Hi there,

Welcome to issue #21 of Insider Access.

Released every 2 weeks, Insider Access showcases insider rumors and commentary in the worldwide harness racing industry.

Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else - this week we review Rockin Image. All previous reviews can now be viewed at www.stallionsphere.com

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Changing Leads – Stories off the beaten path

Harnesslink.com is proud to welcome Bob Carson to our staff. Bob has published over 300 magazine articles and short stories in what he refers to as his Four H Club (history, hardball, humor and harness racing). Among his awards are the Hervey, World Trotting Conference, The USTA Presidents and Best of Ohio Fiction. The Voyage of Mess (humor) was his first novel and he produced the documentary film Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). Bob lives in northeastern Ohio with his wife, Sue, and family.

More than half of the people on this planet today will never receive a phone call. I was in the wrong half. I circled the seven in the fifth race, a mortal lock, and punched my phone.

My sister-in-law, Winnie, was on the line. Her kid, Lenny, was at it again. At seventeen, the delinquent does more stupid things than me. Well it’s a push, but at least I have the good manners to get away with a few things, Lenny gets caught every time.

I tried to calm Winnie down a bit, “So what was he going to do with a FAX machine? Do they still use those things?”

She was not soothed, “That’s exactly what I asked him. He just shrugs. He’s a strange kid. Why would he take a FAX machine from his own High School? He needs your help. I’m losing him. He needs a father figure.”

I was touched. Winnie must be too, asking me to play Father Flannigan to scrawny, surly, little Lenny. Last time I saw the kid was at Christmas dinner. He showed up in a black leather jacket with a bouquet of pimples. We did not exactly chat up a storm.

I opened with, “Hi Lenny” as he walked into Ma’s kitchen.

He mumbled. “’Sup, Unc.”

An hour later, while passing a turkey leg his way I asked if he was ever going to take his jacket off.

He said, “Dunno.”

I shook his hand on the way out. I was tired of carrying the entire conversation so I waited him out.

As I dropped my hand from his fish grip, he stared at his black boots and after a very long few minutes he gave a little wave and said, “See ya.”

Five hours, five words. Four of the words would not even make a dictionary. Lenny was a long shot for the High School debate team. Although, since the Great Fax Heist, he would not be involved in anything at the High School for two weeks.

I’m not a big fan of favors unless they are done for me. I keep to myself. I live in my own little world. I like the neighborhood. But I took the kid on for a couple of weeks. My thinking was this - cover the field with one bet. If I stepped in as Lenny’s mentor/role model, I would be doing favors for Winnie, Lenny, Ma and my brother Pete (wherever the hell he is) all at once. Four favors for the price of one, a good bet.

Lenny and I spent the first five days at Brookens Downs, my local harness track. What did you expect, a museum? Playing Father Teresa was also doing Brookens Downs a favor. Brookens Downs, or “Broken Downs” as we railbirds refer to our little home, is in need of new faces. Like most tracks, attendance has fallen off. So, a new face, a new young face at the track, would be a nice exacta.

It was a strange week. Freaky things started to happen. I enjoyed Lenny’s company. Lenny liked me. Lenny liked betting on the trotters and pacers. We were like a Disney movie, a simple plot with family reconnecting, animals and redemption. We had everything but a good-looking starlet who falls in love with the leading man (me).

Lenny was not as stupid as he looked or acted. The little weasel was better at math and calculations than me. Lenny picked up the intricacies of horse racing quickly. As happens to many beginners, he had a nice run of luck and finished the first day of his handicapping career with a surplus of money, a feat I last accomplished in the first Bush administration. And Lenny was a good sport. After we got back to my place he insisted on blowing his hard earned winnings by taking me out for a few beers and a Bazooka Burger at my favorite tavern, The Hub Rail.

Despite being a blood relation, Lenny did not drink, smoke or swear. Because I was on official role model duty, I made a little speech about “no underage drinking.” After my fourth beer I said I would ease up on the rules but Lenny just lapped up another soda and my pearls of wisdom concerning harness racing. We had a great time. And yes, he took my car keys, a gesture that would have been more meaningful if we had not walked.

The next day we showed up at the track. Lenny was bright eyed and eager. I was alive but not sure this was good. Flora at the concession stand was kind enough to give me a baggie with crushed ice. My eyeballs were throbbing so I chewed a few more aspirin and gently set the cool leaky plastic over my closed eyelids.

“Hey Unc, what’s a chalk player?”

I sprang back to consciousness with a jolt and a whine.

“What’s a dollar exacta box cost? What the heck is a ridging? What’s the difference between invitational and open? What’s the letter L mean?”

I longed for the days the kid was a mute. My head hurt but I’m a player, it was my job to pass the handicapping heritage to a new generation. I struggled to focus on the eager young kid in the tattered black jacket and the race program on which he had doodled scads of notes. I decided to teach him everything I knew about horse racing.

He did it again. Lenny left Brookens Downs with some of their money. A relative of mine looked like a handicapping natural. I was so proud. I would have cried but my eyeballs were still not working properly.

We did not repeat our celebration at the Hub Rail. This was good both medicinally and financially. However, before we went to my place, Lenny asked me to stop at his house for a few minutes. He loped back to my Corolla with a laptop computer tucked under his arm.

That evening, while I watched a Mod Squad retrospective on TNT (Peggy Lipton is totally hot, and I want her to be my leading lady if we make that Disney movie, even if she is probably in her fifties) Lenny pecked away on his laptop using data from the huge stash of old racing programs I kept under my coffee table. The kid worked most of the night, he was still at it when I nodded off at midnight, just as a Chinese drug kingpin was kidnapping Peggy, Linc and his Afro.

The next day Lenny went to the track with me as usual, the only addition was a computer printout with the daily wager he felt most sure of, a claiming race in the fourth that he called his “Big Kahuna” bet.

Then he got arrested. It cost me a bundle.

Evidently there is a law that to bet harness races you must be 18. Lenny was eight months short. He was standing in line with one hundred and fifty dollars of my money folded in his leather jacket to place on today’s “Big Kahuna.” A tall, skinny cop with a giant Adams apple decided to save America by pinching Lenny.

I saw the whole scene unfold from my spot in front of Flora’s concession stand where I was spending my last ten bucks on refreshments. I asked Flora to keep an eye on my nachos and rushed over to rescue Lenny.

I admit I put up a bit of a fuss. I may have invoked the constitution, children’s rights, civil disobedience and sportsmanship. I may have requested he put down his donuts and do some real crime fighting.

The cop may have technically been right but he was an irritating, smug sort. We soon developed issues. Officials of the racetrack joined the conference. Despite the fact that I had invested my life savings in the joint, they took HIS side. During a pause in the action I heard the dulcet tones of the announcer reviewing the results of the fourth race. Time had slipped away. The “Big Kahuna” went off without my money, or me - surfing home ahead of the pack at the staggering odds of 26-1. This did not please me. I got a little out of line. The rest is a blur.

Lenny is back in school now. Winnie says he is doing better. The kid stops at my house a few times each week. We talk harness racing. Lenny is anxious to turn 18 so he can bet.

I am anxious for my Brookens Downs restraining order to expire. I watch and wager a few bucks on the computer from time to time, but it isn’t the same as live racing.

Life is a gamble. Each day is a full field of ‘ifs’ - If the track lets me, If Lenny still has the touch, if Lenny still has a desire to go to the track, if I have any money, if Lenny and I stay out of further trouble, if, if ,if.

And, If everything comes together, well, next year could be a real party at the old racetrack. We could make that movie. Maybe I’ll call Peggy.

Bob Carson’s column will appear in every issue of Insider Access.

Whats happening with the Auckland Trotting Club video?

Without doubt the Auckland Trotting Club is one of the most progressive and forward thinking clubs in the Southern Hemisphere.

The board is now made up of a good balance of successful businessman and horseman and appears to be making great progress in securing the long term future of harness racing in the largest urban area in New Zealand.

Like a lot of Australasian clubs today, the Auckland Trotting Club have their own in house TV service which mainly involves post race interviews with winning drivers and is a welcome addition to the coverage by Trackside.

So imagine my surprise when I tune in last Friday night and the service is not operating.

No explanation was offered along with the no service so I moved over to the live streaming service.

Delayed by 30 minutes due to contractual matters out of their control, the service last Friday night was nevertheless, a shambles.

Several times during the night i tuned in to have a look and instead of having a channel dedicated to trotting at Alexandra Park, you were just as liable to get a greyhound race from Wanganui or a trot race from Marlborough.

It kind of negates the whole point of the service and seems to run counter to what the club is trying to do. The Auckland Trotting Club are doing so much right at the moment but someone in authority needs to urgently look at the media side of their business.

The service as structured could be a great promotional tool for the Auckland Trotting Club but someone has taken their eye off the ball here and if last Friday nights effort is any guide, it could do more harm than good.

Stallion Review - Rockin Image
Rockin Image
Rockin Image

Rockin Image ($903,424) is by Rocknroll Hanover from Kikikatie by Real Artist from Katies Lucky Lady by Cam fell from Lucky Lady by Striking Image from Just Our Luck.

Sire - Rocknroll Hanover

Rocknroll Hanover only faced the starter eight times at two for three wins and four placings for $688,275 in stakes. His best win was undoubtedly in the final of the ($1,211,800) Metro Pace in a brilliant 1:49.4 making him the first two year old to ever break 1:50. Another notable performance was his dead-heat for first in the ($113,243) Champlain Stakes in 1:52.3. After a good second in his heat of the Breeders Crown, he was scratched sick out of the final and that brought his two year old season to an end.

At three he turned into a monster. Facing the starter 18 times, he won twelve and was placed on six occasions, never missing a first three placing all season on his way to earning a huge ($2,380,818) in stakes.

His first big win of the season was in the $500,000 final of the New Jersey Classic in 1:51 followed soon after by a brilliant victory in the $1,500,000 North American Cup final in 1:49.4.

On a roll at this stage he then won his heat and the final of the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace, taking his lifetime mark of 1:48.3 in the final. Only third in the final of The Little Brown Jug, he bounced straight back with victories in the $141,800 Bluegrass Pace in 1:50.2, the $235,550 Tattersalls Pace in 1:50.3, the $136,400 Dancer Memorial in1:53 before finishing the season in style by winning the $555,000 final of the Breeders Crown in 1:49.4.

He retired from the track with the imposing record of 26 starts for 15 wins, 10 placings and $3,069,093 in stakes.

Rocknroll Hanover - statistics

Eligible to race - 966

Winners - 542

$1,000,000+ - 8

$750,000+ - 16

$500,000+ - 30

$250,000+ - 65

$100,000+ - 173

Sub 1:50 - 56

Average earnings per starter $107,835

Average earning per eligible horse - $76,021

Total earnings to date $73,435,880

Dam - Kikikatie

A sensational race mare Kikikatie (p2, 1:51.3s, p3, 1:50.3) won $1,415,566 in stakes. She won 19 races and was the winner of the HTA Nova award for two-year-old pacing fillies and was the winner of 2003 USHWA Dan Patch Award for two-year-old pacing fillies. She won a host of top stake races at three, too numerous to mention.

As a broodmare Kikikatie (by Real Artist) again has being nothing short of sensational as a producer of top line race horses. I believe that she may be the only mare in history that has produced her first five foals that have all won in 1:50 or better and are all two-year-old stake winners. They are Rockin Image 1:48.2 ($903,424), Time To Roll 1:49.3 ($782,792), Rockin Amadeus 1:48.4f ($722,609), Tellitlikeitis 1:48.4s ($513,917) and Grams Legacy 1:50 ($176,235). Tellitlikeitis 1:48.4s ($513,917) is now standing at stud in 2015.

Kikikatie's second dam is the Cam Fella mare Katies Lucky Lady 1:54.2s (95,099). She has produced eleven foals to date for nine winners including Kikikatie ($1,415,566), Just Wait Kate 1:50.4 ($387,931) dam of Just A Jolt 1:50h ($289,857) and Jolting Kate 1:52.1f ($253,679), Kiss Me Kate 1:51.3f ($284,820), Katie Said 1:49.4f ($209,273), Katies Western p2,1:53.2s ($120,100) dam of Donna Lee 1:52.4f ($166,742), and the unraced Real Artist mare Ccs Saleofcentury who is the grand-dam of Heston Blue Chip 1:48f ($1,779,373) and Sunfire Blue Chip 1:48.3f ($917,374).

The third dam of Kikikatie was a great racemare and is a sensational broodmare, Lucky Lady 1:55 ($591,857). Lucky Lady is the dam of 14 foals for 10 winners including one of the world's all-time great sires - Camluck 1:48.4 ($1,003,260). Camluck has produced 1594 race winners to date that have won a staggering $217,407,050 in total stakes including 28 millionaires, 62 in 1:50 and 590 $100,000 winners. Lucky Lady has also produced two other stallions of note, full brothers to Camluck called Cams Fortune 1:52.3f ($800,384), the sire of 51 winners of $4,466,501 from limited opportunities and Lucky Cam 1:52.2 ($38,187) who stood at stud in Perth, Australia. Lucky Cam is the sire of 43 winners of $4,319,710 to date.

Watch - Camluck, Provincial Cup


This pedigree is as good as it gets. A true 'Blue Blood' pedigree that is performing beyond all expectations. Kikikatie was a top class race mare and is heading towards being one of the best performing broodmares in the world at stud today. A tremendous pedigree with the first three dams all outstanding race horses and great producing broodmares. Cannot get a better pedigree in real terms and it can only be a hot performing pedigree over the next 10 or 15 years.

Superlatives don't do this pedigree justice whatever way you look at it. The sire of Rockin Image is one of the all-time greats in Rocknroll Hanover while his dam Kikikatie was a champion race mare who has done an unbelievable job in the broodmare barn. She only has five live foals on the ground and ALL have gone 1:50 or better which is a record that won't be beaten anytime soon. Throw in the champion sire Camluck as a half-brother to the grand-dam and you have a pedigree that is the equal of anything in the stud book


Rockin Image was lightly raced as a two-year-old facing the starter just eight times in his juvenile year.

He made his debut in the $39,831 Goshen Cup where he ran a creditable fourth to Blue Rock ($180,268) in 1:54.2. From there he went to a $40,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes Division which he won in 1:53.2 before running third in the $200,000 final to Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) in 1:54.4.

At his next start he was a game second in his $20,000 elimination of the Governor's Cup in 1:51.4 to One More Laugh ($2,632,696) before running fourth to One More Laugh again in the $600,000 final, pacing his mile in 1:50.3

Rockin Image then hit a wee purple patch with wins in the $139,000 Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington in 1:50.4 by five lengths and the $118,000 International Stallion Stakes, also at Lexington in 1:53.2 by four lengths.

Rockin Image ended his two-year-old season with a battling fourth placing after having a pocket trip in the $720,860 Breeders Crown Final to All Speed Hanover ($830,738), Sportswriter ($1,649,411) and Kyle Major ($673,316).

Rockin Image two-year-old statistics are eight starts, three wins and one second and one third for $287,304 in stakes with a fastest time of 1:50.4


A nice two year old season in which Rockin Image showed he was good enough to be there but just found one or two better than him in the big stakes races. Still took a smart time of 1:50.4 and won a couple of the time honoured classics such as the Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington so not a bad debut season and one that promised so much more as a three year old.

Three Year Old

Rockin Image started his three-year-old season in a $26,400 division of the New Jersey Sires Stakes at The Meadowlands where he was beaten a neck in 1:51 to Dreamlands Art ($584,123). Rockin Image was timed to run his last quarter in a brilliant 25.3.

Rockin Image ran third in another $26,100 New Jersey Sires Stakes division in 1:49.3 and ran sixth in the $200,000 Final to Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478).

Given a freshener after that run, Rockin Image didn't reappear for nearly five weeks and then he took out the $37,350 Jersey Cup in 1:48.2, his lifetime mark.

On top of his game at that point, Rockin Image won his $50,000 division of the Meadowlands Pace in 1:48.4 but was beaten by one and a half lengths in the $1,000,000 Final finishing fourth in 1:48 (his time). One More Laugh ($2,632,696), Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) and Valentino ($812,514) beat Rockin Image home, but behind him that day were two stars, Sportswriter ($1,649,411) and Fred And Ginger ($1,054,244).

Watch - 2010 Meadowlands Pace Elimination

Rockin Image then continued his habit of winning eliminations impressively and then under performing in the richer finals. Rockin Image won his $50,000 division of the Adios Pace in 1:50.2 beating the top class star We Will See ($2,553,948) in the process. He finished sixth in the $500,000 Final in 1:49.2 after drawing post nine and suffering a brutal trip parked out to the three-quarters in 1:20.3. Winning the Adios that day was Delmarvalous ($905,691).

Rockin Image then produced one of his best career performances when he beat the champion Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) and BG's Folly ($562,815) in the $115,500 Oliver Wendall Holmes in 1:48.2, equalling his lifetime mark.

Next up was the $200,000 Battle of Brandywine consolation at Chester where Rockin Image produced his worst run of the season finishing sixth in a field he should have beat. From that disappointment, Rockin Image got the show back on the road with a nice fourth in his $100,000 elimination of the Cane Pace before running a good second to One More Laugh 1:47.4 ($2,632,696) in the $300,000 Cane Pace Final.

Rockin Image then showed that the half-mile track held no fears for him as he was a head second to I'm Gorgeous ($573,698) in his elimination of the Little Brown Jug in 1:50.2 from barrier six. As he did throughout the season, Rockin Image wasn't as good in the $410,000 Final, running fourth in 1:51 to champion Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) who was just about unbeatable at that time.

Rockin Image was second to One More Laugh ($2,632,696) at his next start at Pocono Downs in a $25,000 elimination of the Breeders Crown in 1:50.2. Rockin Image drew post nine in the $500,000 Final and suffered another brutal trip parked out to the three-quarters in 1:19 before finishing seventh to Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) in the same time of 1:50.2.

Rockin Imge then had a run of placings to Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478), with a third in the $111,500 Bluegrass Stakes at Lexington in 1:49.2 and fourth in the $604,000 Tattersalls Pace in 1:48.3.

With Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) not competing Rockin Image then broke the mould so to speak by not only winning his $35,000 elimination of the Progress Pace at Dover Downs by seven lengths in 1:50 but by also winning the $320,000 Progress Pace Final by three and a half lengths in 1:50.3 at the same track Dover Downs.

Watch - 2010 Progress Pace

Staying at the same track but with Rocknroll Heaven back competing, Rockin Image ran second in his $30,319 elimination of the Matron Stakes in 1:50.4 before running third in the $181,913 Matron Final in 1:51 both times to Rocknroll Heaven and in so doing bringing the curtain down on his racing career.

Rockin Image three-year-old statistics are 22 starts, six wins, five seconds and three thirds for $616,120 with a fastest time of 1:48.2.


Rockin Image had a very busy three-year-old season by any description with the first start in the middle of May and his last start at the end of November. A total of 22 starts against the best going round is a tall order for any three-year-old but Rockin Image showed numerous times throughout his long season that he could match the best of his contemporaries and at times beat them. His record at winning eliminations and not quite going as good in the far richer finals cost him big time throughout the season. His 25.3 last quarter at the Meadowlands in his first race start at three and his head second in his elimination of the Little Brown Jug in 1:50.2 from barrier six were just two runs of the highest calibre and showed that Rockin Image was right up there with the best on his day.

Racing Overview

Lifetime racing statistics - 30 starts for 9 wins, 6 seconds, 4 thirds for $903,424 in stakes with a fastest time of 1:48.2.

One comes to the conclusion after looking closely at the race career of Rockin Image that he under achieved on the track. At times he looked like he could be the best of his year but he didn't deliver on the big stage often enough to cement that position. At times he looked brilliant and at times he looked a little ordinary and we think that may be a reflection of how he handled his busy racing career. Rocknroll Heaven copped 21 starts with ease that year but Rockin Image with 22 starts, seemed to struggle a bit at times. Rocknroll Heaven ($2,774,478) was mostly unbeatable and a champion that year and that is what really made Rockin Image look below the best of his year.


Rockin Image has made an immediate inpact in Indiana and also on the overall list in North America with only the one crop of two-year-olds in 2014 he finished eighth on the two-year-old list for earnings of $1,339,333 ahead of such stallions as American Ideal, Somebeachsomewhere, Mach Three and Rocknroll Hanover. He finished a credible 17th on the average earnings list of two-year-olds in 2014 as well.

Rockin Image's first crop were born in 2012

He produced 107 foals, 50 colts and 57 fillies from 134 mares bred.

This two-year-old crop is headed by the very fast colt Freaky Feet Pete 1:50.3s ($261,950). He had just the ten starts for nine wins to date. Next on the list is the filly Rockin Good 1:53.2s ($181,250) with 11 starts for five wins and two seconds and the gelding Camturo Rock 1:52.3s ($100,980).

North American statistics for his foals produced in 2012

Eligible to race - 100

Winners - 29

$1,000,000+ - 0

$250,000+ - 1

$100,000+ - 3

Sub 1:50 - 0

Average earnings per starter $22,322

Average earnings per eligible horse - $13,393

Total earnings to date $1,339,333

Rockin Image has bred full books of mares in 2012 (135), 2013 (132) and 2014 (132) so has being given a great chance of enhancing his first year results.


Rockin Image had a great first year standing in Indiana and seems to have most bases covered going by the results. He has a top colt and filly in his top two earners and is evenly split in his top six earners between colts and fillies which is a big plus for breeders.

For Rockin Image to achieve an eighth place finish on the North American Sires list in close company of Rocknroll Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Dragon Again and American Ideal is some effort considering the disadvantages he was up against compared to other stallions.


Some might say it is being picky but Rockin Image needs to have at least one runner in both the colts and fillies classics this year at three or else critics will label him just a one state sire.


Not much more Rockin Image could have done to date in our opinion. Standing in Indiana and not having access to the top "Blue Blood" mares in the country put him at a big disadvantage compared to his competitors but it didn't seem to slow him down at all. A great first season sire and the challenge now is for his progeny to kick on at three and establish Rockin Image as an elite sire. We think he has got a shot at doing just that.


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