A Rocknroll Dance, co-owned and trained by Jim Mulinix of Wauseon, has been installed as the early 2-1 favorite in Thursday's Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, despite a rough draw in its elimination heat.
The local pacer drew the outside No. 7 post position in the second elimination race.
Still, Mulinix, a former University of Toledo football player who has been pointing at this race since buying A Rocknroll Dance at a yearling sale, remains confident in his horse, which has earned more than $1.8 million during its short harness racing career.
"We've got our work cut out for us, [but] my horse has a lot of power and he can go head-to-head with any of those other horses. They might have to break the track record to beat him," Mulinix said.
A Rocknroll Dance won the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace and the $500,000 Battle of the Brandywine this summer.
Rocknroll's biggest challenge in its elimination heat should come from Sweet Lou, an early 3-1 choice, which is on the rail.
Trainer Ron Burke said Sweet Lou has been "a bit of a disappointment this year. He's had some health issues. He's fought viruses all summer. And he's had some horrible trips in his major stakes races. Having the rail is probably our best shot and Sweet Lou is probably the best horse we've ever had in the Jug."
Michael's Power and Bolt The Duer, which will start next to one another in the middle of the field, appear as the horses to beat in the first elimination heat.
Each of the eliminations carries a $78,000 purse and the top two horses from each heat will return for the $234,000 final later in Thursday's program at Delaware County Fairgrounds.
A Rocknroll Dance is bidding to become the first northwest-Ohio owned and trained horse ever to win the Jug, one of pacing's Triple Crown events.