Trainer Ron Burke had three of the seven participants in this year’s installment of the Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The top-flight conditioner brought his superstar This Is The Plan (Somebeachsomewhere) to town to lead the trio of pacers in the $150,000 race. Yannick Gingras piloted This Is The Plan who brought his close to $2.3 Million in career earnings to the Spa and wound up as the 7-5 betting favorite in the 12th annual Gerrity. Gingras moved the standout to the lead in a 26.2 first quarter before giving way to fellow Burke trainee Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick). That one retook command after the sizzling first quarter and cruised through the first half in 55.2. It appeared that after three quarters went in 1:22.3 that it would come down to those two stalwarts but just then is when yet another Burke trainee tossed his hat into the ring. Rockapelo (Matt Kakaley) was the longest shot on the board in the Gerrity and he shook free around the final turn before surging in the stretch. When This Is The Plan powered past Backstreet Shadow turning for home, it appeared that he had the race wrapped up until Rockapelo exploded in the lane and those two photoed for the win. This Is The Plan prevailed by a nose and stopped the timer in 1:50.2, the fastest clocking of the season thus far at Saratoga and in doing so, won for the fifth time in the 2021 campaign. Burke trainees comprised the entire trifecta as they ran one-two-three in the season’s biggest events for pacers. The exacta with Rockapelo second paid $116 while the triple with 8-5 second choice Backstreet Shadow third returned $337.50. This Is The Plan, who now has seasonal earnings of over $600,000, is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva- Purnell & Libby and Lawrence Karr. The 12th winner of the Gerrity was the runner-up in the 2019 installment of the memorial race when he finished second to stalwart Mcwicked at Saratoga two summers ago. Incredibly, Gingras and Burke are the twelfth different driver and trainer to win the Gerrity since its inception in 2009.
Live racing resumes on Monday afternoon at Saratoga with a thirteen race matinee that kicks off at Noon.
Photo: Melissa Simser-Iovino