October 2014 Issue - page 11

October 2014
Page 11
Bargain Yearling Limelight Beach Gives
Leading Trainer Ron Burke His First Jug Win
by Kimberly French
As Ron Burke strode across
the infield to meet driver Yannick
Gingras and his first Jug winner,
Limelight Beach, the 35-year-old
Canonsburg, Pa, resident was
perfectly composed with merely
a hint of a smile at the corners of
his lips. The three to four minutes
that had elapsed since the 3-year-
old gelding tripped the teletimer
in 1:50.4 in the 69th edition of the
pacing classic was not enough time
for Burke, who just happens to be
North America’s leading harness
racing conditioner for the past
five years and the only one ever
to reach 1,000 wins, to process
capturing his first Little Brown Jug
final. However, once the pictures
were taken, the horse sent back to
cool out and the interviews nearly
complete, Burke struggled to hold
back tears over the significance of
Limelight Beach’s triumph.
“It was a great day,” he said.
“We were thrilled. I normally do
not get over emotional but I am
very emotional today. This race
is the Jug and we purchased this
horse because we knew he was
the perfect horse for this track.
Also because we knew he would
be ready to go being from Brian's
(former trainer Brown) barn.
"Again I am emotional
because winning a race like this
shows how hard all of us, the en-
tire team, work every day to make
something special like this hap-
pen. I could never do it alone and
winning the Jug just hammers that
point home. It is not just special to
me but to our entire team."
First Win This Year
Sent off at odds of 5-1 in his
$103,600 elimination, the son
of world champion Somebeach-
somewhere and the prolific race
mare Benear ($319,321) was
absolutely bursting out of his skin
with pace. The problem though
was could he get some open track
to show it? Limelight Beach ap-
peared to be hopelessly locked in
on the inside by the race favorite,
McWicked. Somehow, Gingras,
North America’s leading driver
with more than $11.2 million in
purse money in the bank, maneu-
vered the gelding into a clear path
and he burst by Somewhere In LA
to have his picture taken for the
first time this season. Limelight
Beach had made four trips to the
post this year after a $210,192
campaign as a 2-year-old, but
never hit the winner’s circle while
compiling a resume of 0-7-1.
On paper, however, the horse’s
performances were rather deceiv-
ing. All of his races were in top
company and he switched barns
after being purchased by the MI
Stable of Bethel Park, Pa, Weaver
Bruscemi of Canonsburg, Pa, and
the Burke Racing Stable on July
11, with previous owners the Wing-
field Brothers still maintaining their
shares. Prior to Burke taking over
training duties, Limelight Beach
had resided in the barn of Brian
Brown, who happened to bring
along another world champion and
dual Breeders Crown victor, Won
The West, before Burke managed
the rest of his career.
Limelight Beach did manage
to catch some public attention
with a fast closing second in a
world record mile in the $100,000
Milstein Consolation at Northfield
Park on August 15 and another
strong second to Jug favorite and
world champion McWicked in the
$260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes
Championship on September 7.
The buzz horses, however, were
the aforementioned colt, Meadow-
lands Pace winner He’s Watching
and the colt that captured the Cane
Pace, Lyonssomewhere.
After He’s Watching failed
to make the final in a poor perfor-
mance and Lyonssomewhere broke
stride in the stretch, even money
favoritism went to Limelight Beach
over fellow elimination victor Let’s
Drink On It for the $310,800 final
with Limelight Beach leaving from
post position one and his rival right
beside him in post position two.
Gingras put the gelding right on
the lead after the gate unfolded and
although Let’s Drink On It gamely
(Continued on page 31)
A conformation defect caused the Somebeachsomewhere colt
Limelight Beach to sell for just $25,000. Trainer Ron Burke knew
he would like the track at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio where
$647,500 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old pacers was run.
Photo credit: USTA
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