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Burke doubles up in TVG finals
Sunday, November 26, 2017 - by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

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East Rutherford, NJ --- For Ron Burke, nights like these are special. And they tend to happen all the time.

This year will mark his ninth consecutive national training title, and on the last big stakes night of racing at the Meadowlands in 2017, Burke took two of the four TVG finals and added another winner in a Fall Final 4 event (Youaremycandygirl in the Three Diamonds) on Saturday night (Nov. 25).

What The Hill wraps up divisional honors by defeating his elders in his respective TVG final.

Burke got the ball rolling with Hannelore Hanover ($2.40 to win) in the $175,000 TVG Mares Trot. The 5-year-old daughter of Swan For All went a pocket trip behind Emoticon Hanover and rolled right by that foe to record a two-length win in 1:52.3, raising the possibility of winning a Horse of the Year trophy at season’s end. Emoticon Hanover completed the $3.20 exacta. Caprice Hill was third.

Winning driver Yannick Gingras, who also drives Horse of the Year contenders Ariana G and Manchego, wasn’t saying who he thought should take home the hardware.

“I can’t answer that question,” said Gingras. “All three of them are really special. I just wanted to do my job. Now it’s time for the voters to do their job.”

What The Hill ($12.80) locked up 3-year-old divisional honors by beating older foes in the $350,000 TVG Open Trot. David Miller put the son of Muscle Hill in a perfect spot, right behind 4-5 favorite Crazy Wow, and when that one weakened in the stretch, went the inside route to the winner’s circle. It was three-quarters of a length back to Dayson. Pinkman was third. The time for the mile was 1:51.4, which equaled his lifetime best.

“That was my plan (to sit behind Crazy Wow),” said Miller. “He was very strong through the stretch. I’m very proud of him, stepping up to face older and do this.”

“When he sits in the two hole,” said Burke. “He is good as any horse I have and he was concentrated on the horse’s head in front of him.”

Lisa Photos
Pure Country scores an impressive win in her TVG final.

Pure Country sat off blinding fractions set by Darlinonthebeach of :27, :54.1 and 1:21 and flew home after vacating the three-hole on the far turn to take the $175,000 TVG Mares Pace by three-quarters of a length in 1:49. The 4-year-daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, who was driven by Mark MacDonald and trained Jimmy Takter, paid $9.00 to win. Bedroomconfessions was second with Darlinonthebeach holding on for third.

“She’s really game,” said MacDonald. “She digs and fights horses all the way to the wire. I know halfway down the stretch she’s going to give me that extra gear.”

Miller was seen in the winner’s circle again in the $350,000 TVG Open Pace, guiding Mach It So ($5.60) to victory by a half-length over a fast-closing McWicked in 1:49.2. All Bets Off finished third.

The 7-year-old gelded son of Mach Three lifted his lifetime earnings to just over $2.4 million for trainer Jeff Bamond.

“He makes you look good,” said Bamond of his prized pupil. “Once he got to the front (just after the quarter), he looked strong. He’s done for the year but you’ll see him next year. He earned a little vacation.”

A LITTLE MORE: All source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,482,425. … Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m. Thereafter, the track will race Thursday through Saturday for the month of Dec.

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