05/13/2015 3:12PM

Meadowlands: Mission Brief kicks off 2015 in New Jersey Sire Stakes

Chris Tully
Mission Brief makes her 2015 debut on Friday at the Meadowlands.

“She is her own woman, that is for sure,” said trainer Ron Burke as he described his brilliantly fast, yet quirky world champion Mission Brief.

Last year’s champion 2-year-old trotting filly, who set the world record of 1:50 3/5 at The Red Mile, makes her official 3-year-old debut Friday (May 15) in the opening leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at the Meadowlands. Mission Brief earned $591,070 last year in nine wins including a season-ending victory in the Breeders Crown. She also broke stride in four races.

“I have told the other owners that with this horse, the highs will be really high and the lows will be horrible,” said Burke. “With her, I’m holding my breath and maybe getting ready to drive to the George Washington Bridge.”

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Mission Brief made a break in her first qualifier on May 1, a miscue that Burke attributes to a shoeing change that the temperamental filly did not like. She stayed trotting in her second qualifier a week later, a victory in 1:56 2/5.

“I tried to shoe her a little more aggressively like I shoe most of my other good trotters and she just didn’t take to it so we switched her shoes back to how we had them last year,” explained Burke.

Mission Brief, owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi, faces nine other rivals in Friday’s New Jersey Sire Stakes, which is carded as race 11 on the 12-race card. Yannick Gingras will take his usual seat behind the daughter of Muscle Hill. She is the 3-5 morning line favorite and carries career earnings higher than the rest of her nine rivals combined.

“She was great training this week and maybe she is just waiting for us to get aggressive with her,” said Burke. “It seems that the hardest quarters for her are when she has to go medium speed. She can easily warm up in 35-second quarters and can go those big 27-second quarters in a race, but it’s going that in-between-speed that seems to be the hardest.”

The Meadowlands will also host a pair of divisions in the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters.

The first division, carded as race two, is headlined by last year’s Sire Stakes champion, Guess Whos Back, and emerging Hambletonian contender Canepa Hanover, driven and trained by last year’s Hambletonian winner, Jimmy Takter.

The second division goes as race four and features Muscle Diamond and Takter’s French Laundry, second and third, respectively, in last year’s Breeders Crown.

Friday’s card also features a pair of growing carryovers in the Jackpot Super High 5 wagers. The fifth race jackpot pool has grown to $112,844 and the twelfth race total sits at $87.837.

-edited release (Meadowlands)