08/27/2015 4:46PM

Mohawk: Burke 2-year-olds get tested in Metro eliminations

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Chris Gooden
Check Six has won four of six career races.

It’s been a regional season thus far for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, but on Saturday night at Mohawk the scene gets ratcheted up. Three $40,000 elimination divisions of the Metro highlight a stakes-filled program at Mohawk Raceway.

A total of 23 entered the Metro and surprisingly early in the season, only one of them remains unbeaten. That’s astonishing but it also represents how wide-open the division may actually be.

“I’m anxious to see how my horses do against Grand Circuit competition,” said Ron Burke, the sport’s leading trainer who will send out three very talented colts.

“They have all been racing well in Pennsylvania and that should be good enough to go against the Grand Circuit,” said Burke.

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Pennsylvania has become the leading locale for young talent but it by no means is exclusive in a year that has seen the rise of Indiana. Burke’s best colt on paper may not prove to be his best in the Metro. Check Six comes in with the best resume of the three. The son of Somebeachsomewhere drew post four in the first of the three elims. “He keeps getting better,” said Burke of Check Six, a winner in four straight stakes races, all in Pennsylvania.

Check Six could be in one of the tougher divisions and will need a top three finish to assure a spot in the final on Saturday, September 5. “Nobody yet has been stamped as the top colt,” said Burke of this division. “I thought that Talk Show looked like a top colt, but he’s gotten beat a couple of times. I guess the colt that beat him is pretty good.”

Burke was referring to Voracity, an Ontario-bred son of Sportswriter that captured a division of the Nassagaweya in 1:51 2/5 at Mohawk last week and will line up right next to Check Six with post five on Saturday night. Randy Waples guides the Tony Alagna trainee, an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold winner already this year with earnings in excess of $150K.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him on a big track,” said Burke of Manhattan Beach, a gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere that exhibited extreme speed in capturing a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes leg at The Meadows on July 25 in 1:51 1/5, just his third lifetime start. “He raced well in his last start (Harrah’s Philadelphia second-place finish), but just got beat by another one of my colts that I really like,” said Burke.

Manhattan Beach has the pedigree to be a star, as a full brother to multiple stakes winners Limelight Beach and this year’s 3-year-old filly winner Momas Got A Gun.

Manhattan Beach landed post eight in race eight, the second Metro elimination. He’ll have company in the form of the unbeaten Control The Moment (post six), a son of Well Said that has captured five straight races, all at Mohawk for trainer Brad Maxwell. Control The Moment blitzed a final quarter of 26 1/5 crushing his Nassagaweya division last time out.

Racing Hill could be a bit of a sleeper in this division. The colt from first crop sire Roll With Joe has been going forward in all three starts and followed Control The Moment home in third in last week’s Nassagaweya. Racing Hill drew post seven.

Pretty Boy Hill has yet to win for Burke thus far but the trainer remains confident in his ability. “He was our best colt training down,” said Burke of Racing Hill, “But he got sick and lost time.”

Pretty Boy Hill drew post four in the lone seven-horse division, race ten on the program. Pretty Boy Hill enters the Metro following a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia on August 20. In that mile he cut the pace from post eight early and held his ground well once being passed.

“I was very happy with that race,” said Burke. “A 26 1/5 first quarter at Harrah’s is a real quarter.”

Pretty Boy Hill certainly has the pedigree as another Somebeachsomewhere offspring out of the multiple stakes winning mare Pretty Katherine, a top-flight campaigner for trainer Casie Coleman a few years back.

The aforementioned Talk Show landed post two in this division and Coleman has a good looking colt in Betting Line (post three) that has already won twice this year in sub 1:52 miles. Add to the mix The Catamount Kid, a winner of his last two for trainer Carl Jamieson (post six) and you have a most competitive field.

The Metro elimination card gets underway at 7:25 p.m. and also features preliminary races for older pacers (Canadian Pacing Derby) and 2-year-old fillies (She’s A Great Lady).