May 2017
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Reminders:
SBOANJ OFFICE CLOSED
Monday May 28, 2017

2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
March 17 - August 5, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

September 8 - September 16, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

November 17 - December 2, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

December 7 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
September 1 - December 9, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays



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EI EI O READY FOR DEXTER CUP ELIMINATION

-- Story by Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

Brian Burton has no idea what to expect in the weeks ahead, but he is looking forward to finding out.

Burton is the driver of Ei Ei O, another pacing-sired trotter from the stable of breeder/owner/trainer Richard Hans. The lightly raced 3-year-old is eligible to this year’s Hambletonian Stakes, but will first have to prove himself on the Grand Circuit stage.

His first opportunity is Saturday when the road to the Hambletonian begins with two eliminations for the Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the traditional launch of the Hambletonian chase and eight of the 17 horses entered in this year’s event are also staked to harness racing’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters.

The first eight-horse elimination features, in post order, Another Chapter, Southwind Cruze, Sir John F, Texican, Explosive, Eternal Patrol, Lars Perry, and Southwind Woody. The second division has Gustavo Fring, Madison Muscle, Muscle High, Lord Cromwell, Ei Ei O, Earl Variera, Arch Credit, and Muzzy’s Muscles. The connections of Southwind Cobra accepted a bye based on career purses.

Joining Ei Ei O as Hambletonian eligible are Another Chapter, Sir John F, Eternal Patrol, Southwind Woody, Madison Muscle, Earl Variera, and Southwind Cobra.

Southwind Cobra’s foes in the $143,737 Dexter Cup final on May 6 will be the top three finishers from each elimination plus one fourth-place finisher chosen by lot.

Ei Ei O is a son of pacer Cam’s Rocket out of the trotting mare My Baby Momma. His granddam is Kora’s Trotter, who with Cam’s Rocket produced Hans’ multiple-stakes-winning world champion Googoo Gaagaa.

Unraced at age 2 because of a minor leg injury, Ei Ei O has won his only two races this year, both with Burton in the sulky. The colt heads to his Dexter Cup elimination off an 11-1/2 length victory in 1:55 at Rosecroft Raceway. In his debut, a 1:57 triumph at Rosecroft, he trotted his back half in :56.

“It’s very exciting; I’m grateful to Richard for giving me the opportunity to drive this trotter,” Burton said. “Richard has said this horse could be as good, or better, than Goo. I guess we’re getting ready to start finding this stuff out.”

The 39-year-old Burton was last fall’s leading trainer at Rosecroft Raceway, where he also drives regularly. Burton followed his father, Martin, into harness racing, but not before getting English and journalism degrees and trying his hand at several other professions, including sports writing and sales.

Burton and Hans, both Maryland residents, began working together last year. Burton drove Hans’ Maryland Sire Stakes standout Hybrid Henry (also by Cam’s Rocket) last season at age 2.

Ei Ei O is inexperienced, but possesses a similarly fluid stride as Googoo Gaagaa. In 2012, Googoo Gaagaa won the Beal Memorial in a world-record 1:50.4 and captured the Colonial by a neck over Hambletonian champion Market Share. Googoo Gaagaa was not eligible to the Hambletonian.

“I know it’s just Rosecroft and competition wise it’s not what (Ei Ei O’s) going to face on Saturday, but the speed and the ability that he showed, and the bottomless tank he’s showed so far, has been really impressive,” Burton said. “His greenness is his biggest obstacle.

“It’s unconventional breeding, but the greatest thing about the Cam’s Rocket breed is they all try. And most, like EI, get around turns like they’re pacers. There’s no hitch in theses horses’ giddy up.”

Burton is not going to think about the Hambletonian, but is hoping Ei Ei O can provide thrills this year.

“We’ve got to get by Saturday first,” said Burton, who has won 396 career races as a driver, including four at Freehold. “Hopefully we do well and get into the final.

“I talked to (Googoo Gaagaa’s regular driver) Corey Callahan and said this could be the ride of a lifetime. He said, ‘You’re right, it could be.’ He gave me a little bit of advice about driving EI on Saturday and we’ll go from there.”

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