight out of the mare Armbro Penelope, who enjoyed success on the Ontario circuit in the mid-1990s.
For his career, All Bets Off has won six of 15 races, finished second five times, and earned $216,917. All Bets Off is not eligible to the North America Cup or Meadowlands Pace, but has the Max C. Hempt Memorial, Messenger Pace, Progress Pace and New York Sire Stakes on his schedule.
This season, he had a win and a second against older horses before his victory in his Rooney elim.
"He's done everything we've asked of him,” Burke said. "He's got a good spot (for the Rooney final). He can do it both ways, so he should be good there.”
Burke is also happy with Southwind Silence as she prepares for Saturday's $124,744 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old filly pacers at Yonkers.
Southwind Silence finished fourth in a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes in her seasonal debut at The Meadows on May 3, but bounced back last weekend to win her Lismore Pace elimination by 1 1/2 lengths over Bettor Business in 1:54.
Last year, Southwind Silence won the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship for 2-year-old filly pacers and also won a division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes.
For her career, the daughter of Well Said-Southwind Solara has won four of 15 races, hit the board 13 times, and earned $391,211 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Joseph DiScala Jr.
"She was a very good filly last year,” Burke said. "I wasn't completely happy with her first start this year. It was alright, but she had to come first up and that doesn't usually work at The Meadows if you can't clear. (In her elimination) she seemed more like her normal self.
"She seemed to handle the track well, and at Yonkers that's a big thing.”
Tyra, who was third in last year's Pennsylvania Sires Stakes championship, also won a Lismore elimination. She beat Rusty's Bliss by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:54.4. (HRC)