On Monday night, Do Me Honor and driver Aaron Merriman won for the fourth time in five starts this season. The 5-year-old pacing mare has earned $46,000 this year, which ranks fifth best among all harness racing horses in North America and No. 1 among females.
Since arriving at The Meadows in mid-November, Do Me Honor has posted six wins, one second and two thirds in nine starts for owner/trainer Bill Bercury. Competing primarily in the preferred handicap for fillies and mares, Do Me Honor has earned $73,900 during that span.
|Do Me Honor has banked $73,900 since entering Bill Bercury's stable.|
“She’s a little bitty thing, but she’s quite a mare,” Bercury said. “We call her ‘Midge.’ I don’t think she weighs 700 pounds. But she’s as nice as can be. She’s clean going and a pleasure to drive.
“It doesn’t matter what you do; you can leave, you can take back, you can put her in a hole. And she can give you a :26.2-(second) quarter-mile any place you want to use it. That makes her very fun to have.”
Bercury, from Slippery Rock, Pa., purchased Do Me Honor in July after several months of negotiating.
“She was well worth the wait,” Bercury said, laughing.
Do Me Honor, a daughter of stallion Cheyenne Rei out of the mare Do Me Right, has won 18 of 76 lifetime starts and earned $268,088. Bred by Engle Equine, she was second in the 2011 Michigan Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old filly pacers at Hazel Park.
Sold as a yearling for $1,600 at the 2009 Great Lakes Yearling Sale, Do Me Honor’s dam is a full sister to 2005 American-National Stakes winner and Michigan Sire Stakes champ Do Me Good as well as 1998 American-National winner Another Mile. Another of Do Me Right’s full sisters, Do Me Justice, finished second by a head to Sanabelle Island in the 1997 American-National and won the Rose Red Stakes at Hazel Park.
The family tree also includes world-record-setting trotter Jay-Eye-See, who was a star in the late 1800s.
Bercury, who is on the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association’s board of directors, credits Merriman with helping Do Me Honor find success at The Meadows. Merriman has driven the mare in all of her races at the western Pennsylvania oval.
“He does a wonderful job,” Bercury said. “He’s the salt of the Earth. Not only is he a great driver, he combines that with a horsemen’s skills and gives you an intelligent analysis of your horse after a race. He makes it easier to be a trainer.
“I’m going to race (Do Me Honor) as locally as I can,” Bercury added. “I think she’s the best of the second-tier horses. With her size she might have trouble competing with the elites. But as long as she stays sound, she’s going to do well. She keeps herself in good condition.”
The 69-year-old Bercury and his wife, Renee, have a 10-acre farm with a quarter-mile track where the couple trains four horses. Bercury, who also is involved in home construction and has a used car dealership, got started in harness racing more than three decades ago thanks to Renee.
“I’d met a beautiful young lady and I was quite smitten with her,” Bercury explained. “I was looking for a place to take her on a date and I took her to The Meadows for dinner. She fell in love with the horses and I fell in love with her. I decided if I really wanted to make an impression, I’d better get a horse. That’s what I did.
“Now all these years later, we get up every day and work with the horses together.”
Bercury’s My Drag Queen, trained by Marcus Marashian, last season was named the older female pacer of the year by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. Several years ago, the Bercurys donated a percentage of purse earnings from their trotter Good Will to the Spina Bifida Association.
The Bercurys have a total of six horses racing at the moment.
“I’m looking for a seventh,” Bercury said. “I’m always looking for a good horse.”
One like Do Me Honor.
“I’d like 10 more like her if anybody has them,” Bercury said.