This time last year, trainer Bruce Saunders was prepping Rock N Roll Heaven for the richest race for sophomore pacers, the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup
The New Jersey resident shipped his star pacer to Canada to compete in the Burlington Stakes (now called the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes), the springboard to the North America Cup.
It was in that race that raised eyebrows as the career winner of $2,774,478 was pulled up and did not finish the race. Saunders then qualified Rock N Roll Heaven three days later to race four days later in the North America Cup elimination. He finished fourth in the final.
Now, Saunders, who has trained winners over $25 million is back again as Lookinforadventure will contest in the $100,000 Somebeachsomewhere Stakes this Saturday.
“We are hoping for a better result,” Saunders laughed from his East Rutherford home. “Lookinforadventure is coming into the Somebeachsomewhere in fine form. Hopefully, it takes a wicked mile to beat him.
“We have an important three weeks in Canada, there’s a lot of money to go for and a lot of top colts. This will sort out who the top colts are and who belongs in the middle of the pack.”
Last season the four-time winner banked $219,538 and captured the $200,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final in 1:52. He then shipped to Canada to compete in the $1 million Metro Stakes, but had no luck.
Coming into this season, Saunders was very optimistic with his pupil’s chances of having a lucrative campaign.
“He trained down sensational, we set out a program for him this season but that changed due to what was happening to The Meadowlands so we made alternative plans.”
Everything seemed to be going as planned for Lookinforadventure until his first sophomore qualifier.
“We had a few speed bumps to overcome earlier this year," Saunders said. "He got himself all torched up the first time we qualified him, then we were a few weeks getting him comfortable with a few equipment changes.”
The son of Rocknroll Hanover is fresh off a fourth place finish to Big Jim in the $400,000 New Jersey Classic last Saturday at The Meadowlands, an effort with which Saunders was pleased.
“He raced much better in the final, compared to the elimination,” Saunders explained. “In the final, Brett (Miller) was able to drop him in behind the pace setter, Shadyshark Hanover and turning for home, he went to the inside and finished well. I thought if he went to the outside, he might have had a better chance because he bares out a little. Overall, it was a good effort and he should advance off that.”
The veteran trainer also believes that Big Jim is in a class of his own.
“I thought coming into this year there were three classes of colts. Big Jim was in a class of his own, then horses like Shadyshark Hanover, Fashion Delight, Feel Like A Fool, Big Bad John and hopefully my guy because he was within a length of them last year are on the same class.
Thirdly, remained the rest of the competitive three-year-olds.”
Lookinforadventure has a 1:51.4 lifetime best and $255,938 in earnings for Frank Bellino of New York.
Saunders is hoping for better luck this time around as Lookinforadventure goes to post in the seventh race on Saturday evening with the first race scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
For a free, printable program for Mohawk's Saturday night program of harness racing courtesy of TrackIT, click the following link: Saturday Program - Mohawk Racetrack.
(with files from WEG)