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Harness: Changes on the horizon for A Rocknroll Dance
By Jay Bergman
A took a long time to happen but the pressure just became too great. Meadowlands Pace winner A Rocknroll Dance will have a new driver on Saturday night when he meets nine others in the $250,000 Monument Circle at Indiana Downs. The son of Rocknroll Hanover will have Pete Wrenn in the bike.
“I spoke with Pete yesterday and he said he would drive,” said Jim Mulinix A Rocknroll Dance’s trainer on Wednesday morning.
“I’ve been under a lot of pressure by the owners to make a change,” said Mulinix, “The horse has had so many tough draws and tough trips it’s hard to blame the driver for everything.”
Yannick Gingras will instead be driving Breakin The Law for trainer Ron Burke from post five on Saturday right next to the horse that earned him his first Meadowlands Pace victory.
Mulinix indicated that the wheels started to come off between the Little Brown Jug and Lexington and culminated at Woodbine where A Rocknroll Dance failed to reach the Breeders Crown final.
The trainer himself didn’t know whether driving A Rocknroll Dance more aggressively actually worked better for the horse than giving him an easy trip. Some of A Rocknroll Dance’s best miles have come when he was hard-used throughout the entire mile.
The colt drew outside in the Little Brown Jug and the trainer wasn’t excited when his driver stated he would be on a mission to get the front no matter what. That didn’t pan out as A Rocknroll Dance left the gate hard but elected to take a tuck and live to fight another day.
“I don’t blame Yannick (Gingras),” said Mulinix, “He took so much criticism for roughing the horse up. I could see why he would want to protect the horse.”
Mulinix sounded like he had become frustrated not only with the post draws and the tough trips, but the number of entries from a single trainer he had to endure. The remark seemed to be headed in the direction of the Ron Burke stable. They will be sending out both Breakin The Law and Sweet Lou on Saturday night in the Monument Circle.
According to Mulinix A Rocknroll Dance remains sound and fit and he expects the horse to perform well not just this Saturday, but throughout the rest of the season.
“I plan on racing him into December,” said Mulinix.
The ownership team had originally intended to send A Rocknroll Dance to the American National, but they decided instead to enter him in the November 10 Messenger at Yonkers Raceway. On paper it didn’t look as if eliminations would be necessary for the Messenger. If they had Mulinix and company would have had to choose between racing in Indiana or Yonkers.
“I’m glad there were no eliminations in the Messenger. I was really surprised that eight horses entered that race with a $20,000 starting fee,” said Mulinix.
The Monument Circle should be a tremendous race on a big night of racing at Indiana Downs. The field includes Hurrikane Kingcole (post 3) looking for some redemption after also failing to qualify for the Breeders Crown final, Cane Pace winner Dynamic Youth (post 7), Tattersalls Pace winner Sweet Lou (post 8) and Bettors Edge (post 10) most recently third in the Breeders Crown last Saturday at Woodbine.
For Mulinix, who has won more than 500 races as a driver, the decision to take Gingras off the horse appeared to hit home. When the year began the trainer owned a significant share in A Rocknroll Dance, but as the season progressed new partners were added to the mix and giving him less and less ownership control. As the colt’s trainer he has the ultimate right to choose the drivers ahead of any owner’s wishes and that’s perhaps why it took this long to make a change.
“It’s not as if there were other top drivers out there that we could have gotten,” said Mulinix.
In the end they will get Peter Wrenn this week and likely have Dave Miller to drive A Rocknroll Dance in the Messenger.
“I’m looking forward to racing him through the end of the year and I really think he will show how great he is when we come back to race him again next year as a four-year-old,” Mulinix said.
It’s hard to believe that at this stage of the season A Rocknroll Dance has won just four races yet earned over $1 million.
Maybe a change will do him good.
Indiana Downs offers a 14-race program on Saturday night with first post slated for 6:55 p.m..
- 1.Posted 12/11/2013 03:00PM
- 2.Posted 12/10/2013 02:23PM
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- 4.Posted 12/11/2013 03:32PM
- 5.Posted 12/10/2013 07:22PM