With a win with Windsong Jack at Scioto Downs on Saturday night, Aug. 2, Ron Burke became the sport's all-time winningest trainer. The victory was the 5,224th of Burke's career, and moved him past Virgil Morgan Jr. for the top spot on the list. Morgan had scored his 5,223rd career victory the night before at Scioto Downs.
Combining Burke's numbers with those of his father Mickey and brother Mickey Jr., the Burke Stable has held the top spot on the all-time stable win list for several years. With Windsong Jack's win, the 44-year-old Burke now holds the number-one distinction on his own.
"I knew we were six behind going into Saturday, and we won 11 and (Morgan) didn't win any,” Burke told harnessracing.com Tuesday morning. "I knew I passed him. This is neat for the whole barn.”
Burke started 45 horses on Aug. 2 at five racetracks: Scioto Downs, Meadowlands, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Hoosier Park and Yonkers Raceway. He posted 11 victories, the biggest coming at the Meadowlands with Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle, Sweet Lou in the U.S. Pacing Championship, and Rocklamation in the Lady Liberty.
At 5:43 p.m. on Saturday, Rocklamation's win tied Burke with Morgan for the all-time lead. Two hours later Burke took the lead himself with Windsong Jack's victory.
This is the second milestone Burke has passed this year. In May he went past the $100 million mark in career earnings. As of Monday, Aug. 4, Burke has 5,231 career wins and $108.2 million in purse earnings. Last year he set records with 1,090 wins and $22.2 million in purse earnings. This year Burke has 636 wins in 2,936 starts and $13.2 million in purse earnings.
"We now have the most money for a barn and a single trainer, and most wins ever and most wins in a year,” said Burke. "Basically, if there is a training record to hold, we hold it. I know why and that's because we are racing more. But it gives the whole barn pride. Our people work hard and put long hours in.”
With all the records now in Burke's name, what's left for the stable?
"There are races we haven't won,” he answered. "We haven't won a Hambletonian, a Jug, a Meadowlands Pace, and I haven't won an Adios.”