Mulinix hopes for victory dance in the 'Battle'

09:18 AM 20 Jul 2013 NZST
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A Rocknroll Dance
A Rocknroll Dance - A $15,000 Harrisburg Sale purchase
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Freehold, NJ --- Jim Mulinix believes A Rocknroll Dance still will make noise in the older male pacer division this season. He hopes the sweet music begins in Saturday’s $120,500 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park in Ohio.

The 4-year-old A Rocknroll Dance entered this season with 11 wins in 33 starts and $1.93 million in purses. He struggled to begin 2013, but last weekend picked up his first victory in six races when he captured a $26,400 winners-over event at Hoosier Park. A Rocknroll Dance won by 3-1/4 lengths over Time To Roll in 1:48.2.

A Rocknroll Dance and driver Kayne Kauffman will start the Battle of Lake Erie from post No. 5 and are 4-1 on the morning line. Foiled Again, the all-time money-winning pacer in harness racing history with $5.17 million, is the 2-1 favorite from post two with Tony Hall in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke. Foiled Again won the Battle of Lake Erie in 2009 and 2011. He was second in 2012 and third in 2010.

“I think before the year is over he’ll do some good things,” said Mulinix, who owns A Rocknroll Dance with Diamond Creek Farm, Denny Miller, J&T Silva Stables and the Muscara Racing Trust under the A RockNRoll Dance Stable banner. “I think he’s been pretty good this year, he just hasn’t had any luck. It seems wherever he drew he always ended up in a bad place.”

During the early part of his campaign, A Rocknroll Dance also was bothered by a sore mouth that affected him getting on the bit. Mulinix had the issue resolved prior to the William R. Haughton Memorial eliminations on July 6 and his horse responded with a 1:47.4 mile -- which was only good enough for seventh place (he missed advancing to the final by a half-length), but gave Mulinix an improved outlook for the future.

“He seems much happier with his mouth and hasn’t been fussing with his head and is driving good,” Mulinix said. “Before he was throwing his head going to the gate and turning his head and I think it might have affected his breathing too. He seems much better now.”

A Rocknroll Dance’s career wins include the 2011 Governor’s Cup and 2012 Meadowlands Pace, Hempt Memorial and Battle of the Brandywine. He was second in the 2011 Breeders Crown and Metro Pace.

In his win at Hoosier Park last weekend with Trace Tetrick driving, A Rocknroll Dance battled for the lead in the opening quarter-mile and got the top spot prior to the halfway point, which was reached in :53.3. He paced the last two quarters in :27.2 each.

“That was really no indication because it was like a training mile,” Mulinix said. “He got to the front and no one could really come at him.”

Still, with his mouth issues in the past and a win under his belt, the future appears brighter for A Rocknroll Dance.

“This group is so tough, but he seems as good as ever,” Mulinix said. “But who knows if as good as ever is good enough with this bunch of horses. You have to get better. I’ve been working him a little harder, trying to pick up a step here or there. I think he will be OK. We’re just going to take it one week at a time.”

Following is the Battle of Lake Erie field with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Aracache HanoverGreg Grismore, Gregg McNair;

2. Foiled Again, Tony Hall, Ron Burke;

3. Rockin Finish, Wyatt Irvine, Virgil Morgan, Jr.;

4. Thinking Out Loud, Dan Noble, Robert McIntosh;

5. A Rocknroll Dance, Kayne Kauffman, Jim Mulinix;

6. Clear Vision, Chris Page, Ron Burke;

7. State TreasurerAaron Merriman, Dr. Ian Moore;

8. Versado, Ryan Stahl, Nick Surick.

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom

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