Lincolnjames working way to Meadows Preferred
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Meanwhile, Lincolnjames also responded well, winning his two conditioned events; if he triumphs Saturday, he'll likely earn a ticket to the Preferred. Burke can't point to any injury that's held him back.
"I'm more inclined to think the competition is getting tougher," he says. "Look at this race today--he'll face Dapper Dude and Knocking Around, who race in the Preferred most of the time."
Post eight may not be the best vehicle for the final step in his comeback, but Burke thinks Lincolnjames still can slug it out on the front under the right circumstances.
"He likes the front end better, but he has to get his fractions," Burke says. "I don't know if he'd like getting strung out in :26."
Burke's interest in Saturday's card also will be piqued by the debut of Covenant, his Sweet Lou-Monkeys Can Sing freshman pacer. Monkeys Can Sing had a brief, undistinguished racing career, but her family sparkles with stars. Her dam, Cathedra, banked $733,789 on the track and, as a broodmare, produced a pair of millionaires: Cathedra Dot Com and Cabrini Hanover. Perhaps that's why Covenant's owners--Burke Racing Stable, Hatfield Stables, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi--put up $130,000 for him at auction.
"He's the best-looking ‘Lou' we have; he could be ‘Lou's' twin," Burke says. ‘He's been a disappointment this year. He doesn't seem to pick things up very fast, but if you keep asking him to improve, he does. He's supposed to be better than he has been. I keep telling him that, but he doesn't understand. As long as he keeps improving, we'll keep giving him chances."
Covenant leaves from the rail in race two with Mike Wilder in the sulky. (The Meadows)