An Overlooked 'Cup' Closer?

Published: June 15, 2012 02:49 pm EDT

"If he gets in front he kind of daydreams. Even in training, if you cut the mile with him he is more interested in visiting with the horse racing next to him than in beating him. If he is following a horse he is a lot more racy.”

A Rocknroll Dance, trained by Wauseon, Ohio native Jim Mulinix, has proven he can compete at the highest level. He's finished first or second in 10 of 14 lifetime starts and has earnings of more than $900,000. Last year, the son of Rocknroll Hanover was runner-up for both the U.S. and Canadian divisional honours and co-held the freshman world record of 1:49.1 until Sweet Lou took a fifth of a second off that mark in the 2011 Breeders Crown.

So far in 2012, A Rocknroll Dance has won a division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes at The Meadowlands and finished second in the Final. Last Saturday in his $50,000 division of the North America Cup, A Rockroll Dance was bumped at the top of the stretch and finished in fifth place behind winner Dapper Dude.

“He was making a big move until he got bumped and then was swallowed up by a flurry of late closers. But, he still finished just a a half-length back, in 1:49.3,” said Mulinix. “We’ll get another chance this Saturday in the North America Cup Final.” Yannick Gingras is the colt’s driver, and the duo will leave from Post 7 on Saturday night. The son of Rocknroll Hanover was assessed odds of 10-1 on the morning line.

Mulinix brought A Rocknroll Dance back to Wauseon on Sunday, a six hour drive. “We turned him out at our farm and he’ll relax and eat grass. We’ll jog him on Monday and Tuesday and train him on Wednesday. But, we’ll give him plenty of playing time. Then we will go back to Mohawk on Friday.”

Mulinix has plenty of admiration for Sweet Lou. “He was just tremendous in his win and it will be hard for anybody to beat him. But I think we have a good chance. My horse is sound and extremely good. I still feel good about his chances.”

Down the road, Mulinix is hopeful his colt is still among the best sophomore pacers so that he can race in the Little Brown Jug - a race constantly on his mind. “When I’m training him and we turn for home I always feel like I’m racing in the Jug. I have driven many times over the Delaware track so I sort of visualize racing through the stretch.”

A Rocknroll Dance is following much the same path taken by 2011 Jug champion Big Bad John. Like Big Bad John, A Rocknroll Dance remains at his home training track between races the same as Potter did with Big Bad John a year ago.

“We want to represent Ohio. That is our goal,” says Mulinix. “Being from Ohio, it would be great if we could win the Jug.” Mulinix shares ownership of A Rocknroll Dance with Denny Miller of Archbold, OH and Jerry and Theresa Silva of Long Beach, NY. Mulinix purchased the colt for $15,000 from Paul Marino at the Standardbred Horse Sale.

The Pepsi North America Cup will be part of a special one and a half hour national broadcast on The Score Television Network this Saturday evening from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Mohawk's stellar Saturday program will also feature the $642,000 Fan Hanover Stakes, $530,000 Elegantimage Stakes, $376,000 Armbro Flight Stakes, $351,000 Goodtimes Stakes and the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup.

$1.5 Million Pepsi North America Cup
Post Position - Horse - Driver - Morning Line Odds

1 - Bettors Edge - Tim Tetrick - 30-1
2 - Dapper Dude - John Campbell - 8-1
3 - Time To Roll - Andy Miller - 12-1
4 - Sweet Lou - Dave Palone - 3-5
5 - Thinking Out Loud - Randy Waples - 12-1
6 - State Treasurer - David Miller - 20-1
7 - A Rocknroll Dance - Yannick Gingras - 10-1
8 - Warrawee Needy - Jody Jamieson - 9-2
9 - Pet Rock - Brian Sears - 15-1
10 - Simply Business - Ron Pierce - 25-1
AE1 - Easy Again – TBA

To view the full entries for Saturday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.

(with files from the Little Brown Jug)