Sacramento, CA — The California Harness Horsemen’s Association is proud to announce that Robin Burns and the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheel’s will be inducted into the California Harness Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday (Jan. 13).
“What a terrific honor,” said Burns. “To be mentioned in the same breath as Joe O’Brien, Pres Jenuine, Jim Dennis and the other members is really beyond comprehension.
“I can’t thank enough the members of the selection committee for their unanimous vote.”
A native of Niagara Falls, N.Y., Burns attended the University of Miami (Fla.) and The Columbia School of Broadcasting.
Burns first came to the attention of California fans as the announcer at Hollywood Park and also handled those duties at Los Alamitos and at Cal Expo.
He has also been the voice at harness tracks The Meadowlands, Freestate Raceway, Rosecroft Raceway, Louisville Downs, The Red Mile and Midwest Harness. His Thoroughbred announcing has seen him calling the races at Laurel Park, Pimlico and currently Presque Isle.
Burns estimates he has called more than 80,000 races, including several broadcast on ESPN and CBS, including the Breeders Crown, Maryland Million and Washington D.C. International.
His extensive resume has seen him serve as director of racing, director of simulcasting, consultant to the Macau Trotting Club, steward, starter, morning line maker and simulcast host.
He helped launch the TVG Network while serving as director of traffic and simulcasting and as on-air host and analyst. His other television credits include hosting Racing from The Meadowlands on the Madison Square Garden Network; Winning at Rosecroft on Home Team Sports in Washington, D.C. and Harness Hoofbeats on Channel 9 in Los Angeles.
In addition, Burns has lent his voice to the Hollywood movies “On the Right Track” and “Little Miss Marker.”
Also being inducted this year into the Hall of Fame this week is the late pacer Hi Ho Silverheel’s.
Hi Ho Silverheel’s was a brilliant racehorse, earning just shy of $1.2 million with a 1:49.4 mark, and also proved to be one of the more influential harness racing stallions in the history of California breeding.
A member of the class of 1991, Hi Ho Silverheel’s was by Walton Hanover out of the Abercrombie mare Armbro Caprice.
“He wasn’t bred in California, but he was foaled here and he’s the best we’ve ever produced,” said Wayne Knittel, who stood the stallion.
In his racing days, Hi Ho Silverheel’s was scintillating to watch. Rick Kuebler drove him in all his California starts and was also at the controls when he competed in the Dan Patch at Hoosier Park.
“He was the most gifted equine athlete I ever sat behind,” Kuebler stated. “He had the unique combination of high speed and the capability to carry it. He routinely paced miles in 1:51 and change at Los Alamitos and I felt that on a good day he would break the 1:50 barrier.
“There was a period in his career where you could have matched him up against the nine other best horses in the world and he would have been the odds-on favorite. He was that impressive.”
Robert Staats final, Open Pace headline on Saturday
Lickcreek Speedway looms the overwhelming favorite in Saturday night’s (Jan. 12) $9,600 Robert Staats final, while Icy Blue Scooter gets top billing in the co-featured $7,000 Open Pace.
Watch and Wager LLC will present 12 races and the action gets underway at 6:10 p.m with the Staats going as the sixth event and Open Pace occupying the eighth race slot on the evening.
Lickcreek Speedway was sent off the 3-5 chalk in last week’s Robert Staats prep and made it look like a belated Christmas gift as she romped home by 4-1/2 lengths over the sloppy track.
A 4-year-old daughter of Sand Shooter, the bay mare goes about her business for owner Jennifer Scarberry with James Kennedy reining and training. Her other victory at the meeting came in the Annette Funicello prep in late November.
Taking her on Saturday, from the rail out: Dancer’s Fancy with Dean Magee; Glad to Meet Ya, Luke Plano; Lookslikewemadeit, Steve Wiseman; Damoricdalesno, Nathan Sobey; and Brigitte Bordeaux, who will be guided by Mooney Svendsen.
Icy Blue Scooter is coming off a pair of dominating Open Pace scores for driver/trainer Nathan Sobey, who also co-owns the 6-year-old son of Blue Burner with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy.
Sent off the 8-5 chalk in last week’s top dance, Icy Blue Scooter came first over at the half, engaged the leader into the lane and then came home smartly in :27.1 to seal the deal by 2-1/4 lengths with Sobey at the helm.