Six tracks, 47 horses racing… just another day in the life of the Burke Brigade

Six tracks, 47 horses racing… just another day in the life of the Burke Brigade

August 3, 2018

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On the day he won his first Adios at his hometown track, trainer Ron Burke — who is on the cusp of a record $200 million in earnings — raced 47 horses at six different tracks.

by Brad Schmaltz

Are you the type of person who get befuddled trying to plan the family summer vacation?

Does it confound you when you try to organize your grocery list?

If so, what trainer Ron Burke accomplished last Saturday would astound you.

Burke entered an amazing total of 48 horses from his stable at six different venues on Saturday, including 24 at his home track of The Meadows.

And, he sloughed it off as just another day at the office.

“It is a lot of moving parts,’’ he said. “But it’s really not that bad… It’s nothing for us to race 40 at seven or eight tracks.’’

Of course it takes lots of manpower and horsepower to get that many horses behind the starting gate in one day. He has 17 rigs to facilitate the shipping, about 55 grooms and 24 assistant trainers. But even with all that help, Burke himself plots out the game plan and enters every horse.

“I have some owners who are more involved than others, but I do what is best for the barn as a whole,’’ he said.

So what happens if he has two horses that fit the same race?

“Two isn’t a problem,’’ he said. “But sometimes I have six or seven that fit the same race.’’

Here’s some more numbers from the day: $200,00 and over 200. It was $200,000 that one of his entries won on Saturday when Dorsoduro Hanover captured The Adios at the Meadows. That led, Burke said, to over 200 people spilling into the winner’s circle to celebrate his first Adios win at his home track.

“We knew it would be like that if we ever got it,’’ he said of the jubilation. “It is home. This is where I grew up.’’

It was driver Matt Kakaley who put Dorsoduro Hanover on the front end and fended off all challengers. That win helped boost Kakaley to the top spot in earnings among the 14 different drivers that drove Burke horses. Kakaley had three other wins among his nine drives on the day at the Meadows and horses he drove earned $252,631.

Yannick Gingras had more drives at The Meadows on the day (13), but couldn’t match Kakaley in wins. He had two, and earnings of $55,328.

Burke’s most successful non-Meadows driver on the day was Chris Page, who had two wins among five drives at Scioto Downs and earnings of $41,362.

Other stats from the day:

The 47 horses (one horse entered was forced to scratch due to an ankle issue) raced for $1,971,801 and won $404,116.

There were 10 wins, four seconds, nine thirds, four fourths, seven fifths, seven sixths, five sevenths and one eighth-place finish.

Oh, and one dead heat. Wittyville, driven by Page, tied for third in a $37,100 division of the Ohio State Fair stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters.

Overall it was certainly a day Burke will remember. But for the Adios win. Not the number of horses he raced that day (which represented about 20.9 percent of his stable of 225 horses).

“We’re getting used to it,’’ he said.

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