Ed Mullinax probably would be happy if UF Rockin Dragon turns out to be a little bit like his mother.
A longtime harness racehorse owner, Mullinax campaigned UF Rockin Dragon's dam, Up Front Dragonfly, and saw her win 28 races and earn $579,718 despite sitting out her 2-year-old season. She was lightly staked, with her most lucrative victory coming in the $100,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship in 2005. Otherwise, her wins came in the opens and upper level conditioned classes.
"She was probably the best mare I ever had,” Mullinax said. "My trainer didn't think much of her as a 2 year old, so she wasn't eligible to a whole lot. She made her money the hard way.”
Less than three weeks after Up Front Dragonfly won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, Mullinax watched P-Forty-Seven capture the $569,032 Little Brown Jug. Mullinax co-owned P-Forty-Seven, who defeated a field that included eventual Horse of the Year winner Rocknroll Hanover.
"That was one of the best years I ever had,” Mullinax said. "It was quite an adventure.”
Rocknroll Hanover, incidentally, is the father of UF Rockin Dragon, who faces eight rivals in Saturday's $30,000 Bobby Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
UF Rockin Dragon, who won two of four starts in the series and never finished off the board, drew post No. 1 for the final. He will be driven by Mark MacDonald for trainer Mark Ford. Getitoffyourchest, who has three wins in the series, drew post seven and two-time Weiss winner Somewhere With You got post six.
A 4-year-old gelding, UF Rockin Dragon has won three of 11 races and $32,425 this season. Hampered previously by multiple ankle issues, he won just one of 17 starts combined at ages 2 and 3.
Mullinax purchased UF Rockin Dragon under the name Uriel Hanover for $65,000. He is a half-brother to Uffizi Hanover, who won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly pacers. Uffizi Hanover, in the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, sold for $100,000.
"I was interested in her, but the price got me out,” Mullinax said.
UF Rockin Dragon won his first start in the Weiss Series in a lifetime-best 1:51.3, followed by a second and third. Last week, he won again, overcoming traffic trouble heading into the final turn when the horse he was following went offstride, to score in 1:51.4.
For his career, UF Rockin Dragon has won three of 11 races at Pocono Downs and finished off the board only three times.
"It's still a dream of mine that this horse is going to be a real good one,” said the 81-year-old Mullinax, whose list of standout horses also includes million-dollar-earners Dragon Again and Whosurboy.
"He's a pretty exciting horse. In some of his early races, he would have a quarter (mile) that was really good, but he's going to have to do a little better going four quarters instead of just one big one. I've got a lot of hope. We'll find out.” (HRC)