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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Look At Rock N Roll Heaven The Stallion

Due to the premature death of Rocknroll Hanover, in March of 2013 at age 11, Rock N Roll Heaven is a significant stallion. The latter, a member of his sire’s first class, is his premier offspring, having been voted HOY at three and earning more money than any other son or daughter of the accomplished sire. He went a second faster than his daddy, although the old man did maintain a $5,000 edge in career earnings.

Due to his relative youth when he passed, Rocknroll Hanover doesn’t have much of a track record as a sire of sires. Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance are standing their first season in Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively. Breeders Crown winner Rockin Amadeus is also starting out in Ohio, although he is currently back on the track. And that one’s brother, Rockin Image, as well as World Of Rocknroll currently have their first crops racing. Unlike Heaven, whose charges must regularly negotiate half mile tracks, almost all of Rockin Image’s progeny ply their trade within the Indiana Sires Stakes program at roomy Hoosier Park. Freaky Feet Pete, who is out of a Pilgrims Punch mare, has three wins in that program and has earned almost $70,000. And several others, including Heyhey Mahanah, Camturo Rock, Glitter Rocks and Rockin Good have either one or two sire stakes wins. Seventeen of the Rockin Image colts and fillies have earned $10,000 or more.

That being the case, one would expect much better results from the richly supported Rocknroll Heaven, and he is producing outstanding fillies. Heaven stood his first season at Blue Chip Farms in New York in 2011 at a fee of $12,000. That fee remained in place in 2012 but was subsequently reduced by 15% to $8,500 last year and this. His pedigree is as solid as his on track resume, being a brother to FFA mainstay Clear Vision, who is a mere $12,000 short of double millionaire status and currently slots as the third richest son or daughter of Western Hanover, with only Well Said and We Will See heading him. The one knock on Heaven was his smallish size, but that has apparently not been an issue.

Heaven’s first NA crop topped 100 foals, which is 34% smaller than the first crop of rival Sportswriter, but a healthy size, nonetheless. He currently ranks sixth on the two-year-old list, among all pacing sires, and is second behind Bettor’s Delight, who left New York after the 2011 season, among the New York Sire Stakes crew, with $600,000 in earnings. Heaven is a very popular shuttle stallion in Australia but his performance there is not reflected in the numbers cited herein.

Aside from that lofty second place slot on the two-year-old money chart, above Art Major and American Ideal, Heaven also produced the top two fillies in the program—Band Of Angels and Sassa Hanover. You won’t necessarily find flashy speed marks attached to these two, or any of Heaven’s other progeny for that matter, since much of the NYSS business is conducted on small tracks. Rockin Image’s son Freaky Feet Pete sports a sub-1:51 mark, taken at Hoosier Downs, but none of the Rock N Roll Heavens have breached the 1:52 line.

Band Of Angels, a $100,000 Lexington purchase, who is a half-sister to Romantic Moment, is a perfect four for four with earnings in excess of $133,000 in the sire stakes program for Ron Burke and owner William Donovan. She matched the track record for her class in winning a leg at Saratoga. Sassa Hanover, another Burke charge, has won four of five and earned more than $100,000. Bin N Heaven won a sire stakes leg at Buffalo and She’s Heavenly won one at Monticello. Zip Code Envy, Heavenly Bride, Heaven On Earth and two time Excelsior winner Rock Me Gently are other promising fillies.

The colts are way behind their sisters to this point. One is always on the lookout for that first crop extender; Heaven himself, as well as Captaintreacherous, may fall into that category. Heaven’s sons Rockntouch and K-Rock each won NYSS splits at Saratoga, but there isn’t much on the male side to get excited about. There are three high dollar NYSS splits for freshman pacers at Yonkers tonight, and the Rock N Roll Heaven contingent is less than inspiring. Time will tell whether or not the colts eventually step up

Bob Marks, who knows Rocknroll Hanover better than anyone, sees no cause for concern. He believes that Heaven should be to Rocknroll what Jate Lobell was to No Nukes, and that this is exactly what is playing out. Both Heaven and Jate were first crop stars, born when their sires were five-years-old. Jate took a back seat to paternal brother Western Hanover in the breeding game, but he was a very productive stallion, nonetheless. Marks cites Most Happy Fella, who produced the all-time great filly duo Silk Stockings and Tarport Hap in his first small crop of 53 foals, but was slow to come up with top shelf sons. Yes, Oil Burner, the sire of No Nukes, was from his second crop, but he’s more famous for that than he is for his prowess on the track. Tyler B didn’t appear until Happy’s sixth crop, and Cam Fella was a product of his eighth crop.

The Rock N Roll Heaven offspring will be afforded every opportunity to succeed on the Grand Circuit; 42 of them are staked to the Breeders Crown and 22 to the Matron. Contrast this with Sportswriter, who has a much larger first crop, and only has 17 staked to the BC and three to the Matron. Rockin Image has four Breeders Cup eligible colts and one staked to the Matron. Only one of Heaven’s daughters raced in the Eternal Camnation on Saturday and one colt started in the Nassagaweya. There are two sire stakes legs left for each sex (one of them Tuesday, Aug 19) prior to the final on September 13 at Yonkers. After that date participation in the open realm should markedly increase.

Joe FitzGerald

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