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Cherry Tree Nicole Continues Roll At Cal Expo
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity – Cal Expo

If you’re keeping track, that’s seven straight wins for Cherry Tree Nicole, the newly turned 5-year-old trotting daughter of British Sterling who races for Alan Kirschenbaum and Tim and Denise Maier.
Her modus operandi is that she pays very little attention to the goings on in the early stages of the race, then kicks into gear turning for home and inhales the leaders with complete contempt.
“I’m not sure if this is the longest winning streak of any horse I’ve owned,” Kirschenbaum related following last week’s facile score.  “I know Little Steven won quite a few in a row for us, but I don’t remember how many.”
As a breeder, however, it’s much easier for Alan to recall the performer with the longest winning streak. That would be One More Molly, who gained notoriety for rattling off 13 straight victories here about a year ago for the Maiers.
Cherry Tree Nicole gets her name from the fact that Kirschenbaum is German for Cherry Tree, combined with a tribute to the late horseman Nicol Tremblay.  Tremblay raced Cherry Tree Nicol’s dam Yankee Reflection, a mare that always impressed Alan.
“I had a great respect for both the horse and her driver/trainer,” Kirschenbaum related.  “Nicol bred her a few times and got a couple of nice foals, and when he was ready to sell her, I was ready to buy her.
“Sadly, Nicol passed away not long after that, way before his time, and I wanted to honor his memory by naming Yankee Reflection’s next foal after him.  Wouldn’t you know it, she proceeded to have a filly, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.”
Trotters Doing Battle In Main Event On Thursday At Cal Expo
Big Baller, who closed out 2010 in fine fashion by winning four of his last six starts; and Jam And Jelly, a hard-knocking mare who fits very well at this level, square off in Thursday night’s (January 6) $4,300 trotting headliner at Cal Expo.
Big Baller is a 4-year-old homebred son of Panama Hanover and the Rowdy Yankee mare Charming Spirit who is owned by Desomer Stables, with Vickie Desomer training and Steve Desomer at the controls.
The bay performer upset longtime rival Franks Best in the $20,000 Sire Stakes Championship in coast-to-coast fashion on December 11, then was second behind that one in a conditioned event the following week.
Making his most recent appearance at this level last week, Big Baller was sent off at nearly 5-1 that evening.  He went right to the front, was able to moderate the fractions and then came home smartly to prevail by a length and one-quarter over Jam And Jelly.
The latter is an Indiana-bred mare who carries the banner of George Reider and Rick and Marlene Thomas, is conditioned by Reider and once again has Luke Plano giving directions.  She comes into this event with $136,000 in her account and a 1:56.1 mark that was established here last season.
Jam And Jelly made her most recent winner’s circle appearance on December 17 over a sloppy track, as she stalked early, made a strong move off the final bend and was home by three-quarters of a length over Putoneonnetformom in that contest.  She was a solid runner-up to Big Baller in that last outing and could easily turn the tables here.
Completing the field are Say It Best, who leaves from the cozy one-hole for Tim Maier; Meringue, with James Kennedy giving directions; Forever Bachelor for Rick Plano and Berkshire, to be guided by Steve Wiseman.  An 11-race card is on tap, with the feature set as the third on the evening.
Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (January 6) and continues through Saturday (January 8).  Post-time on Thursday is 5:30 p.m. (PST).  Post-time on Friday (January 7) 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.