Rock N Roll Heaven Wins Little Brown Jug In World Record Time
Published: September 23, 2010 2:00 pm ET
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Rock N Roll Heaven obliterated his seven rivals winning the $289,969 second heat of the Little Brown Jug in 1:49.2 for driver Dan Dube and trainer Bruce Saunders, setting a new harness racing two-heat world record on Thursday afternoon in front of a crowd of 48,118 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
Im Gorgeous (Andy Miller) was first off the gate with Rock N Roll Heaven settling into second and John Campbell in third with the other elimination winner, Classic Rock N Roll. That pocket ride for Rock N Roll Heaven was short-lived as Dube pulled on the turn and cleared to the lead before the opening :27.1 first split. Despite the modest fractions, the field was fairly strung out and didn't get close until David Miller was flushed out of fourth with Razzle Dazzle as the field passed in front of the grandstand in a :55.3 half.
On the backstretch, the field tightened up but Dube was sitting chilly through the 1:23 third station at which point Rock N Roll Heaven kicked it into another gear. Im Gorgeous tried to stay with him, but Rock N Roll Heaven busted out a wicked :26.2 final quarter to win by two and a quarter lengths in an identical time to his first elim win - 1:49.2. Im Gorgeous raced gamely for second with Razzle Dazzle just ahead of Rockin Image (Gingras) for third.
Rock N Roll Heaven's new two-heat world record of 3:38.4 eclipsed the 3:40.1 mark set by Shadow Play in 2008.
Owned by New York's Frank Bellino and bred by Steve Stewart, Charles, Julie and Francene Nash of Kentucky, Rock N Roll Heaven gives sire Rocknroll Hanover his first Jug win. It also marks the first win in the Jug for trainer Bruce Saunders and driver Dan Dube. The sophomore is now 9-for-14 on the season and surpassed the million dollar mark in seasonal earnings with the win.
"He had some things go his way in the opening heat," said Saunders after the win. "As you know that's the crucial part, getting to the final. [If you win in the opening heat] you're going to have an opportunity to have a good post. We were happy with the two-hole. When he got to the front and got a casual second quarter, I felt pretty comfortable. I am really a little shocked that he paced as much as he did in the second heat as easily as he did."
Saunders confirmed that all signs point for Rock N Roll Heaven to head next to Pocono Downs for the Breeders Crown elims, and the trainer wasn't concerned about going two heats this close to the Breeders Crown.
"I don't think it will bother my horse. I was very much on the fence about a third heat. I'm glad that we nailed the coffin shut after two heats. My owner loves to race, and he [would've] wanted to go a third heat, but I wouldn't have done that to this colt."
Formerly the finance minister for the State of Delaware, Saunders was humbled to be in the esteemed company of Jug winners.
"It's a storied race. I feel a lot better about it having participated and won. I'm not a big proponent of heat racing. I don't like racing with trailers. You need to have a very special horse and be very lucky to get the job done."
Driver Dan Dube had nothing but praise for his colt after the win.
"The horse raced amazingly. He was so good," said the native of Montreal. "I had hoped that it was going to work out the way I wanted. I had hoped I could get to the front like that, and it was perfect. When we got the breather it was kind of over."
Earlier in the day, Rock N Roll Heaven captured his opening-heat elimination in 1:49.2. Sent off as the post-time favourite from the two-hole, Rock N Roll Heaven was forwardly-place by Dube into the first turn. Driver Mark MacDonald, aboard Kyle Major, yielded the early lead to Aracache Hanover (driven by Doug McNair), who had shot out like a rocket from Post 8 to lead the field to the :26.1 opening quarter.
MacDonald re-took the lead after the quarter and led the field along the turn and into the stretch toward the half-mile pole. At that point, Dube sent Rock N Roll Heaven first over. As Dube and his mount were about to clear to the lead, Kyle Major rolled offstride. Rock N Roll Heaven went on to click off the half-mile timer in a sizzling 54 seconds.
From there, Rock N Roll Heaven was money in the bank.
Rock N Roll Heaven sprinted past the three-quarters pole in 1:21.4 and was much the best at the wire. The 1:49.2 win time lowered the Little Brown Jug record, which was previously held by Lonestar Legend (1:49.3). Rock N Roll Heaven's performance also tied the World Record set by Somebeachsomewhere at Flamboro Downs.
"Lucky Man set the table and showed the kind of mile that could be taken out here with the right fractions," Saunders said during a post-race interview. "Danny did a great job making the move that he did. I didn't really know what was going to transpire. I was watching from the backstretch. I couldn't see if Mark was working to keep him out or if he was even going to let him go. I think it's unfortunate that Kyle Major took a misstep, but it worked out in our favour. We got around him, and once we got to the front he just swelled up a little bit."
Razzle Dazzle (John Campbell) finished second and the Rene Laarman-trained Dreamlands Art (George Brennan) finished third, thus advancing to the second heat.
Fred And Ginger finished fourth, Aracache Hanover fifth, We Will See sixth, Foreign Officer seventh and Kyle Major eighth.
Classic Rock Nroll Grinds Out Win In Second Opening-Heat Elim Of Little Brown Jug
James Dean trainee Classic Rock Nroll was able to grind out a tough 1:50.4 lifetime best win in the second $64,437 elimination of the Little Brown Jug, giving driver John Campbell his fourth win of the afternoon.
Favoured Delmarvalous (Brian Sears) controlled the tempo through the opening splits, leading the strung out field with a sizzling :25.4 and a half of :53.3 with Piece Of The Rock (Paul MacDonell) sitting the pocket. From third, Campbell pulled Classic Rock Nroll just past the half and started to stalk the leader with Docs Yankee (Dan Noble) on his helmet.
The field bunched up on the backside through the 1:22.2 third quarter as Noble tipped Docs Yankee tipped three wide around the final turn. At the head of the lane, Delmarvalous packed it in and started to fade with Classic Rock Nroll making the front. MacDonell was able to stick handle Piece Of The Rock out of what was the pocket and made a late run but Classic Rock Nroll was a length and a half to the good in a national season's mark of 1:50.4 - the fastest for a sophomore pacing gelding in 2010. Docs Yankee was just behind Piece Of The Rock to make the final.
Kathleen Grant of Milton, Ont. owns Classic Rock Nroll, a brother to two past Jug winners - Bettors Delight and No Pan Intended.
"I hope we can make it a threesome for the mare," said Campbell with a smile after the race, admitting that the trip was pretty much as he had planned.
"I was sure with the draw he'd be first over and that doesn't bother him. I thought off his effort at Mohawk he was capable of that kind of trip."
Campbell went on to say that Classic Rock Nroll would be possibly better in the second heat and he didn't think two heats would bother his horse.
Im Gorgeous Noses Out Rockin Image In The Third Opening-Heat Jug Elim
In a highly-contentious dash, the George Teague, Jr-trained and Andy Miller-driven Im Gorgeous nosed out a game Rockin Image in the third and final opening-heat elimination of the Little Brown Jug today at Ohio's Delaware County Fairgrounds.
Rockin Image (driven by Yannick Gingras) finished second, while One More Laugh (Tim Tetrick) finished third. The top three finishers in the race advanced to the second heat of the Jug.
Im Gorgeous started from Post 3 and led the field of seven to the :26.1 opening quarter. He inherited a pocket trip in the second quarter when he let One More Laugh roll on the engine and take the field to a blazing opening half of :53.3.
It was in the third quarter when Rockin Image and Gingras came calling first-over. Rockin Image took over the lead in the vicinity of the three-quarters pole, which was tripped in a sizzling 1:21.
It was at that three-quarters pole when Miller had Im Gorgeous out and rolling once again. In a slugfest during the late goings, Miller just got Im Gorgeous up when it mattered most, at the wire, which was hit in 1:50.2.
"I had a couple of good horses in front of me and they were the ones to beat, but I thought I'd be there at the wire," Miller said during a post-race interview.
The field for the second heat of the Little Brown Jug appears below. Please note that One More Laugh drew the trailing Post 9 starting position, but was subsequently scratched from the race.
1 - Classic Rock Nroll (J. Campbell)
2 - Rock N Roll Heaven (D. Dube)
3 - Im Gorgeous (A. Miller)
4 - Razzle Dazzle (D. Miller)
5 - Piece Of The Rock (P. MacDonell)
6 - Rockin Image (Y. Gingras)
7 - Dreamlands Art (G. Brennan)
8 - Docs Yankee (D. Noble)
9 - One More Laugh (T. Tetrick) ***SCRATCHED
World Record For Lucky Man In Winbak Pace
It was World Record time today in the $46,250 Winbak Pace at Ohio's Delaware County Fair, as the Casie Coleman-trained and Mark MacDonald-driven Lucky Man was a wire-to-wire winner in a sizzling 1:49.2.
"He's a speed horse. Sometimes on the big track if you race him on the front they will pick him up late when he's in with good horses, but on a little track it's a different story," MacDonald said about Lucky Man in a winner's circle interview.
The win time went down as a new World Record for aged pacing geldings over a half-mile track. The all-age track record for horses at the Delaware County half-mile track is 1:49, which was recorded by both Jet Laag (1999) and Ponder (2006).
A compact field of five faced the gate for the Winbak, and when the wings pulled away Lucky Man, a five-year-old son of Ontario-based sire Camluck, put on his game face.
The career winner of 15 of 67 races and over $655,000 in career purses led the field through fractions of :26, :54.4 and 1:21.3 and seemingly wanted more.
Lucky Man came home with a :27.4 final quarter and made it another impressive victory for owner Tom Hill of Talacre, England.
Nob Hill High (driven by Dan Dube) finished second and Benns Superman (Brian Sears) third.
Autumn Escapade Equals World Record In Ms Versatility Final
David Miller was visibly pleased this afternoon at Ohio's Delaware County Fair after he drove Autumn Escapade, a mare he co-owns with his wife, to a World Record-equalling 1:53.2 mile in the $93,500 final of the Ms Versatility Trotting Series.
Taking nothing away from the Ohio-bred daughter of Victory Sam, Autumn Escapade competed with a field of five other top aged mares. Forced to due battle with stars Buck I St Pat, Southwind Wasabi, Yursa Hanover, Windsong Soprano and Elusive Desire, Autumn Escape didn't just win, she did all the work herself in a solid gate-to-wire performance.
Starting from Post 1, the career winner of 21 of 70 races sprinted the opening quarter in :27.4 before clicking off the half-mile timer in :57. She rolled by the three-quarters station in 1:25.1 and was on her game when her rivals swelled up in the lane.
Having come home with a :28.1 final quarter, Autumn Escapade hit the wire first. In doing so, she tied Mystical Sunshine's 1:53.2 World Record, which came over the county grounds in 2007.
"Buck I St Pat has beat us every time, so when she came … nothing is ever for sure. My mare felt good the whole way. When I asked her, she actually had something left. At the top of the stretch I pulled the plugs and she took right off."
Windsong Soprano (driven by Ron Pierce) made a bid in the homestretch to make things interesting, but fell short and finished second. Buck I St Pat (Tim Tetrick), who had contested the lead along the final turn, finished third.
"We bought her off R J after her three-year-old season and she's done nothing but good for us."
Old Oaken Bucket Training Sweep For Schnittker; Cassis Gets It Done
Ray Schnittker made it a training sweep of the Old Oaken Bucket this afternoon at Ohio's Delaware County Fairgrounds when he guided his Cantab Hall colt Cassis to victory in 1:55.2.
Schnittker opted to steer Cassis himself in the dash, as he took over for regular driver Tim Tetrick. Schnittker had stated beforehand, during an interview on the simulcast show, that Tetrick is still the colt's regular driver, but that he just wanted to steer the colt over the hallowed half-mile track this day.
After the call to post was delayed for a short instant, Schnittker and his colt lined up in the Post 4 slot. That was the closest the rest of the field would come to the duo on this day. Schnittker fired his pupil off the gate, carved the fractions in :27.2, :56.4 and 1:26 and came home well in hand with a :29.2 final quarter mile.
The win was the tenth of Cassis' 16-race career. He has now won nine of his 14 starts this season.
Sing Jesse Sing (driven by Dave Palone), who sat the pocket throughout the mile and took an unsuccessful shot at Cassis in the lane, finished second. Defend The Rock (Dave Magee) raced third throughout the mile and finished in that position at the wire.
Flex The Muscle Lowers NA Season's Mark In First 'Bucket' Split
The Ray Schnittker-trained and David Miller-driven Flex The Muscle took the opening division of the Old Oaken Bucket for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings today at Ohio's Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The Muscles Yankee colt took the dash in 1:54.4, which lowered the North American season's record for the division and class (the previous mark of 1:55.4 had been recorded by both himself and Cassis this summer).
Flex The Muscle took the gate-to-wire route in his Old Oaken Bucket victory. The career winner of 12 of 28 races left from Post 4 in the six-horse field and cut the fractions in :27.2, :56 and 1:24.4. He came home with a 28-second final quarter and delivered on his 1-5 post-time promise.
Great Emancipator (driven by Brad Kramer) took a pocket ride throughout and finished second. My D Sammy (Jimmy Smith), who was gapped in third for much of the dash, finished third.
Live Jazz Sets World, Track, Stakes Record In 2-YO Standardbred Trot
Two-year-old colt trotter Live Jazz established a world record, track record and stakes record with a 1:56.4 victory in the first division of the $72,000 Standardbred 2-YO Colt Trot.
Hall of Famer John Campbell as the son of Andover Hall defeated runner-up Bloomington by 8 ½ lengths. Soulful Delight won the second division for Ron Pierce in 2:01.
Live Jazz, trained by Hall of Famer Chuck Sylvester, broke the world mark of 1:57.2 and
the stakes record of 1:58. The win was the colt’s third in six career starts.
The second Standardbred division went to Soulful Delight, who was never seriously challenged and defeated Cash On Delivery by 1-½ lengths. It was Pierce’s first Delaware victory since he guided Well Said to the 2009 Little Brown Jug Championship.