It has been quite a year for Ron Burke.
In addition to training nearly 700 winners to earnings in excess of $15 million, he was elected this month to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. On Wednesday he won the Jugette with Scarlett Hanover.
And Thursday at the Delaware County Fair, his year got even better.
The Burke-conditioned Lou’s Pearlman grabbed the lead down the stretch and nipped the favorite, Perfect Sting, by a nose to win the 76th Little Brown Jug in 1:52.4 on a windy, 55-degree day.
Whichwaytothebeach finished third.
The win was the third in seven years for the team of Burke and driver Yannick Gingras, who won the 2014 Jug with Limelight Beach and the 2017 edition with Filibuster Hanover. It marked the first time since 1998 that a trainer captured both the Jug and the Jugette in the same week.
“To win the Jug and the Jugette in the same year, it’s hard,” Burke said. “It’s hard to win one of these things, and to win them both, it’s very special.”
Lou’s Pearlman, who paid $5.20 to win, is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Elizabeth Novak and Howard Taylor, who also owned and raced his sire and dam, Sweet Lou and Lucy’s Pearl.
“This is the first one we ever bred,” he said. “That makes it special.”
The Jug seemed to be a match race between Lou’s Pearlman and Perfect Sting from the moment the pair were installed as dual 2-1 morning line favorites.
Lou’s Pearlman got on the board first, capturing his division of the first heat by a…