The $130,000 Cleveland Classic, one of Northfield Park's premier races, is set for Saturday night. The final open stakes event on this year's national harness racing calendar, the Classic always draws an impressive slate of equine athletes as well as North America's top drivers. This year is no exception.
Thinking Out Loud has drawn the rail and has been named the 2-1 morning line favorite. He goes to post for owners Robert McIntosh Stables of LaSalle, Ont., CXS Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio and Al McIntosh Holdings of Leamington, Ont. Thinking Out Loud has bankrolled an impressive $1,249,712. He boasts 10 career victories including his triumph in the $1,470,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Raceway, when he paced his career-best time of 1:47.4. Trainer Robert McIntosh brings Buckeye native David Miller in to steer.
Pet Rock carries a 4-1 morning line and starts from post two. He is a son of Rocknroll Hanover, with earnings just shy of $1,000,000. Among his 10 lifetime wins is a victory scored earlier this month in the $215,000 Windy City Pace at Maywood. He paced a 1:50 career best at Woodbine Racetrack for owner Frank Bellino of Bronxville, N.Y. Pet Rock is one of two horses that will start for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. Morgan has called on Doug McNair to drive.
Bolt The Duer drew post position three and has morning line odds of 7-2. He starts already having won 14 races in his career, including this year's $415,820 Messenger at Yonkers Raceway. The son of Ponder is owned by All Star Racing Inc., of Towaco, N.J. and trained by Pete Foley. Bolt The Duer has bankrolled $1,051,668 and took a lifetime mark of 1:47.4 at The Meadows while capturing the Adios final. Foley has secured Mark MacDonald to be in the sulky.
Rockin Finish is 12-1 and is the second starter being prepped by trainer Morgan. Rockin Finish is the only horse in the field to have started over Northfield Park's Flying Turns, where he posted a 1:55.4 victory in October. The son of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Gerrie Tucker of Montreal, Que. Rockin Finish has garnered six career victories and earnings of $117,192. His 1:51.3 lifetime best was paced at Woodbine Racetrack. Young local driving talent Tyler Smith has been named to drive and will start from post four.
Mortal Zin goes to post for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable of Fredricktown, Pa, Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, Pa, Slaughter Racing Stable of Prospect, Ky. and Lawrence Karr of Randolph, N.J. This is one of four sons of Rocknroll Hanover in this year's Classic field. Matt Kakaley has been named to drive and will score from post position five. Mortal Zin has eight career victories under his belt and comes with a lifetime mark of 1:51.1 taken at Harrah's Philadelphia. Mortal Zin looks to add to his $154,115 bankroll, but at morning line odds of 15-1, he is the field's longshot.
A Rocknroll Dance, racing out of post position six at morning line odds of 6-1, is approaching $2 million in career earnings. The Ohio-based son of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by A RockNRoll Dance Stable of Wauseon, Ohio and trained by Ohio-based trainer Jim Mulinix. The horse has garnered 11 lifetime wins, including this year's $600,000 Meadowlands Pace. A Rocknroll Dance paced his career best of 1:48.3 at Harrah's Philadelphia while capturing the Battle of the Brandywine. Peter Wrenn has been named to drive the top earner in the field. (with files from Northfield Park)