Lucky Jim is good, too

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ — The comment in the Meadowlands’ program prior to the elimination race for Saturday’s $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for older trotters probably summed up the thoughts of many fans: “Tonight, we’ll find out if Jim is just lucky, or really that good.”

“Jim” was Lucky Jim, who has followed a winless 2008 season with an unbeaten 2009 campaign. On May 8, facing his most talented challengers so far, Lucky Jim won the Cutler elim by two lengths over Prayer I Am in 1:52.4. His nine wins are a record for the most consecutive victories in a single season by a trotter at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

“He’s got the combination; he’s lucky and he’s good,” trainer Julie Miller said. “That’s rare.”

Lucky Jim (S J’s Photo-Hawaiian Sierra) had four second-place finishes in nine races last season and earned $47,600 while in the Trond Smedshammer Stable. He went off stride in both his Stanley Dancer Memorial elimination and Hambletonian elim. After a sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship last September, Lucky Jim was gelded and turned out.

Lisa Photo

Lucky Jim was a 1:52.4 winner in last week’s Cutler Memorial elimination.

Owners David Prushnok, John Prushnok and William Gregg moved the horse to Miller, who saw Lucky Jim win three overnight races before sweeping the Horse & Groom Series. Along the way, Lucky Jim trotted in 1:51.3, which equaled history’s fastest race mile by a 4-year-old trotter. Following the Horse & Groom Series, he won the Father Foley Memorial.

“Last year, he had to chase Deweycheatumnhowe and Crazed, and that’s a tough order to fill,” said Miller, whose husband, Andy, drives Lucky Jim. “I got to race him in the non-winners (class) and he got more confident and learned how to carry his speed before I had to tangle with the big horses. His mannerisms on the track and in the barn have been perfect for us. He’s a pleasure to be around.”

In the Cutler elim, Lucky Jim faced a field that included last year’s division champ (Enough Talk), two previous Breeders Crown winners (Corleone Kosmos and Arch Madness), and last season’s Nat Ray winner (Misterizi). Corleone Kosmos won last year’s Cutler in a stakes-record-equaling 1:52.2.

“He’s raced and beaten some impressive horses,” Miller said. “He was awesome (in the elimination race). He’s a nice, big, good-looking horse who loves his job. He’s done everything with such grace. We’re just tickled pink.”

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