Burke homebreds upset Geocentric, finish 1-2-3 in Crown for rookie pacing fillies won by My Girl EJ

quotes by James Platz / race details by Ray Cotolo for the Breeders Crown

Part-owner Mark Weaver said winning a Breeders Crown with homebred My Girl EJ was a “whole other level. We owned and bred her full brother, Lou’s Pearlman, who won the Jug. I would say that was about as good as it gets, but this may beat that. [Our homebreds] were 1-2-3. You couldn’t ask for more, that’s as good as it gets.

“We had four homebreds in this race, so there’s some luck, but I think first of all we’re breeding to Sweet Lou, who is a great stallion. All Bets Off is another great stallion and we owned him, so we have access to breed to him. Yeah, there’s some luck involved, but we have good mares that raced for us and we know the kind of heart they have and then breed them to our stallions and raise them right, get good drivers and trainers and then it all happens.”

Driver Dexter Dunn, who won seven races on the card, worked a pocket ride with My Girl EJ behind undefeated Geocentric and roared from the pocket when straightening for home to cross the line a wrapped-up winner in a stakes- and track-record 1:49.2 mile in the $700,000 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Pace on Friday night (Oct. 27) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.

My Girl EJ ripped out of post 8 and crossed to the lead before a :27 first quarter with stablemate Pass Line in the pocket. Geocentric, the 2-5 favorite, raced third and soon swung off the pegs to brush toward the lead in a stiff second quarter. By the half in :54, Geocentric rolled through the final turn with My Girl EJ swelling and raring to kick off the helmet.

Dunn gave My Girl EJ her head by three-quarters in 1:22.2 and stormed clear into the lane as Geocentric tired through the field. Pass Line gave futile pursuit to her stablemate to secure second, beaten by three lengths, with 49-1 shot Camerican slipping through off a pylon trip to take third and Its A Love Thing finishing fourth.

“We had to use her from a wide draw, but she’s been in such great form and her elimination last week was super,” said Dunn, who won this event for the third time after winning back-to-back years in 2020 with Fire Start Hanover and in 2021 with Niki Hill.

“I thought in that race we wanted to be following Timmy [Tetrick with Geocentric], so that was my game plan and we got the job done. I didn’t know if I could beat her, because Geocentric has been so awesome this year, but I knew I had a chance the way [my horse] has been racing. That’s the way horse racing goes, you know? You get the right horse on the right night, and she turns up, and she certainly turned up tonight.”

Tetrick said, “there wasn’t much respect for [Geocentric] tonight… I left out of there, had them where I wanted them, figured I let Yannick [Gingras driving Pass Line] and Dex go. I had to go :26.3 to get back to the front, :54 flat to the half, pretty big half… I bet eight pacers wouldn’t go a half in :54 tomorrow. [Geocentric] got tired.

“Again, we went :27, half :57 and they went :29.3 the second quarter… sitting fourth and you’re still too far out of it.

“Racing anymore just sucks. You go fast, go slow and then faster we go again.”

The 1:49.2 mark from My Girl EJ lowered the stakes record for this division set nearly 10 years ago by JK She’salady, who won the 2014 renewal at The Meadowlands in 1:50.2. My Girl EJ also gave trainer Ron Burke his third victory in the 2-Year-Old Filly Pace, which he won in 2017 with Youaremycandygirl and in 2018 with Warrawee Ubeaut. Burke also bred My Girl EJ with Weaver Bruscemi and Elizabeth Novak.

“They’re not only our mares, but the first two [finishers] were our sires,” said Burke, who conditioned Breeders Crown winner Sweet Lou from 2011 to 2014 and double millionaire All Bets Off. “It’s been a great run with these guys. Geocentric is a great horse, I love her, but I’ve said all along I’d never trade my filly for anybody. She’s as good as anything. She’s going to be an even better filly when she gets onto smaller tracks next year. She’s a top, top horse.”

Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Elizabeth Novak share ownership of My Girl EJ with Howard Taylor. The daughter of Sweet Lou—Lucy’s Pearl, a full sister to Burke millionaire Lou’s Pearlman, won her fourth race from 11 starts and has accrued $599,097 in earnings. Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, she paid $9.40 to win.