06/04/2016 10:49PM

Meadowlands: Southwind Frank leads New Jersey Sire Stakes champions

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Southwind Frank was an authoriative winner in his New Jersey Sire Stakes final Saturday night

Southwind Frank defied a track bias that played heavily to closers as he marched to an authoritative 1:52 3/5 victory in the $100,000 final of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at the Meadowlands on Saturday night.

The likely favorite for this year's Hambletonian, Southwind Frank was parked in reserve as Brooklyn Hill blasted out to the front in a 27 1/5 opening quarter. Southwind Frank drove on to the front past the quarter and was very relaxed and professional for driver Yannick Gingras from there. Fractions of 56 1/5 and 1:25 left Southwind Frank with more than enough in the tank as he left Brooklyn Hill in the dust through a 27 3/5 final quarter. Brooklyn Hill finished second with Mavens Way third.

Ron Burke trains Southwind Frank, a career winner now in 13 of his 14 starts. The winner returned $2.80.

"He finished with earplugs in and under wraps," said Ron Burke his trainer. "It's on to the Beal from here."

Katies Rocker roared out of the pocket to track down 1-9 favorite Boston Red Rocks in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Driver David Miller pushed hard at the outset and released the hot favorite Boston Red Rocks before the 27 3/5 opening quarter. Fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:24 should have been all the favorite needed, but Miller vacated the two-hole on the final turn, and Katies Rocker dug in bravely to wear down the leader and score in a 1:50 3/5 mile.  Boston Red Rocks was second with Ideal Rocky third in the field.

It was the first victory in three starts this year for the homebred son of Rocknroll Hanover, owned by Fashion Farms LLC. and trained by Jim Campbell. Sent off at 5-1, Katies Rocker returned $12.60 to win.

Form held up better in the NJSS final for 3-year-old filly pacers as 1-9 favorite Blue Moon Stride enjoyed a lively cover trip and then rolled home powerfully to win going away in a 1:51 2/5 mile over the sloppy surface. Andrew McCarthy guided the Mark Harder-trained lass to her third victory of the season in four starts. J K Fannie was first-over and held gamely for second with pacesetter Rocknroll Vision holding third.

"She's a much stronger filly this year," said Mark Harder. "We'll go in the Lynch next."

With favored All The Time having gait problems throughout the $100,000 NJSS final for 3-year-old trotting fillies, the door opened for Southwind Hope to gain an 11-1 upset.

Yannick Gingras managed to hold All The Time together while racing without cover the final half. All The Time disposed of pacesetting Wildflower in the early stretch but was no match late as Gingras had to attempt to coax the filly forward while keeping her on stride. That set the stage for Southwind Hope and Andy Miller to vault off cover and provide the upset in a 1:54 2/5 mile. The Muscle Hill-sired filly started from post nine and managed to find a spot in the early stages before fishing out the live cover of the favorite.  Jazebel De Vie rallied late for third in the field.

"We've been really high on her all year," said Julie Miller, the winning trainer. "She's got a lot of heart."

Later on the card, Mel Mara bullied a talented field of open handicap pacers, and in the process, missed the all-time race-mile record by just a fifth of a second when the son of Lis Mara stopped the clock in 1:47, equaling State Treasurer's world record for an older pacing stallion on a mile track. Always B Miki, the 3-5 favorite, was no match for the winner after racing first-over most of the way.

Mel Mara returned $6.80 to win for driver Corey Callahan and trainer Dylan Davis.

--open pace recap courtesy of the Meadowlands--