by Frank Carulli
January 9, 2018
Tony Morgan says he's "not a long-term goal setter," even though he'd probably be pretty good at it.
Morgan, 59, drove Killean finale to victory in the second race at Dover Downs last Tuesday to beome the second driver in North America history with 16,000 career victories. He trails only Dave Palone, who entered this week with 18,202 wins.
Morgan emerged as a top driver on the Chicago circuit in the 1990s and carried over that success when he relocated to Dover Downs and other Mid-Atlantic region tracks. He won North America Dash titles five times from 1995-2008. In 1996, he won 843 races, a single-season record that stood until Walter Case Jr. broke it 10 years later. Morgan won 1,004 races in 2006, a single-year milestone that only three others have attained.
"I’m a day-to-day guy," said Morgan. "I just try to have a good day every day and turn the page if I have a bad day. Other people are a lot more conscious of (the milestones) than I am, but it’s nice when you hit them. And it’s always nice to be recognized by your peers."
Burke Stable Tops $20 Million Again
Just call him the 100 Million Dollar Man.
Ron Burke's stable topped $20 million in earnings for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, a fete no other trainer had ever accomplished once in the history of harness racing.
Burke handled Breeders Crown champions Hannelore Hanover (Open Trot), Youaremycandygirl (2yo Filly Pace) and What The Hill (3yo Trot), as well as Little Brown Jug winner Filibuster Hanover en route to winning 889 races from 4,505 starters, good for $21,092,421 in earnings.
He more than doubled the 440-win total of North America runner-up Rene Allard and nearly tripled the bankroll of Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who won three Breeders Crown championships and $8.26 million in purses from only 674 starters.
Nick Surick finished third with 299 wins, followed by Richard Moreau (277), Gilbert Garcia-Herrera (262), Dolores Basilone (226), Kimberly Asher (219), Scott Di Domenico (210), Richard Banca (197) and Tyler George (178).
Allard was third in earnings with $6.5 million, followed by Brain Brown ($5.79 million), Julie Miller ($4.67 million), Ake Svanstedt ($4.67 million), Banca ($4.26 million), Erv Miller ($3.87 million), Garcia-Herrera ($3.65 million) and Di Domenico ($3.55 million).