Mission Brief's connections have made the decision to take on the colts in the Hambleotnian instead of racing in the Hambletonian Oaks where she would have been 1-9 to win the Oaks and collect the $250,000 winner's share of the purse .
What made Ron Burke and the owners decide to take on the boys in the Hambletonian and go up against the Takter Juggernaut, a quintet of trotters which will be entered into the race? Is it a case of sportsmanship or mere foolishness? After all, the last filly to win the Hambletonian was Peace Corps back in 1996.
While the Hambletonian is a heat race, with the top finishers of the first heat returning for the final, one may assume the Takter quintet is likely to scare off plenty of potential starters so there is a good chance there will be one dash for the cash as it takes fourteen horses to go with eliminations. If the race goes as a single heat, a second place finish in the Hambo has the same purse value as winning the Oaks and third place would pay $120,000, not a small amount of change. If the race goes to eliminations, it is possible some off the quintet will be eliminated before the final, improving her chances in the final.
Let's not kid ourselves, the money machine known as the Ron Burke stable can afford to be sportsmen in this case, as it was said by Burke, $250,000 is nice but winning the Hambo will mean something more to the stable, a sense of legitimacy which having a Hambletonian winner will bring. While a very successful operation, there has always been whispers regarding how his stable has operated.
Regardless how the Hambletonian plays out, Mission Brief brings more excitement to the run up to the big race. It will be interesting to how this gamble pays off.