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Rock N Roll Heaven, Put On A Show Crowned NJSS Champs


Published: May 29, 2010 5:07 pm ET

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Berry's Creek champion Rock N Roll Heaven added another trophy to his coffers in the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for three-year-old colt pacers on Saturday afternoon at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Parked out on the opening turn, Rock N Roll Heaven and driver Daniel Dube pressed on to take the lead from Ideal Matters (Tim Tetrick) past an opening quarter in :26.3. They strode to the half in :54.2 before yielding to AJ Corbelli (George Brennan), who boldly brushed to command entering the final turn. Almost immediately, AJ Corbelli went off stride and moved into the outer path, allowing Dube and Rock N Roll Heaven to close the gap and retake the lead in a 1:21.1 third quarter. Rock N Roll Heaven opened up by two lengths on the field as they reached the straightaway and dug in for a career best 1:48.3 score.

The time of the mile was the fastest in the 39-year history of the New Jersey Sires Stakes program erasing the previous record of 1:49.1 set by Artistic Fella on June 24, 2006.

The 6-5 favourite, Rock N Roll Heaven paid $4.40 to win the sixth race feature. Shoobees Place (Dave Miller) sat third on the pylons the whole way and rallied for second. Ideal Matters took aim at the winner from the pocket and held off a late surge by Tobago Cays (Brian Sears) for third.

"He's so fast, and can do everything right," Dube said. "I knew [AJ Corbelli] was coming. The only thing I could do was let him go because if we challenged each other, it would have been tough on us. Then George [Brennan and AJ Corbelli] moved over and we got back to the front."

Rock N Roll Heaven improved his record to four wins in five starts and picked up his second stakes trophy this season after capturing the $220,000 Berry's Creek on May 8. The son of Rocknroll Hanover was also the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion at age two. Trainer Bruce Saunders and owner Frank Bellino of Bronxville, New York, are pointing Rock N Roll Heaven for the $1.5 million North America Cup on Saturday, June 26 at Mohawk Racetrack and $1 million Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 17.

"You have to have [gate speed], especially since you're racing in the daytime today," Saunders noted of the colt's early charge to the lead. "The better horses get forwardly placed. You can't come from the back of the bus, because those horses up front can all come home in :27 or better."

It took a photo to declare the winner of the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship for three-year-old pacing fillies. After an electrifying stretch battle, it was Put On A Show who nosed out Naughtytiltheend (Brian sears) for the victory in 1:50.1, which was two-fifths of a second off the 1:49.4 NJSS mark for fillies set June 18, 2004 by Apple Krisp. Full Picture (Richie Silverman) finished far back in third.

"My mare got really anxious on me down the backside and she wouldn't settle," Tetrick said of moving Put On A Show to the lead past the half. "I spent a little bit too much in the middle half on her [:54.1, 1:21.1]. I was trying to go as slow as I could and she was pulling me out of the seat. She was just too fresh today and, luckily, we got to the wire first."

Also by Rocknroll Hanover, the filly is now nine-for-11 lifetime for trainer Chris Ryder and owners Craig Henderson of Chicago, Illinois and Richard and Joanne Young of Coconut Creek, Florida. Put On A Show was a $75,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale.

To view Saturday's results, click here

(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack and NJSS)

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