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Rock N Roll Heaven To Qualify Tuesday; Saunders Comments On Burlington


Published: June 14, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Last Comment: June 19, 2010 12:45 am ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Any horseman that has been in the game long enough knows that racing luck can derail the best laid plans. And with that said, Bruce Saunders, trainer of the highly-touted Rock N Roll Heaven, has been forced to switch gears somewhat due to his colt's experience in Saturday's foggy edition of the Burlington Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack.

After having raced first-over along the backstretch and cleared prior to the opening half-mile marker in his Burlington division, Rock N Roll Heaven broke stride and was pulled away from the rest of the field by driver Dan Dube. The race would eventually be won by Ideal Matters and pilot Dave Palone in 1:50.1. Rock N Roll Heaven would be charted as having pulled up and deemed a colt that did not finished (DNF) the race.

2010 Burlington Stakes (Division No. 2) - Ideal Matters - 1:50.1

When contacted by Trot Insider this morning (Monday, June 14), Saunders explained that after being taken away from the rest of the field by Dube, Rock N Roll Heaven did go on to finish up his mile. Although, instead of having his performance recorded as 'distanced,' the colt's mile was recorded as a DNF. Due to the DNF on Rock N Roll Heaven's race line, Saunders has been forced to enter his stable star to qualify at Mohawk.

Rock N Roll Heaven has drawn Post 2 in Race 1 Tuesday morning at Mohawk when a six-dash qualifying docket is scheduled to kick off at 10:00 a.m.

"I tried to lobby to get the line changed. I don't know why they listed him as DNF and not distanced," Saunders told Trot Insider in regard to his discussions with the Ontario Racing Commission judges afterward.

"Now the horse is in to go in the first qualifying race at Mohawk, which, if all goes well, will allow us to get him entered in time for the North America Cup eliminations (which are to be contested Saturday, June 19 at Mohawk)."

As for the reason for the break, Saunders cited foggy conditions at the Campbellville oval, which were in full effect Saturday night.

"Apparently, in the eerie, foggy night, the (half-mile) timer flashed and spooked him," Saunders said. "The overhead lighting at Mohawk is good, but the fog was so thick at points on Saturday that even that lighting couldn't get down through the fog to track level. Danny got cleared and they were going toward the half. The timer flashed up and spooked him. He took a couple of steps away from it and Danny did a great job -- he basically just had to make a right-hand turn at the drop of a dime while going 30 miles and hour."

Saunders said that he has not lost confidence in the horse at all, and that if anything he feels for the bettors in the race that bet him down to be the heavy post time choice.

In terms of Rock N Roll Heaven's schedule, Saunders said that it is a blip along the road at this point. "I was more worried that we couldn't get a race into him leading up to the Burlington," he said.

Looking forward to the qualifier, Saunders said that, if the conditions are right, they will look to stretch him out a little.

"Depending on the elements, and if the weather is good, we want to go a good mile with him," Saunders explained. "If I could, I would sit in with him if he is in there with some racehorses, and then come home with a back half in about :54 for a mile in about (1:) :53 or :54."

To view the entries for the Mohawk qualifying session, click here.

June 19, 2010 - 12:45 amwith trackus, was there not

scott martin SAID...

with trackus, was there not some kind of electronic way to prove that the horse finished?

June 15, 2010 - 7:00 amI'm with Saunders as well,

I'm with Saunders as well, that was one weird night, the horse should have received the benefit of doubt on that one, that teletimer probably looked like a tractor trailer heading toward him that night especially on a strange track, too bad.

June 14, 2010 - 5:32 pmI'm with Saunders on this

norm files SAID...

I'm with Saunders on this one....Rock N Roll Heaven probably went a 3 minute mile, but he DID cross the wire.

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