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Kakaley, Burke sweep Keystone Classic splits at Meadows
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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Washington, PA---Ron Burke figured to be a force in Tuesday’s (Sept. 12) $86,498 Keystone Classic at The Meadows — he trains eight of the 17 freshman filly pacers who dropped in — but he was even more dominant than that, teaming with Matt Kakaley to sweep the event with Double A Mint, Strong Opinion and Majorsspeciallady.

Chris Gooden photos
Double A Mint, by Bettor's Delight - Double Crème, won her Keystone Classic division in 1:52.4 by 5-1/2 lengths for driver Matt Kakaley and trainer Ron Burke.

Double A Mint turned in the most powerful performance, rolling to a facile 5-1/2-length victory over stablemate Danikova in 1:52.4 and lifting her bankroll to $115,499 for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Dandy Farms and Silva, Purnel & Libby. She’s In For Life completed the ticket.

“She gets better,” Burke said of the daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Double Creme, who will be pointed to stakes at Hoosier Park and Red Mile. “She tries harder. She’s a typical Bettor’s Delight — they try.”

Strong Opinion finished a disappointing seventh in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, but Kakaley Indicated there was a good reason she couldn’t get more involved.

“She was third-over in the last turn, not really in a terrible spot, but a horse broke in front of her and took her out of the race,” he said. “I’ve loved her all along. She’s beautiful to drive, and she goes when you ask her to go.”

In the Keystone Classic, the daughter of Well Said-Rough Sketch made the lead with a quarter-pole move and had little trouble holding off Sarpa Hanover by a length in 1:53.3, with Ana Hanover third. Burke Racing Stable, Jack Piatt II, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Silva, Purnel & Libby campaign Strong Opinion, a $50,000 yearling purchase.

The victory by Majorsspeciallady was more tactical than flashy; when Kakaley gave her a soft opening half of 58, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-See Major waltzed home in 1:54.1, a length better than Aims Whisper. The first-over Cult Icon earned show.

“She hasn’t always been in the right spot, but she’s the kind who definitely will get better with age,” Burke said. “The thing about her is, when she’s in with horses she’s supposed to beat, she beats them.”

He indicated Majorsspeciallady, a $30,000 yearling acquisition, is headed to engagements at Hoosier Park and Red Mile for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and J&T Silva Stables.

Strong Opinion, by Well Said - Rough Sketch, won her Keystone Classic split for Kakaley and Burke in 1:53.3.

North America’s perennial leading trainer was a factor elsewhere on Tuesday’s card, as his 5-year-old Shadow Play-Titania Seelster mare, Tessa Seelster, captured the $20,000 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace for Dave Palone in 1:52. Shesasmokinlady was second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Yankee Moonshine rallied for show.

Tessa Seelster now boasts $490,913 in career earnings for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jonathan Newman.

Brian Zendt collected three wins on the 14-race card.

Wednesday’s program at The Meadows features a $102,700 Keystone Classic for freshman filly trotters. First post is 1:05 p.m.

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