By Ken Weingartner
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – August 7, 2017 - Check Six was charging hard in the lane, propelling the four-year-old stallion to a 38-1 surprise in Saturday’s $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older male pacers by two lengths over Mel Mara in 2:02.1 for the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Mach It So finished third.
Mel Mara was sent to the early lead, with All Bets Off second and Rock N’ Roll World third. He led the field to the opening quarter in 26.2, half in 54.1 and three-quarters in 1:21.1. Mach It So launched a first-over bid for the lead as the group hit the mile in 1:48.1, with Check Six following his cover.
In the stretch, Check Six and driver Yannick Gingras fanned three-wide and powered to victory.
Check Six has won two of 12 races this year and 17 of 45 in his career, with earnings of $1.38 million. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Vanna is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Bill Switala, and Jim Martin.
“I thought I had a chance to get a good piece,” Gingras said. “I thought this horse has a lot of bad luck. The last time he raced here he had post 11 and he never saw daylight. I was running over top of horses in the stretch. He’s had a lot of troubled trips, but I thought he was sitting on a big one and he was.”
Check Six paid $79.00, $23.80 and $8.60. Mel Mara paid $3.20 and $2.60. Mach It So paid $3.00.
The McKee Memorial, formerly the U.S. Pacing Championship, honors the late Meadowlands Racetrack announcer and Communicators Hall of Fame member Sam McKee, who passed away earlier this year.