Balmoral Park (11/10/11)
Contact: Tom Kelley
MILLER HOPING LUCKY JIM MINDS HIS MANNERS
A classy and well-matched field of seven older trotting stars, led by 2009 Dan Patch Award winner Lucky Jim, will square off in Saturday night’s eighth race which is the $143,000 American National Aged Trot.
In a race which boasts such previous champions as Buck I St. Pat, Enough Talk, Peaceful Way, Mr. Muscleman and Moni Maker in recent years, this year’s champ will come from a group that totals 178 career victories and $5,979,44 in lifetime earnings.
Trainer Erv Miller is hoping that a trip back to the Windy City where he still keeps a large string of horses will get Lucky Jim, the 5-2 morning line favorite from the inside post, back on track after the six-year-old son of SJ’s Photo made a break while storming up on the outside of horses in the Breeders Crown last time out.
“I was really disappointed when he made that break because he seemed very good coming into that race and he had warmed up very well that night,” said Miller. “He also needs to be babied just a little bit in the turns and I just think that he got going too fast once the plugs were pulled on him.”
A career winner of more than $1.8 million for owners David & John Prushnok and William Gregg, Lucky Jim boasts 28 lifetime wins. Named the 2009 Dan Patch Award winner as best older male trotter after winning 17 of 18 starts that season, Lucky Jim has even tried his luck overseas competing in the 2010 Elitlopp in Sweden.
Keeping a light schedule these days, Lucky Jim has shown no signs of slowing down as he gets older.
“He’s had a little trouble from time to time with his feet so we don’t race him every week and we don’t overdo it with him,” Miller explained. “He’s still as fast a trotter as I’ve ever seen and when he’s on his `A' game he’s as tough as anybody in the country to beat.”
That confidence is backed up by the fact that Lucky Jim is still the co-holder of the fastest mile ever trotted on a mile race track with a 1:50.1 clocking, which was taken during his victory in the prestigious Nat Ray Stake during his four-year-old season.
Another starter in here has also been forced to overcome some breaking problems but Kenneth Sommer’s Action-Broadway, the lone mare in the race, has really put things together in 2011 posting 10 wins and $536,084 in earnings.
“She’s bred to be a good horse but her attitude early on in her career may have been a hindrance to her,” said trainer Virgil Morgan. “She made some breaks early in her career because she was so eager to trot she was trying to go from second gear to fifth gear. Now she’s a much more seasoned and much more mature trotter, which is why she is having the year that she is.”
Among her biggest victories to date are an upset score in the $349,000 Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk this year and a record setting victory in the Casual Breeze Stakes at Mohawk during her sophomore season.
For more information visit www.balmoralpark.com or call (708) 672-1414.
About Balmoral Park: Located in Crete, IL just 12 miles south of 80/94; Balmoral Park has been one of the nation's premier horse racing facilities since 1926. Balmoral Park features live racing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission and parking is always free.