Mention the words “Jug Week” and anyone interested in sled racing, be it its owner; driver; coach; or fan; gets a glint in his eye and a leap in his footsteps in anticipation of the excitement surrounding the prestigious Little Brown Jug and the week of great racing that preceded them.

“Jug Week” is in full swing at the Delaware County Fairgrounds with the 76th Little Brown Jug scheduled for Thursday, September 23. Fans are welcome to cheer on their favorites under sunny skies and enjoy the crisp, crisp air after the last spectator-free races of the year.

Chris Gooden Photo

Especially feeling the adrenaline rush associated with the “Jug” are the connections of the powerful three-year-old Lou’s Pearlman pacemaker, owned by Burke Racing Stable of Pennsylvania; Weaver Bruscemi (PA); Elizabeth Novak (FL); and Howard Taylor (PA). Trainer Ron Burke is confident and excited about superstar Sweet Lou’s home-bred son of mare Lucy’s Pearl. “I couldn’t be happier,” Burke said enthusiastically. “He has a lot of running ability from him, and we are delighted to be heading to the Jug on a hot streak.”

Owner Mark Weaver shares Burke’s enthusiasm. “We are delighted with him so far this year,” he said. “Since adding Lasix, he has really taken the next step. We’ve had the ‘Jug’ on our radar for a while and I’m glad he’s here. ”He added that it makes it very special for him to be Sweet Lou and Broodmare Lucy’s Pearl.

Lou’s Pearlman won his last three starts, including the Keystone Classic on September 17 at the Meadows Racetrack, winning that first division in 1: 50.4 with Ronnie Wrenn Jr. on the bike. With 5 2/3 wins in 13 starts this season, he has earned $ 199,294 and a career total of $ 442,606. A PA Sire Stakes Championship win on September 4 at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was before that, in which he battled a Billy Clyde first over and kicked down the straight to win at 1: 49.4.

He won with a commanding performance at the Max Hempt Memorial Consolation on August 21, leaving the field in the red dust of the Pocono Oval and scoring an 11 length victory in 1: 48.4. Phil Collura, a resident of Northeast Pennsylvania, a longtime prominent horse owner with the Weaver Bruscemi association, was on hand for the Pocono race and was all smiles to witness his triumph. He’s also excited about his success and was impressed after seeing him qualify for him last year at Gaitway. “He looked like a cute Sweet Lou colt, and since we own Sweet Lou, we are always happy to see whatever talent is a son or daughter of his.”

Once the Exit Gate starts rolling for the first elimination; (two eliminations with the top four of each going to the finals); Nerves are starting to kick in, but rider Yannick Gingras is calm and looking forward to the race, and has high praise for the colt. “I think he is entering the race in the best possible way. I think he will love the track and I hope he is very good.

When the dust settles and the cheers of the crowd roar, another Little Brown Jug champion will be crowned and adorned with the crown of roses, joining such notable winners as the great Tar Heel, marking the first two minutes of the mile in 1951; Goodbye Butler, breaking the two-minute barrier in 1959 with a 159.2, on his way to becoming the first Triple Crown winner; Bret Hanover’s sensational 1:57; the amazing Niatross with 1: 54,4; Lonestar Legend in 1: 49.3; and Wiggle It Jiggleit, the crowd favorite in 2015, with a 1: 49.3 win *. And all Lou’s Pearlman connections hope to add his name to that esteemed list of Little Brown Jug winners and make his mark on sled racing history.


Cover photo by Chris Gooden

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