|Hawthorne Racecourse daily notes (11/24/02)
Contact: Jim Miller
COACH JIMI LEE WINS HOOSIER JUVENILE
For the second consecutive year, an Arlington Park invader has surprised racing fans at Hoosier Park by taking the title in the $100,000 Hoosier Juvenile. Last year, Cashel Castle was the colt with only two career starts and no stakes experience that drove away with the victory. This year, Coach Jimi Lee followed the same format to claim the victory in only his third career outing.
Coach Jimi Lee and rider Randy Meier wasted no time getting into the game early, busting to the top from post eight in the nine-horse lineup. Once established as the leader, the two-year-old son of Roar kept focused on his business, never letting up through the six-furlong sprint.
"He (Coach Jimi Lee) broke out of the gate very fast and didn't waste any time," said Meier, who has earned more than 4,000 career victories. "I was expecting more company early, but I knew I was sitting on quite a bit of horse."
In the stretch, several other horses had the opportunity to close the gap on Coach Jimi Lee. However, the leader drew clear from the competition, coasting under the wire by more than four lengths. Mr. Whitestone and Justin Vitek came the quickest from off the pace to finish second over Private Gold and Shane Sellers, who endured traffic trouble at times to finish third.
"He is a very talented horse," said Meier. "He has an automatic push button style and I didn't have to get after him at all. He opened up on the field bigger than I thought he would in the stretch. I didn't think we would be all alone for the win at the wire."
Co-owned by trainer James Divito with Lee Battaglia, Coach Jimi Lee notched his first stakes win in his first attempt at that level. The Kentucky-bred gelding is now two for three with his only loss coming in his first start to Sharp Impact, who went on to win the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stake at Arlington Park in September. With his most recent trip to the winner's circle, Coach Jimi Lee now has more than $83,000 to his credit.
REAVIS AND STERLING TEAM UP FOR THREE
Top trainer Michael Reavis and jockey Larry Sterling Jr. got together to post a three-bagger on Saturday. They started things off in the fourth when Zennamatic ($5.20) cruised to a six and a quarter length victory. Two races later, in the sixth, Hidden Pitch ($17.60) got up by a nose. Meandmyloveman ($6.00) wired the field in the very next race.
TOMILLO AND LAVIOLETTE TAKE TWO
Jockey Shane Laviolette and trainer Tom Tomillo teamed up for a pair of victories Saturday. They won the first with Sir Shimmy ($6.60) and the last with Markus' Powerplay ($5.40).