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Boston Red Rocks ready to roll in NJSS

June 02, 2016
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After a journey in his most recent engagement that caused his connections' hearts to leap into their throats and their bodies slacken from the wave of terror that engulfed them, champion Boston Red Rocks is as fit as a fiddle and poised to return to the winner's circle on Saturday at the Meadowlands in the $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) final for 3-year-old male pacers.
 
"All horses get beat," said Steve Elliott, the colt's conditioner. "All we cared about the instant he was interfered with on the turn was that he was okay and would return to us sound. We are just proud with how he handled it. If anything that loss only proves what kind of horse he is. He did not allow that horse breaking in front of him to bother him and came home pacing in :25.2.
 
"This is one of those instances where a defeat shows you more than a victory and we are right on track for the New Jersey Sire Stakes final this weekend. We hope the race is not quite as eventful for him, but I just trained him this week with my Open pacers, one of which was McWicked, and we could not ask for him to be doing any better."
 
The incident Elliott is referring to was a sudden miscue by Ideal Rocky when he broke stride directly in front of Boston Red Rocks on the first turn of the $25,000 second leg of the NJSS on May 28. Pilot Tim Tetrick steadied the colt, steered him around the offending rival and kept his mind on business.
 
After easily spotting Katies Rocker and Michael's Victory more than 10 lengths, Boston Red Rocks, who is owned by Peter Blood and Rick Berks, would not allow the obvious disadvantage to hamper his enthusiasm to stride to the wire. He refused to yield and after storming home just had a bit too much to do to gain the triumph.
 
Michael's Victory picked up the third win of his career and stopped the clock in a new lifetime best of 1:49.1. Katies Rocker nosed out Boston Red Rocks for second.

In this Saturday's NJSS final, Boston Red Rocks will start from post position four and Katies Rocker will score from post position three. Michael's Victory was not entered.

"I saw where the rankings for the Meadowlands Pace have our horse second now behind (Ron) Burke's horse, Check Six, because of that loss," Blood said. "I can see that as Check Six is undefeated and we are not, but it's not like he was manhandled by the other two in his last race. You cannot acquit yourself any better in that kind of defeat and all we cared about was he came back sound. We are very proud of him and are just looking forward to moving on with him for the rest of the season. He has already given us so much and can never disappoint us."

With his record now 11-5-4-2, the 3-year-old progeny of Rocknroll Hanover and the McArdle mare McGibson has collected $594,705 in purse money and equaled his lifetime mark of 1:50.3 in his first start of the season on May 21.

He served notice his winter vacation was a productive one with a powerful qualifying performance on May 14 at the Meadowlands. His final time was 1:51, with a back half in :54 and his final quarter-mile in :26.1. Boston Red Rocks was never asked by Tetrick, his regular pilot, who told the media after the facile win the horse could not have gone any better and came home well within himself with his ear plugs still in.

"He grew about a foot over the winter," Blood said. "I turned him out at Rod Allen's place down in Florida. Rod does such a tremendous job with all the horses and when we brought him back in Rod agreed that he wished he could have kept some more weight on him. That is the only thing I was not pleased with, because it's a long season and we wanted him to have more meat on his bones, but with that growth spurt and him running around he just burned it off.

"Steve said last week though he seems to be putting on some pounds now, so we are thinking he just needs to grow into his frame a bit more and that will happen as the year goes on. He is still such a handsome horse, like many of the Rocknroll Hanovers are, so he will build his muscle as he gets older."

One of the primary reasons his team feels Boston Red Rocks is such a special horse is related directly to his IQ. He does not require extensive schooling to learn his lessons. Elliott thinks another personality characteristic contributes to the colt's success and it reminds him of another champion that resided in his shedrow.

"He reminds me so much of Donato (Hanover)," he said. "They take care of themselves in exactly the same way. You can jog, bathe and feed Boston Red Rocks and within minutes you can hear him snoring. He takes his head, makes a pillow with his straw and he's down for the count.

"Donato was the same way. You could be at the test barn with another horse, or even outside and hear him snoring away. Both horses slept as much as possible and never allow anything to faze them or prohibit them from taking their naps. The really good ones are easy on themselves. That's just the way it is."

Based on his championship season in 2015 and how he opened his sophomore campaign, Boston Red Rocks has an extremely full dance card.

"After the New Jersey race he will be pointed towards the North America Cup," Blood said. "Hopefully we make the final and then we come back to the Meadowlands for the Pace and he has several other races. I think it's something like five weeks in a row coming up for him, but Steve will manage him well and he will have a break in September.

"I did not make him eligible for the Jug because I don't believe in placing horses in two heats on a half(-mile track) when they are three. Then there is always the concern with drawing the outside. Later in the fall we are targeting the Breeders Crown and will finish up his season with the Matron.

"Obviously Rick and I are thrilled with him. Rick has owned horses for more than 30 years and never had one like him. I've been in the business for 50 years, but this horse has taken us on the trip of a lifetime. He is a dream come true and since I'm 72 years old I know how rare it is to have a horse like this come along. The only goal I have for him at this juncture is for him to have a nice season and maybe prove himself worthy of standing stud at somewhere like Hanover Shoe Farms. That would be the icing on the cake."

Elliott certainly is just as enthusiastic and eager to witness what Boston Red Rocks accomplishes in 2016 and beyond, but he has another reason to feel especially blessed.

"Obviously I told Peter shortly after I received Boston Red Rocks I thought highly of him and he might just be better than ($761,729 winner) Doo Wop Hanover," Elliott said. "But I have 40 head in my barn right now including him. That keeps me more than busy since after all the years I've been in the business I wanted to put a limit on the amount of stock I have.

"The thing is I can't so no to any of these owners right now. Every time I walk down my shedrow I am still amazed at the quality of horses I have in my barn. I am so lucky and have to keep pinching myself to believe this is really happening. When you are fortunate enough to be in a situation like this, it is what keeps you getting up in the morning. I can't wait to get to the barn each day to see the horses and what they are up to. It is more exciting than you can possibly imagine." (USTA)

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