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Burns, 91, to drive at home

July 20, 2006

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Leo Burns, the 91-year-old harness driver and trainer, will compete in front of his hometown crowd Tuesday, July 25. Burns will guide his 2-year-old trotting filly Winsome Wyoming in the Egyptian Colt Stakes.

A native of Marshalltown, Iowa, Burns has been a resident of Albion, Ill. since 1970. Now in his 51st year of driving and training Standardbreds, Burns has a standout in Winsome Wyoming, who is undefeated in four starts for 2006.

Winsome Wyoming was purchased for $2,600 from the Illini Classic Yearling Sale last fall. Burns left her with Alvin Schrock to be broke to the basics of driving and retrieved her to his stable at the Edwards County Fairgrounds a month later.

“She (Winsome Wyoming) wasn’t the easiest thing to break,” said Burns. “She wanted everything her way. But I knew right away she had a lot of ability by watching her trot around in the paddock.”

Burns made harness racing history this spring when he guided Winsome Wyoming to victory at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in the Spring Preview. Winning by 14 lengths, Burns became the oldest driver in the history of the sport to win a harness race. The duo has won all four of their races this year by solid margins, putting the competition away by at least four lengths in all of their starts.

In addition to Winsome Wyoming, Burns has a 4-year-old pacing mare, Classy Wrap, in his stable.

“She (Classy Wrap) won’t race again,” said Burns. “She just doesn’t have the desire. I still jog her everyday and plan on keeping her. She’s company for the other filly. She’s just a pet.”

The Edwards County Fair will hold two nights of racing Monday, July 24 and Tuesday, July 25. Post time each evening is set for 7 p.m. Purses over the two-day racing program are estimated at more than $50,000.
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