WILKES-BARRE PA – Trainer Ron Burke, building on his victory with Backstreet Shadow in the Roll With Joe Pace at Tioga in the afternoon, unleashed a trio of quality sophomore stakes fillies who were all victorious in their 2020 debuts Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Most impressive was the Muscle Hill trotting filly Sans Defaut, who lived up to her name (which translates from the French as “flawless”) while taking a new mark of 1:53.2. Sans Defaut made a second move uncovered, went to the lead nearing headstretch, and finished well in hand for driver Matt Kakaley and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Crawford Farms Racing, and J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby.
The Burke Brigade also revealed its pacing potential when the Sweet Lou filly Shouldabeenatd equaled her lifetime mark of 1:52.2 in his first 2020 purse start. Shouldabeenatd flashed home in :55 while rallying out of the pocket and winning under a hold for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and the “core” Burke / Weaver-Bruscemi partnership.
Another impressive sophomore returnee was the Bolt The Duer gelding Blank Stare, who moved to the lead in front of the stands then motored home in :55 - :27.1 to take a new mark of 1:51.2. John Butenschoen conditions the promising three-year-old for Harmony Oaks Racing Stable, James Crawford IV, and In Over My Head Stable.
Top purse event was a $14,000 mare pace, and the veteran McArdle mare Lispatty did not let a long uncovered journey bother her, going her last half in :54.2 coverless to win in 1:52.4. Driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera have been an overpowering duo as eastern Pennsylvania racing resumes as Lispatty pushed her earnings over $925,000 for owner Gilbert Garcia-Owen.