by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows
With expectations of him high for Saturday’s eliminations at The Meadows for the 50th edition of the Delvin Miller Pace for the Orchids — he trains six of the 12 entrants — Ron Burke found a way to relieve the pressure.

He went fishing.

And just as you would expect of America’s leading trainer, he was as sharp on the ocean as he is on the track. He and his fellow anglers had been trolling the Florida coast for only 30 minutes Friday morning when they reeled in a large wahoo.

Burke hopes Adios 50 won’t be the one that got away. His six Adios entrants may be a record, but not by much.

“The last year I worked with my dad (Mickey), we had five of them in,” he said. “It’s been something we’ve been doing for a while. Out of all the races every year, this is the one we point to.”

Here’s how Burke handicaps his six hopefuls in the two Adios eliminations, which go as races 8 and 9:

  • More Dragon (race 8, post 3) — “He’s probably the weakest of the bunch. He’s good at qualifying for finals, but he’s a little overmatched when he makes the finals.”
  • Stolen Glimpse (race 8, post 4) — “He’s the one with the most potential to get better. His first race on a half-mile track was very impressive. He has serious speed.”
  • Check Six (race 8, post 6) — “He was a little dull about a month ago, but he’s super now. He was great in the Meadowlands Pace but had two awful trips.”
  • Manhattan Beach (race 9, post 1) — “He’s been drawing the worst of any of my horses. From the inside, I look for him to be more aggressive. He should be tough to beat. Historically, Check Six has been the better horse, but Manhattan Beach is coming on.”
  • Big Top Hanover (race 9, post 2) — “We’ve been racing him hard, so he skipped the Meadowlands Pace to prep for the Adios. He drew into the easier division, so I look for him to get into the final.”
  • Fernando Hanover (race 9, post 3) — “He seems to be back to himself. He has more ability than he’s been able to show. This is a good spot for him. He can sit and make one move.”

The $400,00 Adios final is set for Saturday afternoon, July 30. The first four finishers in each elimination, plus the fifth-place finisher with higher career earnings, return for the final. The Adios eliminations card offers two strong supporting stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers — the Romola Hanover, a $159,360 Pennsylvania Sires Stake that features juvenile champion Pure Country, and a $100,000 PA Stallion Series event.

First post Saturday is 1 PM, with the first Adios elimination set to go at approximately 3 PM.