06/15/2016 12:46PM

Burns late to arrive but first at the finish


Robin Burns is headed to the National Handicapping Championship for the first time after a last-minute decision to play in the Canterbury Park contest two weeks ago.

“My partner, Pete Milinkovich, was talking about how great it was that Canterbury had a NHC qualifier, and he suggested I give it a try,” she said.

On the day of the event, she decided she just had too much to do – and besides, there would be another Canterbury contest in September. But as it happened, she got her errands done early and decided to head to the track. “I made it with 10 minutes to spare,” she said, “and I picked a winner at Belmont right away, so I was off to a good start.”

Through Milinkovich, Burns, who works in technology, got involved in racing around 10 years ago. He has been critical to her learning about the game. At the same time, she was 100 percent in charge of her contest entry. Due to her late arrival, she wasn’t even sitting with Milinkovich and his crew. “I have my own thing that I do which involves data,” she said. “I use breeding, workouts, trainer stats, jockeys, and class, and as most would say, sometimes it works for me, and other times it doesn’t.”

After that first winner, her day just kind of chugged along. With just a few races left in the contest, she knew she needed a horse at a price to launch her back into contention. “I opened my Daily Racing Form to Woodbine, a track I have never played in my life, and I loved the 1 in their next race,” she said.

The full field of maiden 3-year-olds took a long time to load, and Burns was getting nervous about how much time her pick, Maximum Entropy, had to spend in the gate. But for whatever reason, Maximum Entropy went in last instead of first, seemingly a big advantage.

Maximum Entropy took over in the stretch and got the win at 33-1. “It was pretty exciting,” said Burns, “but there was no time to waste. I needed to get my remaining bets in, and time was running out. At that point, the key to my strategy was making sure I got all my bets in and didn’t get disqualified.”

She made her last bet in the fourth race at Santa Anita, and her pick, U Go Gal, got second. When the totals were tallied, Burns was the winner.