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"He’s not a race horse, he’s a family member"
Thursday, March 06, 2014 - by Rich Fisher, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Rich Fisher
Trenton, NJ --- You have to admire James Borke for at least one thing. The guy is as much about the horse he owns as he is about the money. Maybe even more so.

Borke, an Old Bridge, N.J., owner/trainer, is racing 10-year-old Astreos Flash in Thursday night’s (March 6) first leg of the Winter Survivor Series at the Meadowlands.

Astreos Flash (Astreos-Cam Boo Angel) is starting from post four and is looking for his second win in six starts this year. The gelding pacer also has two third-place finishes this season. For his career, Astreos Flash has 27 wins in 161 races, winning $454,855.

Most of his success came before Borke picked him up in the summer of 2011, when he made Astreos Flash a reclamation project.

“He’s had some injuries on and off the last few years,” the trainer said. “He’s been coming back to more of himself. He’s not 100 percent, he never will be.

“But I’m looking forward to what he can do tonight. We have him in the right class. He should be OK.”

The main health issue has been a suspensory problem, which is what led Borke to buying him.

“The former owners didn’t want to put up with the medical bills,” he said. “But I just saw a classy horse. He was a great horse to be around, he gives you 100 percent. He’s just a classy animal.”

Thus, Borke has spent most of the past several years just nursing the former Open pacer back to health.

“I’m just trying to get him in the right direction,” he said. “The other owners were going to send him to the Amish and I really didn’t see that.

“Hopefully, I can make some money with him, and get him a nice retirement home.”

In a business where money making is the bottom line, Borke has some pretty noble ambitions. He has been in the business since 1995; owned as many as eight horses in 2009 and had six as recently as 2012.

Astreos Flash is now his lone horse.

I can’t afford another with him, he hasn’t paid for himself yet,” Borke said. “I’m just trying to get him back going. I try to take care of them. I love my horses. To me, he’s not a race horse, he’s a family member.”

It’s hard not to root for Borke, considering his attitude toward the animals. He admits to making some bad buys in the past and is unsure what the future holds for himself or Astreos Flash. He is just taking things as they come.

“I have another job delivering milk for Cream O Land Dairies,” said the former vending machine owner. “Right now this is more like a hobby for me.”

For horses like Astreos Flash, it’s pretty fortunate he has such a hobby.

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