Day At The Track

Perfect season so far for Covered Bridge

06:39 PM 08 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Covered Bridge, harness racing
Covered Bridge and driver Yannick Gingras take the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands.
Lisa Photo

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Covered Bridge has been so good early on in his 4-year-old harness racing campaign, he's even surprised his trainer, Ron Burke.

"He has been even better than we had hoped," said Burke of the gelded son of American Ideal-Stonebridge Kisses, who was a dominant winner of the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $27,500 high-end conditioned pace.

"We couldn't be happier with him," said winning driver Yannick Gingras. "He's getting stronger every week."

A scary thought for all the other 4-year-olds who will take him on this season.

Covered Bridge remained unbeaten in three starts this year - all at the Meadowlands - facing his toughest test of the season. He was in against Sintra, the "Terror from Toronto" who had won all four of his starts this season facing the best on the grounds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and the super-formful Bell I No, who had finished second or better in seven straight Big M outings.

Unlike a week ago, Gingras opted to put Covered Bridge on the engine, making a second move to the top after yielding briefly to Sintra just after the quarter.

Given the caliber of the combatants, the half was reached in a lazy :56.1, and when one considers that Covered Bridge had won his first two outings of 2020 in 1:48.3 and 1:49.2, it was going to take a lot to catch him.

As it turned out, it could not be done.

After three-quarters was clocked in 1:24, Covered Bridge had a :26.3 kicker in his tank to easily beat Sintra, who is presumably on his way to Yonkers next week for the Borgata Series, by 1½ lengths in 1:50.3. Bell I No finished third.

 

"Mostly 4-year-old races," said Burke when asked what the plan is for Covered Bridge. "But we will be re-evaluate soon."

Is he the type of horse you'd put into the Graduate, which gets underway May 2 at the Meadowlands? "I think for sure."

Covered Bridge, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby and Mortgage Boys Stable, returned $3.00 to his backers as the 1-2 favorite and has now won 10-of-36 lifetime starts, good for earnings of $273,837.

BOMBS AWAY! Pat Berry, aka "The Blue Berry Bomber", put a big smile on his fans' faces when he guided 47-1 shot Barefoot Bluejeans to victory lane in the 12th race. The win price of $96.40 was the largest of 2020 at the Big M.

Apparently unsatisfied with one huge longshot, Berry came right back in the 13th race and scored with 27-1 chance Jumping Jake, giving the 44-year-old pilot a sweep of the Late Double that paid $2,700.40. Berry scored earlier on the card with an 11-1 shot and his one Friday winner went off at 10-1.

With Berry's bombs hitting their targets in the final two races, the Late Pick-4 returned $18,446.90 after driver Andy Miller and trainer Nick Surick teamed up to take legs one and two at odds of 5-1.

A LITTLE MORE: Betting surpassed the $2.5-million plateau for the 12th time in the last 13 race cards, as a total of $2,845,232 was pushed through the windows on the 13 races. ... Berry, Gingras and Andy McCarthy had driving triples on the program. After scoring in both co-features Friday, McCarthy finished the weekend with five winner's circle trips. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:55 p.m.

By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands 

 

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