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Little Rooster Continues Winning Ways At Cal Expo
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly the story behind the streaking trotter Little Rooster, who has captured seven of his last nine starts at Cal Expo for Jason Maier with father Tim doing the honors.
The 6-year-old son of Little Steven was actually quite effective as a pacer in his first career, winning some 15 races for Jason on that gait with a 1:55 mark.  So why did he switch him over to trotting?
“I was looking to buy a maiden trotter, and I just couldn’t find one,” Maier explained.  “So finally I just decided I would make one, and I took Little Rooster and started jogging him every day with the trotting hopples.  He took right to it, and after two months of adjusting the shoes, the weights and everything else, he was ready to qualify.”
Easier said than done, but Jason was able to put three generations of harness know-how to work and now had a trotter with a blank slate, allowing him to work his way right through the conditions.
“After he finished up the year winning those conditioned races, he would have to move up to a level where there were going to be some pretty tough horses,” Jason said.  “So I decided to move him into these claimers.  My mom (Denise) and dad have done a great job with him and this horse wants to give you everything he has.”
Little Rooster rattled off five straight scores between December 9 and January 13 before settling for second behind Mr. Friendly two back.  That night, the Maier color-bearer ran into some traffic troubles, while Mr. Friendly went one of the more amazing miles in recent memory as he won despite breaking before the start and spotting the field some 15 lengths as the gate rolled.
Little Rooster got his revenge in the fog last week, however, as Tim came first over with the side-wheeler and emerged from the blanket over the track to prevail by a neck and make it three-for-four on the new year.
“He got blocked until it was too late one start back, and I talked to my dad before the race and reminded him how good this horse had been coming first over.  One thing about him, he’s the type of horse who you have to ask, not tell.  By that I mean you don’t slash, you coax, and he’ll give the response.”
Franks Best, Big Baller Do Battle At Cal Expo
Big Baller and Franks Best, who have a rivalry that goes back to Sire Stakes competition, are the leading lights in Thursday evening’s (February 3) $4,500 trotting headliner at Cal Expo.  Jam And Jelly, Berkshire and Broadway victory round out the field. 
Big Baller is coming into this assignment at the top of his game for Team Desomer.  A seven-time winner last season, the Panama Hanover homebred has two wins and a second from his three trips to the post on the new year, including a lifetime-best 1:58.2 tour.
The Vickie Desomer trainee was a facile coast-to-coast winner on January 6, carved out all the pace the following try but was unable to hold off the pocket-sitting Jam And Jelly, then got the coveted two-hole journey last week and rallied to overpower Alpine Hawk by three-quarters of a length with Lemoyne Svendsen in the sulky.
Franks Best is a multiple stakes winner of nearly $90,000 who is owned, trained and was bred by Bob Johnson.  He recorded six wins and a like number of seconds from his 17 attempts last year, then made his first trip to the post in 2011 a winning one last week at a softer level.  Svendsen has also been his regular pilot.
Sent off at 70 cents on the dollar in that seasonal debut, the son of Armbro Scribe was unhurried early; rallied three wide on the final turn and easily overpowered the leaders for a dominating five and three-quarter lengths decision.  The 1:59 clocking shaved four ticks off his career standard.
Jam And Jelly is a classy mare who has the rail with Luke Plano guiding; the Steve Wiseman-handled Berskshire is always dangerous with his late kick and Broadway Victory will be tighter for owner/trainer/driver John McKeon with last week’s start under her belt.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (February 3) and continues through Saturday (February 5).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (February 4) and Saturday is at 6:00 p.m.  On Thursday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Cal Expo offers a complete Lasagna dinner, which includes salad and bread, for just $3.00.  Additionally on Thursday, beer & wine can be purchased for $3.00 each as well. 
On Saturdays, Cal Expo offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on both the Early & Late Pick-4 wagers with both Pick-4’s having a $10,000 gross guaranteed pool.  Additionally, on Saturdays, for winning wagers made on the Late Pick 4 online at or on track at Cal Expo, a bonus payout of 17.65 percent of the gross Late Pick 4 mutuel payoff will be paid.