In a sea of big name free-for-all pacers like defending Graduate champion Foiled Again, Rockincam may have been overlooked before last week’s elimination win.
With a scintillating 1:48.1 score, the five-year-old son of Cambest caught everybody’s attention and stamped himself a major contender in Saturday’s $180,000 Graduate Final at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Rockincam will look for his fourth win in a row from the rail with Dave Miller driving for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman.
“I met his owner Stephen Farrell [of Ocala, FL] years ago when I came from California, and I got the horse last year,” said Norman. “He was unraced at two, and he was a good horse as a three-year-old. He won some Kentucky Sires Stakes and took a mark of 1:50 at The Red Mile. John Campbell drove him at three and had good things to say about him. He had always shown a lot of promise. There’s really no bottom to him.”
Last year at age four, Rockincam won nine of 21 starts, developed into an open class winner in Pennsylvania, and took a mark of 1:49.1 at Harrah’s Chester. “Last year, he never really went a bad race, “ noted Norman. “Now it’s absolutely all about a five year old by Cambest maturing and coming into his own. We knew he’d be even better this year. Stephen Farrell has to get all the credit because he always believed this could be a top horse at four and five, and he raced him lightly intentionally.”
Farrell’s patience has paid off with three straight wins in 1:50.1, 1:49 and last week’s 1:48.1 lifetime best.
“I was surprised with the way he handled the rise in class,” admitted Norman. “I mean, Foiled Again and Golden Receiver are probably the two best horses in the country right now. I’m not so sure the others were being relatively conservative with the final coming up. He had Foiled Again on his back and Golden Receiver is a great horse on the front end. There’s more to come with him right now.
“He’s pretty much staked to everything. We didn’t stake him to anything on a half-mile track, so he’ll race mainly on a five eighths or a mile track. He’s just a sound, easy maintenance horse. He’s kind of one of those throwback horses with the Cambest and Albert Albert mare breeding. He also doesn’t have to fire off the gate and he can stay all day.”
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