Burke named harness racing’s top trainer
Ron Burke and Tim Tetrick each need to make room for more awards.
For the second consecutive year, Tetrick was named harness racing’s best driver while Canonsburg’s Burke nabbed the award for trainers for the second time in three seasons. In addition, the Burke Racing Stable and its partners, most notably Mike Weaver and Mark Bruscemi, was named Owner of the Year.
Results for the awards, voted upon by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, were announced Monday.
Burke followed his record-setting 2012 season by smashing his own records in 2013.
The 44-year-old Burke became the first harness racing trainer in history to surpass $20 million in purses in a year, entering Monday with $22 million. He also became the first trainer with 1,000 wins in a season. Entering Monday, Burke had 1,084 victories.
Since taking the lead role in the Burke Stable from his father, Mickey, in 2009, Burke has led all trainers in North America in both wins and earnings every year. Mickey Burke was Trainer of the Year in 2006.
Burke’s top horse in 2013 was Dan Patch Award-winning older male pacer Foiled Again, who at the age of 9 became the oldest horse to win a Breeders Crown and also became the richest Standardbred in North American history, with $6 million in career purses.
Foiled Again won 11 of 29 races this year and earned $1.4 million, breaking his own record for oldest horse to have a million-dollar season. His wins included the Breeders Crown, TVG Free For All Series Championship and the Ben Franklin Pace.
Burke’s stable also included Governor’s Cup winner JK Endofanera, Milton winner Rocklamation, Monument Circle winner Dedi’s Dragon, Maxie Lee Memorial winner Wishing Stone, Quillen Memorial winner Clear Vision, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champions Charisma Hanover and Southwind Silence.
A 32-year-old Illinois native, Tetrick has been named Driver of the Year four times.
This season, Tetrick will lead all North American drivers in purses for the seventh consecutive year, with $16.1 million, and finish among the leaders in wins, with 582. Only Billy Haughton won more consecutive earnings titles, with eight straight from 1952-59.
I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the top 3-year-old filly pacer, won the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge and Lynch Memorial while Market Share, voted best older male trotter, and Tetrick partnered to win the Maple Leaf Trot and Breeders Crown.
Tetrick, who has suffered from a degenerative hip condition since childhood, had replacement surgery on his left hip last week and expects to be sidelined until early February. He had surgery on his right hip in 2008.