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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Live A Little Upsets A Lot

According to the popular song, there are certain things you just don’t do.  You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the ole Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim.

Up until last weekend, they might have added you don’t take on Shamderock in a California Sire Stakes.  Going into last Saturday’s (November 26) big-money joust for the 3-year-old pacing colts, the son of Hi Ho Silverheels had made a clean sweep of the previous 10 stakes dances for the division and was looking for more trophies.

Somebody forgot to tell Live A Little, a Crisis Situation homebred who races for Wayne and Rod Knittel, takes his lessons from Bob Johnson and was guided by Lemoyne “Mooney” Svendsen.  Playing the role of stalker to the stretch, Live A Little ignited when given the go signal in the stretch and rolled by Shamderock for the length and three-quarters upset while lowering his mark to 1:55.2 in the process.

It was only start No. 10 for the Knittel color-bearer, who had previously recorded a third (despite a break in the stretch) and a fourth in his two stakes meetings with Shamderock.  He is obviously improving with experience and will get one more shot at stakes glory next week before the added-money action for the sophomores is concluded for the year.

“Mooney gave him a great drive and he’s only going to get better,” trainer Johnson noted.  “When I got him, he had just three or four starts and was spotting those horses experience.  He’s still a green horse and we’ve got some straightening out to do with him.”

Bob was asked how this ranks as far as upsets in stakes races goes, and after a little thought he decided to put it in the second slot.

“The first one would have to be when we won that $200,000 race down at Los Alamitos with Kaycees Doll.  Not only did we have to beat one big mare in there, we were up against two champions in Sanabelle Island and Ron’s Girl.  That was a big one.”

Interestingly, it was Rick Plano who guided Kaycees Doll to her Los Alamitos upset that evening, the same Rick Plano who has conditioned Shamderock along with his son Luke.  And the beat goes on.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Thursday (December 1) at 5:30 p.m. (PST) and continues on Friday (December 2) & Saturday (December 3) 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.