Little Rocket Man Large in Oak Grove Open Repeat

Ken Rucker trainee Little Rocket Man again braved troubled seas out of post 8 to grab a repeat 1:49.3 win off a parked mile in the $40,000 Open Pace at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel on Monday (July 1). 

Little Rocket Man (driven by John DeLong) showed speed early and landed into fourth past a :26.3 first quarter before DeLong’s hand was forced to pull off the pegs. Belmont Royale N (John MacDonald) came marching first over passing the stands, but quickly caught cover from Little Rocket Man as DeLong advanced towards pacesetter He’zzz A Wise Sky into a :55 half and inched closer to the leader by three-quarters in 1:22.2. Little Rocket Man forged forward to a narrow lead spinning off the bottom corner a gutted a late pylon push from pocket-sitter Muskateer Hanover (Marvin Luna) to win by a neck at the beam. He’zzz A Wise Sky held third and Belmont Royale N took fourth. 

An 8-year-old gelding by Rockin Image, Little Rocket Man competes for owners Russell Beeman and Jack Freeman. He’s now won seven times from nine starts this season and 61 times from 107 starts in his career, has banked $1,313,299 and paid $2.92 to win. 

Trainer Erv Miller scored a hat trick on the Monday card. His first win came later in the afternoon with a 1:54.2 stalking win by Sail Ho (Atlee Bender, $6.14 to win), and he later collected front-stepping wins withWestern Era (Atlee Bender, $3.50) in a 1:51.3 mile and in the nightcap with Chevrons Bypass N (Atlee Bender, $8.36) in a 1:54.1 effort. 

Live racing resumes at Oak Grove on Tuesday (July 2) with a 13-race card starting at 3 p.m. (CDT). Free program pages for every race day, courtesy of TrackMaster, are available on the Oak Grove Racing website (

Little Rocket Man with John DeLong winning the $40,000 Open Pace