When owner Howard Taylor heard about a trotter with some ability but lackadaisical attitude on the racetrack, he thought the horse would be a perfect addition to trainer Ron Burke's stable.
Taylor got the horse. Burke got him to go.
DW's NY Yank has won five times and finished on the board in all seven of his races since joining the Burke stable in December. He starts Saturday's $50,000 Horse & Groom series final at Meadowlands Racetrack from post three with driver David Miller.
A 4-year-old trotter, DW's NY Yank won his first-round division of the Horse & Groom by 2 1/4 lengths over Volare De Vie in 1:54.1 and finished third behind Quick Deal and Modern Family in last week's second leg.
"Ronnie always says if you have a horse that can't go, he can get him to try,” Taylor said. "This was his kind of horse. He's gotten him to go and he seems to be getting better and better every week. But he's far exceeded what I expected. You've got to get lucky sometimes.”
DW's NY Yank is a son of stallion Dilbert Hanover out of the mare Nicky Mantle. At ages 2 and 3, he won a total three of 31 starts and earned $58,798 while competing on the New York circuit, first for breeder/owner Don LaPage and then for a group including trainer Tracy Brainard.
So far this season, DW's NY Yank has banked $42,160.
"They told me you could train (DW's NY Yank) as fast as any horse, but when you put him in a race he just wouldn't go,” Taylor said. "They said he had ability, he just wouldn't try.
"I didn't think he would be this good this quickly, if at all. I didn't enter him in the (Horse & Groom) until a day or two before entries for the series closed. I figured what the heck; I'll take a shot.”
Taylor said Quick Deal, another horse from the Burke stable, and Daryl Bier's Modern Family were the trotters to beat in the Horse & Groom final. Quick Deal has won three of six races this year, going off stride in all three of his losses, while Modern Family has won four of five races this season.
"We're going to have to get lucky,” said Taylor, who expects DW's NY Yank to race at Yonkers following the Horse & Groom final. "But that's why you race them.”
Taylor's excitement on Saturday night is not limited to the Horse & Groom final. He is among the owners of Escape The News, who is in the $57,000 Aquarius final for 4-year-old pacers. Escape The News will start the six-horse race from post six with driver Yannick Gingras.
Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables and Taylor, the gelding has won four of six starts this year and finished second twice on his way to $64,375 in earnings. Escape The News was second to Warrawee Needy in the first round of the Aquarius, but edged Warrawee Needy by a neck in 1:48.4 in last week's second leg.
Burke's group acquired Escape The News in October and although the horse failed to pick up any stakes victories he was fifth in the Breeders Crown eliminations (eighth in the final), fourth in the Progress Pace and third in the Matron Stakes.
"That was all Ronnie getting this horse,” Taylor said. "He's a better horse than I expected. He's a sound horse, he leaves, and he finishes. You can't ask for much more than that.” (HRC)