08/20/2012 8:30AM

Harrah's Philadelphia: Googoo Gaagaa and A Rocknroll Dance strut their stuff

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Derick Giwner
Googoo Gaagaa and driver Corey Callahan in the Philadelphia winner's circle after winning the Colonial Trot in 1:52 1/5.

The fans turned out in Chester, Pa., to view the fifth annual Super Stakes Sunday and were treated to a strong card of stakes action. The headline events – Colonial and Battle of the Brandywine – provided redemption for Googoo Gaagaa and perhaps some much-deserved respect for A Rocknroll Dance.


In what has been a whirlwind season for the talented half pacing-bred trotter Googoo Gaagaa, few knew what to expect in the $500,000 Colonial trot for 3-year-olds. The colt set a world record 1:50 4/5 mile in June at Mohegan Sun Pocono but fell victim to breaks in both of his July stakes engagements.

Sent off as the co-second choice with Hambletonian winner Market Share, Googoo Gaagaa watched as the favored Little Brown Fox, who was partnered with Guccio and Uncle Peter in the wagering,  led the way through a :28 1/5 opening quarter with Market Share set up nicely in the pocket.

By the half in :56 3/5, Googoo Gaagaa was on the move with Guccio, who would break before the stretch, following closely second over. Driver Corey Callahan allowed Googoo Gaagaa to do as he pleased and the colt finally engaged the leader at three-quarters in 1:24 2/5.

Despite taking air for three-eighths of a mile, Googoo Gaagaa sprinted clear in the lane and had enough left to hold off a late inside charge from Market Share in 1:52 1/5.

“My plan was to be on the lead or be first up,” said Callahan. “To be honest, I didn’t want anyone in my way. I wanted him to just do his thing.”

While Googoo Gaagaa did his own thing, he almost came up short in the final strides.

“I thought I was in the clear and then here comes (Market Share) making a pretty good move. So I kind of gave him a few extra taps and away he went. I think he thought he had it won too. He kind of had his chest pumped out,” said Callahan, who thought a trip to Lexington might be in the colt’s future.

Owner, trainer and breeders Richard Hans downplayed his role in the horse’s success.

“I know he can go with them but he may need a better trainer,” said Hans, who mentioned he has thought about selling the colt but hasn’t been able to part with his best student.

Googoo Gaagaa now has 7 wins from 10 starts and $603,355 in the bank this year.

While Googoo Gaagaa was getting redemption, A Rocknroll Dance may have finally earned some of the respect that has eluded him in 2012.

Despite a Hempt (Pocono) and a Meadowlands Pace victory, and a game second-place finish in the Adios at The Meadows, A Rocknroll Dance has hardly been looked at as the dominant horse he has been. Even though the war horse had posted eight consecutive sub-1:50 miles coming into the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine and had clearly stamped himself as the best 3-year-old in the country, he was only able to muster one first place vote in the weekly Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll.

That is likely to change after Sunday.

A Rocknroll Dance waited in third behind vicious :25 3/5 and :52 3/5 opening fractions before making a decisive move towards the front. He was just a nose behind past three-quarters in 1:20 1/5 and began to open up his lead from there.
At the wire, A Rocknroll Dance scored a 1 1/2-length victory over a fast closing Pet Rock in a stakes and track record 1:48 1/5.

Driver Yannick Gingras couldn’t say enough about A Rocknroll Dance after the race.

“He’s a pleasure. It is unbelievable how tough he is. No matter what type of trip he shows up,” said Gingras.

For trainer Jim Mulinix, who has expertly kept the colt at the top of his game as others have petered out, the win was sweet.

“I’m just so pleased,” said Mulinix, who ships A Rocknroll Dance himself and often stays in the trailer with the horse.”It is just so hard to keep a horse at the top level each week. He just seems to stay healthy and we do everything we possibly can. I’ve made enough mistakes in my life that hopefully we try to do every aspect of the business right, even down to the shipping.”

While A Rocknroll Dance has only 4 wins in 11 starts this year, he sports an impressive $901,425 earnings total for owner A Rocknroll Dance Stable. He will be seeking to add to that total next week.

“From here we go to the Cane (August 26),” said Mulinix.” I’ve never raced at Tioga. I don’t even know how to get there yet. We will probably ship out there Friday. We might try to find a farm close by so he can get out and get some grass. Then we will most likely head to the Jug.”

Thanks to an industry-wide push led by Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural, A Rocknroll Dance will likely come back for an encore next season.

“If he is healthy and sound, the new rules kind of make it so it is to your advantage to race as a 4-year-old,” said Mulinix. “Right now we are planning on racing as a 4-year-old. I’m actually looking forward to that if he stays sound. As a 2-year-old I really stressed to Yannick not to leave hard or overdo it. I told him, ‘I don’t care about track records. Let’s just try to make money and not hurt the horse.’ This year, it is so tough; it is who can survive the longest and right now we are in pretty good shape. As a 4-year-old I’ll have a little more freedom to train him a little stiffer and if we want to set some records or do things, we can do that more as a 4-year-old.”

When talking about the leading horses in the country, Chapter Seven may have secured himself the top spot in the aforementioned poll with a decisive 1:52 1/5 win in the $150,000 Maxie Lee for older trotters.

The talented 4-year-old rolled to an easy six-length win and never had an anxious moment.

He is expected to start next in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs on Sept. 7.

Romantic Moment captured the other major stake on the card with 3-year-old filly Romantic Moment in 1:50 1/5.
The $350,000 Valley Forge was her fifth victory in eight starts this year.