08/19/2016 8:49AM

Pocono: Burke duo look to upend Hambo winner in Colonial

Melissa Simser-Iovino
Dayson set a track record at Saratoga Raceway and looks to keep rolling in the Colonial Trot at Pocono.

Saturday’s $500,000 Colonial Trot for 3-year-olds has been billed as a rematch between Hambletonian champion Marion Marauder and runner-up Southwind Frank, but that’s not exactly the way trainer Ron Burke looks at the race slated for The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

“I think Dayson has as good a shot as any,” Burke said in regard to his sophomore that drew the rail in the field of nine.

“Since we put the hobbles back on he’s been much better,” said Burke.

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Dayson won seven of eight starts as a 2-year-old wearing the trotting hobbles, but after joining the Burke stable the sport’s leading conditioner made changes.

“I think the hobbles definitely slow them down a little,” said Burke, defending his attempt to not only make Dayson better as a sophomore but faster as well.

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Burke voted to put hobbles back on Dayson considering the highly-ranked gelding made breaks as the favorite in the Goodtimes at Mohawk in June and then ran once again in the Beal final at Pocono in July.

After that last break in stride, Burke put hobbles on and three days later Dayson won a qualifier and since has captured three straight races, including a track record 1:54 2/5 mile in a New York Sire Stakes race at Saratoga on August 9.

That victory came just four days after Dayson went down the road in a 1:51 2/5 effort the night before the Hambo at The Meadowlands, a time that was faster than all three Hambletonian dashes the following afternoon.

With Yannick Gingras committed to Southwind Frank, David Miller gets the call on Dayson from the pole position in Saturday’s 12th race.

As for Southwind Frank, Burke says he’s still tinkering with the horse and his equipment looking for the right combination to get the most from the son of Muscle Hill.

“We’ve made some changes and I’m hoping that we’ll get to the point where people see Southwind Frank perform like we believe he’s capable of,” said Burke, who clearly has not lost an ounce of confidence in the colt.

“He wasn’t perfect in the Hambletonian but he only lost by a nose,” said Burke. Southwind Frank has the aforementioned Gingras in the bike from post six.

With two horses in the field, Burke may be in a great position to turn the tables on Marion Marauder. The Hambletonian winner drew post two and that has to be a blessing for trainer Paula Wellwood and driver Scott Zeron. The son of Muscle Hill raced from off the pace in both elimination and final of the Hambletonian and seems likely to be in the same position this Saturday.

Trainer Julie Miller had two in the final of the Hambletonian and both have entered the Colonial. Sutton was a solid closing third after showing quick speed at the start in the Hambletonian final. Andy Miller elected to guide the son of Donato Hanover, who appears to be improving with every start this year, from post seven. Milligans School will start from post three with Brian Sears in the sulky. Also bred in Pennsylvania, Milligans School captured a Beal consolation at Pocono in early July, his last victory.

Trainer Jimmy Takter has two as well in the Colonial, with Love Matters (post 5) returning on short rest after capturing a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event at The Meadows on Tuesday afternoon. Bar Hopping, a Hambletonian elimination winner but fifth in the final, didn’t get any favors in the draw for the Colonial landing post eight. The son of Muscle Hill was compromised as well in the Beal final, drawing post nine on that occasion before finishing third. Tim Tetrick will steer Bar Hopping.

Rounding out the field for the Colonial are Hititoutofthepark (Corey Callahan) from post four and Waitlifter K (Matt Kakaley) with post nine. The latter finished fourth missing just a length in the $1 million Hambletonian final.

Pocono has 14 races on its Super Stakes program that also includes the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine for sophomore male pacers and the $350,000 Valley Forge for 3-year-old filly pacers. First post is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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