Saturday, April 1, 2023

Trainer Ron Burke has high hopes for his Southwind Gendry.

“Southwind Gendry is good on big tracks,” said Burke. “So, we have him staked to most of the Meadowlands races this year. On big tracks he can go with the best horses. We are shooting for the (July 15) William Haughton, (August 5) Sam McKee and (October 28) Breeders Crown (at Hoosier Park).”

Burke must love the path ‘Gendry’ is currently on, as on Saturday night at The Big M, he took his second straight weekly pacing feature, this one a $36,000 Open 2/Open 1 Handicap, in 1:50.2 over a sloppy track that saw torrential rainfall earlier in the card.

“He’s healthier this year,” said Burke of his student, who’s earned over $1.1 million for his career but just $64,206 a year ago at 4. “After his big 3-year-old season, maybe we were asking him to do too much. He did get good at the end of last year. I do know he’s a good horse. What we are going to do this year is put him in spots where he can win.”

Like Saturday night’s, for instance.

Driver Yannick Gingras hustled Southwind Gendry away from post eight in the eight-horse field and was stacked up five-wide around the first turn. He then followed 2-1 second choice Burnham Boy N, who had the lead at the quarter in :27.3, before taking the point away from that one just before the three-eighths.

From there, Southwind Gendry had little in the way of anxious moments, passing the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:23.1 before hitting the wire first, 1¼ lengths in front of Burnham Boy N. Captain Crusader A rallied for the show dough.

“He’s come back good (this year),” said Gingras. “The plan was to leave the gate tonight. I wanted to go forward without killing him. It was his race to lose. I was really confident. Right now, he’s at the top of his game.”

A 5-year-old gelded son of Always B Miki-Gambler’s Passion, Southwind Gendry paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite. He’s now won 18-of-49 lifetime starts for owners Burke Racing Stable and P. Collura; Knox Services; J. and T. Silva-Purnell and Libby.

THAT’S FIVE: The amazing Magritte, a 9-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere-Artcotic, won his fifth in a row for trainer Cameron Capone while bumping up in class again.

The streak began at Freehold with a victory in a TrackMaster 68.5. The next four victories came at The Big M facing TM stock with ratings of 74.5, 74.5, 83.5 and 89.5, respectively.

“It’s been a really fun ride,” said trainer Cameron Capone of his prized pupil, who stopped the clock in 1:51.3 after being sent to the gate as the even-money public choice. “(Despite losing one of his front shoes) He was awesome. That’s all I can really say.”

THAT’S 25: All-source betting totaled $3,201,453, keeping The Big M’s streak of surpassing the magic $3-million mark intact.

There have been 25 Friday and Saturday night programs conducted during 2023 and every one has seen wagering exceed $3 million.

During 2022, betting went past the $3-million mark 23 times during the 85-program season.

A LITTLE MORE: A carryover of $7,303 led to $41,691 in “new money” being bet into the 20-cent Pick-6 pool, for a grand total of almost $49,000. Those with winning tickets, after a sequence that saw winner’s odds of 8-5, 1-1, 1-1, 2-1, 4-1 and 7-1, cashed in for $2,094.98. … Dave Miller led the driver’s colony with three victories. … Burke and Justin Sodano each trained a pair to victory lane. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.