Love Machine: $32,000 Claim Hunka Burning Love Carrying Momentum Into Oaklawn’s Fifth Season Stakes

Among the best claims of the 2020 Oaklawn meeting occurred last April when owner/trainer Karl Broberg took Hunka Burning Love for $32,000 out of a seventh-place finish in a 1 1/8-mile event for older horses. Broberg didn’t have to shake for the gelding, either.

All Hunka Burning Love has done in 10 starts for Broberg is win eight races, including four stakes, by a combined margin of more than 43 lengths and bankroll $259,199. Broberg had previously claimed Hunka Burning Love for $50,000 in September 2019 at Churchill Downs, but lost him for $62,500 less than a month later when, in his only start for the trainer, the gelding beat just one horse in an allowance/optional claiming sprint at Keeneland.

Clearly, Broberg hit a home run after taking his second swing at Hunka Burning Love.

“I wish I could say I had some grand master plan,” Broberg said. “I just knew from the previous claim that the horse was sound and that he had speed and it was at the end of Oaklawn. I’m like, ‘I know he’s going to fit somewhere.’ He still had his non-winner of two other than (allowance) condition at the time, so I didn’t have any grand plan other than thinking there were going to be much softer spots ahead for him.”

Well-spotted regionally, Hunka Burning Love dominated in two starts at Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma before claiming the $75,000 Lone Star Mile in June at Lone Star Park in Texas, $75,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes in August at Remington Park in Oklahoma, $100,000 Delta Mile Stakes Nov. 28 at Delta Downs in Louisiana and the $60,000 Jeffrey A. Hawk Memorial Stakes Dec. 18 at Remington Park in his last start.

Hunka Burning Love, North America’s co-winningest horse in 2020, is scheduled to begin his 2021 campaign in Saturday’s $150,000 Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn.

Hunka Burning Love began his racing career for the high-profile connections of trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, competing against top runners like McCraken, Warrior’s Club, Cool Arrow, Uncontested, Chief Know It All and Guest Suite before falling down the class ladder. Guest Suite won the first division of the 2020 Fifth Season.

“He’s been a solid horse throughout his career,” Broberg said. “He’s got heart. He’s just professional. The thing that’s funny about him is after every race, he doesn’t pull up. He wants to run right back around again, which is funny for the jocks on him for the first time.”

Broberg, the country’s perennial leader in victories, said the Fifth Season will be Hunka Burning Love’s biggest challenge since he re-claimed the 7-year-old son of super sire Into Mischief.

The 1-mile Fifth Season also attracted millionaire Grade 1 winner Combatant, Grade 3 winner Night Ops, second-division 2020 Fifth Season winner Pioneer Spirit and Silver State, a sharp winner of his last two starts. Hunka Burning Love, 6-1 on the morning line, is winless in four Oaklawn starts.

“If this fails, then I’m going to give him a break for a few months and we’ll come back elsewhere,” Broberg said.

Hunka Burning Love has a 16-4-6 mark from 46 lifetime starts and earnings of $517,329.

The post Love Machine: $32,000 Claim Hunka Burning Love Carrying Momentum Into Oaklawn’s Fifth Season Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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