Last year the Art Rooney was held on June 1 and the SBSW was the following Saturday, with the NA Cup eliminations the week after that. NYSS mainstay Doctor Butch beat a soft field in the Rooney and none of the colts entered moved on to either the SBSW or the Cup. This year the Rooney and the Beach share the May 31 date and the Cup eliminations are the following week. One major difference is that last year’s division winner, the undefeated American Ideal colt He’s Watching, has been supplemented to the Rooney. Breeders Cup winner Luck Be Withyou is also a supplemental entry, and the Well Said colt Sometimes Said was already nominated to the Rooney. The three of them are staked to the Cup and it stands to reason that all will be entered.
In the abstract the SBSW is a perfectly placed stepping stone to the initial major stakes race for sophomore pacers, giving all participants a race over the track the week before the elimination round, but freshman division champ Sweet Lou skipped it in 2012 and Captaintreacherous did the same last year. The splits went for 75K each last year. He’s Watching, who will no doubt emerge as the NA Cup Spring Book choice, won three times at Yonkers Raceway last year and he’s based in New York, and above all else, there is twice as much money to be made in the Rooney as there is in the Beach, so that’s where he’ll be on that first day of June. Luck Be Withyou, on the other hand, calls Canada home and has no experience racing on a half, but they supplemented him for a reason. Sometimes Said hasn’t raced on a twice around either. We can look forward to a Rooney to rival that of a couple of years ago when Pet Rock, Bolt The Duer and Kingcole were entered.
Last year Ron Burke moved Something For Doc the week before the Levy final so Foiled could get in; only two from a barn are allowed and Doc and Annieswesterncard were his top dogs. As things turned out, Doc and Anndrovette, the two top point gatherers, drew the 8 post in the 450K Levy and 285K Matchmaker and finished last and second, respectively. While the Burke Barn cleaned up in the prelims, much of the big money from the finals eluded them. Razzle Dazzle, a former Burke charge, won the Levy with Foiled second and Annies fourth. Clear Vision drew the outside post in the 100K consolation and finished out. Rocklamation finished third in the Match final and Ramalama was second in the 75K consolation.
With this year’s third leg behind us, Burke trains five of the top eight point gatherers—three over the limit for the final. He handles eight of the top sixteen, so if the series concluded today, after two of his horses dropped down to the consolation that would still leave four by the side of the road with their shmekels in hand. Bettor’s Edge and Foiled, both of whom sport perfect records, would make the final while Easy Again and Itrustyou would fall to the consolation. Clear Vision, Hillbilly, Aracache and Special Forces would be on the outside looking in.