05/07/2016 11:16AM

Giwner: Southwind Frank, Boston Red Rocks impress in qualifiers

Derick Giwner
Dan Patch Award winner Boston Red Rocks dashed through the slop to a 1:53 1/5 victory in a qualifier this morning at the Meadowlands

The presumptive leaders in the male 3-year-old ranks among trotters and pacers were at the Meadowlands to qualify on a dreary Saturday morning. Champions Southwind Frank and Boston Red Rocks both put in solid performances in their first races of 2016.

Southwind Frank led off the 11-race qualifying session over a deep track that clearly had a bit of standing water in spots. Yannick Gingras settled the Ron Burke trainee in fourth before coming to the rim at three-quarters to mount a late rally. Gingras all​owed Southwind Frank to trot home on his own while between horses to finish second, a half-length behind Jewels In Hock in a 1:56 3/5 mile.

“He was a little anxious early in the race, but settled in nicely after the half,” said Gingras. “I trained him three, four, five times, and he never really picked up the bit, but behind the gate he definitely got on the bit a little. When Jimmy (Marohn driving Commenary) got alongside us, he got excited.”

Southwind Frank is expected to qualify again next week before heading off to Sire Stakes action.

Boston Red Rocks one-upped his trotting counterpart by winning his first trial of 2016 in 1:53 1/5.  Driver Tim Tetrick waited in third with the Steve Elliott-trained colt before edging off the cones at the 1:25 3/5 three-quarter clocking. Once in gear, Boston Red Rocks finished up with a strong 27 1/5 final quarter for the easy win over a fast-closing Missile J.

“I never pulled his plugs. I just wanted to let him come home comfortably and not get passed,” said Tetrick, who added that the son of Rocknroll Hanover seemed to have more depth to him and a longer stride.

Both Gingras and Tetrick agreed that the track was on the tiring side Saturday morning.

“The track wasn’t very good, but we’ve had a lot of rain and I’m sure they did their best to have it ready,” said Gingras.

Other winners of note on the morning were:

-Bar Hopping (1:56 1/5) put in a nice brush down the backstretch and won easily.
-Honor And Serve (1:57) appeared sharper in winning his second qualifier of 2016.
-Highlandbeachycove (1:54 2/5) brushed to the front and won by open lengths over a fast-closing Racing Hill.
-Mcwicked (1:52) went down the road while never asked for late speed. In The Arsenal was equally-impressive finishing a length back in second.