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Lucky Jim Streaks Into Maxie Lee Final

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Published: May 27, 2009 8:27 pm ET

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After Andy Miller drove Lucky Jim to victory last week in his elimination for Sunday’s $250,000 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah’s Chester, he reported to trainer Julie Miller, who is also his wife, that the trotter was “perfect.” In this case, no other word would seem appropriate.

With last week’s triumph, Lucky Jim remained perfect this year: 11-for-11. His race at Chester was his first this season away from the Meadowlands Racetrack, where he set a record for trotters with 10 consecutive victories in a year. He was at home on the road, though. His winning time of 1:52.2 last week matched the Chester track record.

“He came out of the race great,” Julie Miller said. “He enjoyed Chester and got around the track really well. He was really relaxed. Andy said he was perfect.

“When we started training him, I never expected this to happen,” she added. “You always hope for a horse like him and I’m just grateful it’s happening to me and Andy.”

The Miller Stable took over the training of Lucky Jim following his three-year-old season. Last year, Lucky Jim was winless in nine starts, but finished second on four occasions and earned $47,600. The gelding is owned by David Prushnok, John Prushnok, and William Gregg.

“He definitely had to prove himself to a lot of people,” Miller said. “He’s proved himself to me, and how I feel about him matters more than what anybody else says about him. He’s matured from [ages] three to four and come into his own. Andy always says there’s more in the tank. Words can’t describe how happy I am with him.”

Lucky Jim headed to Chester after winning the $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands, where he defeated a field that included last year’s divisional champion Enough Talk and two previous Breeders Crown winners, Corleone Kosmos and Arch Madness. It was the biggest victory of his career.

“I think a lot of our [stable’s] success comes from trying to be the big fish in a little pond,” Miller said. “When you want to go with the bigger horses, you’ve got to step up. That [Cutler] was an amazing field he was able to beat. But he didn’t really surprise me. I’m so proud of him.”

If all goes well this weekend, Lucky Jim’s next assignment is likely to be the $200,000 Titan Cup at the Meadowlands. Eliminations are June 26 and the final is July 4.

Miller, who entered Wednesday as one of just 10 trainers with more than $1 million in purse earnings this year, was uncertain of her longest win streak with a horse, but added, “I know it’s never been this long.”

“Of course, you want to keep [the streak] going, but I know if you race long enough you eventually get beat,” Miller said. “This is pretty overwhelming. I’ve got to pinch myself to believe that I’ve got the opportunity to train a horse like him.”

Lanson, who earlier this year won the Su Mac Lad at the Meadowlands, won the other Maxie Lee Memorial elimination race in 1:53.2. Below is the field in post position order, with listed drivers and trainers.

1. Lanson, R. Piece, D. Swick
2. Lucky Jim, A. Miller, J. Miller
3. Prayer I Am, G. Brennan, A. Byler
4. Michaelrowyourboat, J. Smith, J. Smith
5. Vivid Photo, R. Hammer, R. Hammer
6. Falls For You, B. Sears, T. Smedshammer
7. Four Starz Speed, Y. Gingras, R. Burke
8. Green Day, C. Manzi, J. Raymer

(Harness Racing Communications)


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