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Bythemissal Enters Thursday Night’s Potomac Pace on a Roll

Trainer Ron Burke: 4YO Gelding ‘Still Has Room to Improve’


FORT WASHINGTON, MD – Bythemissal has won 10 of 14 races during his 2023 campaign while knocking heads with the very best pacers in the country,


The Ron Burke-trained 4-year-old gelding enters Thursday’s $125,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway coming off a dominating victory in the $600,000 Breeders’ Crown Open at Hoosier Park.


Having already won 24 of his 31 career starts and more than $2 million in purses, Bythemissal, the 6-5 favorite, may just be coming into his own.


“He’ll still get better. I think he’ll have one more bump. Usually, as a 5-year-old, they can find one more gear,” Burke said. “I think he’ll be a little bit stronger. He’s even managed to be more manageable. As he’s learned, he’s gotten better. I think he has still more room to improve.”


A frightening thought for his rivals.


Not that Bythemissal is a late developer. The son of Downbytheseaside, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Eric Good, Rich Lombardo Racing LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, demonstrated immense potential from the start.


“Training down, I told my partners, ‘This is the best horse we’ve had in a long time,’” said, Burke, whose trainees have earned a total of $320 million in purses. “We have a bunch of nice horses, and whoever we trained him with, he’d beat. It didn’t matter. He was beating horses two years older, three years older. I said, ‘We don’t have a horse in the barn that can beat this horse.’”


Burke, who has ‘close to 300 horses’ in his stable, is obviously a good judge of talent having trained the winners of more than $20 million in 10 of the past 11 racing seasons. In the year of the COVID Pandemic in 2022, his horses earned ‘just’ $17.5 million to lead the nation.


Burke, who has trained the winners of more than 14,000 races, was inducted into Harness racing’s Hall of Fame in 2022.


Bythemissal will take his place behind the mobile starting gate Thursday evening to do battle with many of the same pacers he had beaten in the Breeders’ Crown after closing in the stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths with regular driver Yannick Gingras in the sulky.


“He ended up getting a very good trip because he pushed Tattoo Artist three wide before they got settled on the first turn,” Burke said. “He won pretty easily, too. He got the trip he wanted, and he took advantage of it and finished where he should have finished.”


Burke-trained Lou’s Pearlman, Tattoo Artist, and last year’s Potomac Pace winner Allywag Hanover and Abuckabett Hanover, who finished second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Breeders’ Crown have been entered to take on Bythemissal again in Rosecroft’s marquee race.


1: Tattoo Artist, 8-5


2: Linedrive Hanover, 15-1


3: Leonidas A, 20-1


4: Allywag Hanover, 6-1


5: Abuckabett Hanover, 12-1


6: Lou’s Pearlman, 10-1


7: Bythemissal, 6-5


8: Idealsomemagic A, 20-1


Photo: USTA


Story: Ed Gray

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