08/06/2007 12:00AM

Patrick McBurney


Patrick McBurney and John Forbes share training duties on a 32-horse contingent based at Monmouth Park. Until this year, and for many years before, the horses ran in Forbes's name but now race in McBurney's. He has won with 11 of his first 77 starters in 2007, highlighted by the performances of Cable Boy, the dominant winner of his first three starts who recently set the pace and tired to finish fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park.

McBurney, 50, first met Forbes some 30 years ago in Maryland, where he gained his first experiences around horses and climbed the ranks from hotwalker to groom and then onward to foreman and trainer.

"From the time we've been around him, Cable Boy always acted like he could run," McBurney said. "His first race, he beat a solid field in impressive fashion and then set a track record in winning his second start. Then, he easily handled stakes company.

"He couldn't have trained better into the Haskell, and when we saw the reasonable half-mile fraction we thought he'd make his presence felt a bit more in the lane. He did get a little worked up on the track and had a mild case of the 'thumps' the night of the race, but I don't want to use that as an excuse. He was great the morning after, and I think he'll really move forward."

Cable Boy made his debut in May and seemed to lead a hot streak for the barn. From June 24 through July 13, McBurney won with 7 of 16 starters.

"It was very exciting," he said. "The condition book just seemed to be working for us, and everything fell into place. On the East Coast, with so many tracks in close proximity, a lot of times it comes down to which races fill at what times. We've run everything at home, and during that period it all worked out."

The top tier of the McBurney barn could be bolstered late this summer and fall by Get Serious, second in the Long Branch Stakes in just his third start, and Quick, a 12-length maiden winner at Monmouth in her debut on Aug. 4.

"Get Serious is in Aug. 8 at Saratoga, and we figured we'd try turf with him based on the dam's side of his pedigree," McBurney said. "His name came because he never took training too serious and wasn't as focused as you'd like. But in the paddock he's all right, and he's performed very well. His last two starts have been very good, and we have high hopes for him.

"Quick is a full sister to an open stakes winner and all along she's breezed like she'd handle New Jersey-bred maidens the way she did. I think she can run through her conditions and have a future past that. She should stretch out, too."

McBurney explained how his role and that of Forbes's evolved.

"We basically share the training duties, which really helps because all our owners know they can speak to either of us," he said. "Each of us will know the ins and outs of the barn, but with the game having changed the way it has, with more owners and partners and so forth, John has taken a greater role in working on partnerships and going to sales. When he is elsewhere, I'm day-to-day at the barn.

"I think our system really works well, and the trust our owners have in us to put the horses in the right spots really helps us. As trainers, I think our biggest job is to evaluate where a horse belongs - class rankings go from $5,000 claimers to stakes horses - and to work hard at winning races. Our owners let us do our work and our staff at the barn is excellent, and it all comes together."

One thing to watch for with McBurney's runners is a switch to jockey C.C. Lopez. Whispered Prayer ($6.40), Call the Marines ($9.60), and Kinfolk ($4.60) all showed more early speed on the rider switch en route to the winner's circle.