06/18/2011 12:52AM

Meese Rocks 5/14/05 - 6/1/11


MEESE ROCKS - 2005 bay mare by Rock and Roll - Meeses Pieces, by Grindstone.   Bred by Robert W. Misa, Jr.  Owned by Henry, Joseph and Jamie Terranova.  Trained by Edward R. Barker.  Race record:  22 starts, 9 wins, 6 seconds, 2 thirds.  $443,410.  Won the Iroquois, Union Avenue, Broadway, Personal Girl.  Second or third in the Fleet Indian, Anniron, Garland of Roses, Interborough, Correction.

By the time I began watching Meese Rocks, at Saratoga last summer, she was 5. The sweet-faced beauty had 6 wins by then, but her lone stakes victory was a $60,000 state-bred stakes. And while I’d photographed her trainer, Eddie Barker, in many winner’s circles, I rarely stopped by his barn.

Jason Garcia told me about Meese Rocks early one morning as he sat aboard the red-bay daughter of Rock and Roll. I say ‘early’ because Meese Rocks often went out in the first set. For much of the meet, she was on-track before the sunrise.

Eddie escorted his mare to the track daily, quietly following behind as she marched dutifully to her task. I occasionally spoke with him as he watched her gallop past. His pride in her was obvious.

Meese Rocks trained powerfully with an unusual self-assurance. One morning, she was a near runaway with jockey Jorge Chavez aboard. Soon thereafter, she won Saratoga’s Union Avenue Stakes by more than 6 lengths.

I was impressed by just how beautifully she was prepared for the race. Her groom must have spent hours rubbing her coat and braiding her mane. Her connections in the paddock watched her with admiration and pride. Eddie was dressed in a sharp coat and tie as he tended to her. And when Meese Rocks bounced back to the winner’s circle, there were proud smiles all around.

After the race, I read in Saratoga Special that Meese Rocks was owned by a wonderfully enthusiastic trio, Henry Terranova and his sons Joe and Jamie. She was their first purchase. Not bad.

Meese Rocks won her third stakes in December. Her stakes placings added up, too. I was happy to see her turn up in Laurel’s G2 Barbara Fritchie in February where, although she finished 4th – beaten 10 lengths – she sported, by far, the best winter haircut.

The unusually consistent mare returned to New York where, at Aqueduct, she won her fourth stakes – the Broadway, on the Gotham undercard March 5. Afterward, Eddie announced Meese Rocks would get some time off.

“She has a lot of heart, this filly, I’ll tell you that,” Eddie said. “I love her.”

He said they’d probably give her 60-90 days off and bring her back at the end of Belmont or the beginning of Saratoga.

It was not to be.

Three months later, in a heartfelt blog, her owners announced her death from laminitis. Meese Rocks had done all that she could for them during her career. When she came down with a hock infection they returned the favor, trying their best to save her. In time, however, they knew it was best to let her go.

Their blog ends with a simple line beneath a beautiful photo of their bay pride and joy standing in her stall – her stall webbing marked with “Eddie B”. Just looking at the photo makes my eyes well with tears. I can’t imagine what it does to them.

Meese Rocks 5/14/05 - 6/1/11

Above:  Eddie Barker puts the final touches on Meese Rocks before the Union Avenue at Saratoga on August 23, 2010.

Above and below:  Meese Rocks at Laurel Park for the G2 Barbara Fritchie on February 19, 2011. 

Above and below:  Meese Rocks at Saratoga, 2010.

Above:  Jason Garcia and Meese Rocks at Saratoga, 2010.  Below, Jorge Chavez and Meese Rocks at Saratoga, 2010.  Chavez rode Meese Rocks in 14 of her 22 starts.

Above:  Meese Rocks, her regular rider Jorge Chavez aboard, powers home in the Union Avenue at Saratoga, August 23, 2010.

Above:  Meese Rocks in the Aqueduct paddock before the Broadway Stakes, March 5, 2011. Below:  Meese Rocks wins the Broadway on March 5, 2011.  Junior Alvarado is aboard.

Above:  Even set against the Aqueduct casino construction backdrop, Meese Rocks' beauty - and her groom and trainer's pride - shines through.

Above:  Loving pats all around for Meese Rocks in the Broadway winner's circle.  Below, Meese Rocks leaves the winner's circle for the last time.

The Terranovas' farewell to Meese Rocks: terranovaracingstable.blogspot.com/2011/06/meese-rocks.html

The Saratoga Special article, 8/24/10, about the Terranovas and Meese Rocks: www.st-publishing.com/cms2/index.php/the-special-mainmenu-76/17-saratoga-news/1535-cup-of-coffee-father-a-sons

Meese Rocks, showing her typical determination, winning the Broadway:  www.youtube.com/watch