Lucky Jim and driver Andy Miller made it 12 for 12 this year with a two-length victory in the $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Trot for open trotters yesterday at Harrah's Chester Raceway.
Driven by Miller for his wife, trainer Julie Miller, Lucky Jim got away in third place behind the leader, Four Starz Speed (Yannick Gingras), who hit the quarter-mile mark in 27.1 seconds. Lucky Jim trotted into the lead in front of the grandstand and just before the half (0:55.4), and held it to the 1:23 three-quarter-mile mark.
Lucky Jim was tracked by Lanson (Ron Pierce) on the outside through the final turn, but when the field turned for home, the gelding had a decisive lead and held it to the wire in 1 minute, 52.3 seconds.
"He didn't really like the track, and he swiveled a bit in the first turn," Andy Miller said. "But he's a good horse, he likes to be a racehorse, and he likes his work."
Asked about Lucky Jim's improvement in form since last year, when he was winless in nine starts as a 3-year-old, Miller said, "He was gelded and turned out, so I guess he just grew up and matured."
Lucky Jim is owned by David and John Prushnok of Punxsutawney and David Gregg of Indiana, Pa.
His next start is expected to be in the Titan Cup at the Meadowlands. Eliminations are June 26.
Surprise in Sweden. Buck I St. Pat, the 2008 trotting mare of the year, finished unplaced in the second elimination in the Elitlopp in Stockholm.
Buck I St. Pat broke before the start and missed the gate. Driver Tim Tetrick drove to recover the loss, but with 600 meters to go, the mare faded.