08/23/2010 4:17PM

Meese Rocks splashes her way to a win in Union Avenue

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Jorge Chavez guided Meese Rocks to victory in a sloppy Union Avenue at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Eddie Barker wasn’t surprised Meese Rocks won Monday’s $70,000 Union Avenue Stakes. He was surprised how she did it.

After winning a three-ply speed battle, Meese Rocks took command leaving the five-sixteenths pole, then splashed her way through the sloppy Saratoga stretch en route to a 6 1/4-length victory over Gold for the Queen. It was a neck back to City Broad in third.

The victory was the fourth from seven starts this year and seventh from 15 career outings for Meese Rocks, a 5-year-old daughter of Rock and Roll. The win helped erase the painful memory of her head loss in the Fleet Indian Stakes here on July 30.

"I didn’t think she’d win as dominant as she did," said Barker, who trains Meese Rocks for Henry, Joseph, and Jamie Terranova. "I couldn’t be happier. There were some really good horses in the race. I didn’t think I’d see her on the lead either."

Under Jorge Chavez, Meese Rocks raced in the middle of the track down the backside with La Concerto on the rail and Gold for the Queen in between as the trio ran an opening quarter in 22.65 seconds. Meese Rocks got to the quarter pole 1 1/2 lengths in front through a half-mile in 45.55 and was never challenged in the stretch.

Meese Rocks covered the six furlongs in 1:11.41 and returned $8.40 to win.

Hilda’s Passion wires Bennington

Trainer Todd Pletcher had the 3-5 morning-line favorite in Rose Catherine for Monday’s $70,000 Bennington Stakes. But when the race came off the turf, he scratched that filly.

No matter. Pletcher was able to win the race anyway with Hilda’s Passion, entered for the main track only, who rocketed to the front under Javier Castellano and cruised to a front-running, 8 3/4-length victory.

Hilda’s Passion, a daughter of Canadian Frontier, carved out fractions of 22.31 seconds, 45.58, 57.48, and covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.84. She returned $8.80 to win.

Malibu Moon Dance was second by 1 1/2 lengths over Decelerator.

Hilda’s Passion is owned by the Starlight Partners of Jack and Laurie Wolf and Don and Barbara Lucarelli.