Two-year-old five-eighths mile world record holder One More Laugh headlines two divisions of the Max C. Hempt Memorial Pace on the Saturday (May 15) card at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
. There will be a special post of 5 p.m. in conjunction with the simulcast of the Preakness from Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md.
The first four finishers and the fastest fifth place finisher from the two elimination races will make it into the $300,000 finals the following Saturday night.
Top North America trainer Ron Burke will have four entries in those elimination races Saturday. In the Race 3 first division, Burke conditions the No. 1 Lap Hanover and 1A Blueridge Fortune. Lap Hanover leaves from the four hole while stalemate Blueridge Fortune drew the seven post.
Burke also has two three-year-old pacers in the seventh race. In this elimination race, Burke’s Fred And Ginger (62-1 in the Trot Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book) drew the No. 1 post while Relaxed Fit leaves from the six hole.
“Fred And Ginger is my best shot of winning the Hempt,” said Burke, who has a stable of some 185 horses racing in North America. “I really feel he can step it up and get to the next level. I like the post for his elimination race and David (Palone) is coming to drive the colt.
“Relaxed Fit had some problems at the gate last week at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and went on a break. We trained him hard this week to keep his mind on business. He’s a very fast horse.
“We’re giving Blueridge Fortune a shot after the improvement the horse has made in the last several starts. He just missed winning the Mohegan Pace final from the outside post.”
Burke added that Lap Hanover was a last minute addition to the Hempt after winning at the Meadowlands May 8 with a first-over move and to win handily with a time of 1:53. “He earned his way,” concluded Burke.
Here are posts and drivers for the two elimination races: Race 3: 1 Lap Hanover (Dave Palone), 1A Blueridge Fortune (Matt Kakaley), No. 2 Sharks Legacy (Joe Pavia Jr.), No. 3 Jettin Justin (Brett Miller), No. 4 Paynes Landing (George Napolitano Jr.), No. 5 One More Laugh (Tim Tetrick), and No. 6 Europan Union (Jim Morrill Jr.)
Race 7: No. 1 Fred And Ginger (Palone), No. 2 Pang Shui (Morrill Jr.), No. 3 Sand Savage (Brett Miller), No. 4 Philanthropist (Tony Morgan), No. 5 Catch Five (Napolitano Jr.), No. 6 Relaxed Fit (Kakaley), and No. 7 Indelible Hanover (Pavia Jr.)
One More Laugh, trained by Ray Schnittker, will be starting for the initial time in 2010 after winning nine of 12 races in 2009 and more than $594,000 in purses. This three-year-old Mcardle gelding is coming off two qualifying wins at the Meadowlands with times of 1:53.1 and 1:52.4. One More Laugh is at 12-1 in Trot's N.A. Cup Spring Book.
Fred And Ginger’s last race was in the $220,000 Berry’s Creek final at the Meadowlands, finishing second in 1:52.1. In his elimination race, he was timed in 1:49.4, finishing third by a neck.
(with files from Pocono)