S Class leads Burke babies in qualifiers
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S Class, a full brother to 2016 Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder, and So So De Vie, from the family of the sport’s all-time richest pacer Foiled Again, were among the two dozen 2-year-olds sent out by trainer Ron Burke for qualifiers Monday morning (June 3) at Gaitway Farm.
Gaitway hosted the first of this month’s three Monday qualifiers, which essentially was Breakfast with the Burke Brigade as all but three of the 2-year-olds in action were from the Burke barn.
S Class won his qualifier by one length over Ontopofthehill in 1:59.1. S Class, by Muscle Hill out of Spellbound Hanover, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Crawford Farms Racing, Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. He was purchased privately.
“He was very good today,” Burke said about S Class. “Ontopofthehill (a $250,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase by Muscle Hill-On The Bright Side) is a fast horse that’s going to learn to be a very good horse.
“This is a good group. All the trotters today are good horses, there’s not a bad one in them. I’ve got a couple more, maybe two of the better ones, that aren’t ready yet. But these are some of my better ones.”
Burke’s other 2-year-old trotters Monday included filly winner Sister Sledge (1:59.2) and colt Cupid Hanover, a $250,000 Standardbred Horse Sale buy who finished second to 3-year-old Zeus PV in his qualifier. Sister Sledge, by Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors, was purchased for $35,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is owned by Burke Racing, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi.
“Sister Sledge was really good,” Burke said. “I was happy with all (four of mine) in there. Cupid Hanover is good. We’re just trying to teach him to be patient and sit in a hole. If we let him roll, I think he’d be better.”
So So De Vie, a $15,000 Standardbred Horse Sale purchase by American Ideal out of Place Your Best (a half-sister to Foiled Again) finished second in his qualifier to Cattlewash, who stopped the clock in 1:58.3. Cattlewash, bred and owned by Bill Donovan, is by Somebeachsomewhere-Road Bet.
“Cattlewash has been great training down the whole time,” Burke said. “So So De Vie is the best one we’ve had in (Foiled Again’s) family since him. I’m really happy with him.”
Colt pacer The Greek Freak won the day’s fastest race for the 2-year-olds, in 1:56.1, despite a change in conditions that saw him face a strong headwind in the stretch. The Greek Freak, the nickname of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, is a son of Captaintreacherous-Thirty X and was purchased for $75,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He is owned by Burke Racing, Piatt Racing, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi.
Burke-trained filly pacers Merga Hanover and Shouldabeenatd were Burke’s remaining winners in the seven qualifiers for the 2-year-olds.
Merga Hanover, by American Ideal-Magic Starlight, won in 1:56.4. Purchased for $150,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, she is owned by Thomas Dillon, Scott Dillon, Joe Sbrocco, and Donovan. Shouldabeenatd, by Sweet Lou-Breakheart Pass, won in 1:57.1 for breeder-owners Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. Sailaja Deo finished second in the three-filly field.
“Merga is out of a mare I used to train, Magic Starlight, and she’s been good the whole way. She was very good today,” Burke said. “Sailaja Deo is a nice filly. She had to cut it into the wind. I think she might be a little better than Shouldabeenatd, but Shouldabeenatd is a nice filly too out of a good mare. I was happy with the way she paced home. Another typical good (Sweet) Lou filly.”
For Monday’s complete charts from qualifiers at Gaitway, click here.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA