Trainers Talk Credit Winner Preparations

Published: September 15, 2010 07:22 pm EDT

Last season’s top older trotter, Lucky Jim, will return to action in Friday’s $195,000 Credit Winner at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. The five-year-old gelding has not

raced since finishing fourth in the Maple Leaf Trot on July 24 at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He finished first or second in eight previous North American races while accumulating $321,697.

Lucky Jim tuned up for the Credit Winner by winning a qualifier in 1:54 on September 11 at Harrah’s Chester.

“He’s coming back good off his brief vacation,” trainer Julie Miller said. “It was good for him. He kept his physical appearance up and was happy. I’ll know more Friday night.”

In 2009, Lucky Jim won 17 of 18 races and earned $1.07 million on his way to winning the Dan Patch Award as best older male trotter. This season, he won the $125,000 Su Mac Lad Series final and was second in the Titan Cup and Cutler Memorial. He was sidelined by what Miller termed “a minor issue” in August.

During his off time, Lucky Jim spent some time in the swimming pool. It was the first time Miller incorporated swimming in Lucky Jim’s routine.

“He took to it real well,” Miller said. “He does anything you ask him to do. It went real well.”

Lucky Jim will face a tough field in the Credit Winner. Among his six rivals are Buck I St Pat and Enough Talk, who also have Dan Patch awards on their resumes, and Nat Ray Invitational winner Slave Dream.

Enough Talk, who was the 2008 Dan Patch Award winner for older male trotter, has won four of 13 races this year and earned $292,503. His victories include the $235,750 Titan Cup on July 3 at the Meadowlands. He is harness racing’s fastest trotter in history, with a 1:49.3 mile to his credit at Colonial Downs in 2008.

Trainer/co-owner Peter Kleinhans hopes Enough Talk will be on his toes for the Credit Winner, thanks to a trip to Maryland.

“He’s had a problem with quarter cracks,” Kleinhans said. Quarter cracks are cracks in a horse’s hoof, the equivalent of a split fingernail in a human. “We just decided to send him to the thoroughbred training center at Fair Hill, Maryland at the Fair Hill Therapy Center there. They worked on his feet, got his feet much better. Now he’s sound and his feet are in great shape. He was very short for the last race [a second-place finish at Vernon Downs on September 10]. I drove him and I didn’t want to push him at all. He was not at his best there. I was hoping he’d be a little better than that.

“They did a cold water whirlpool thing. Bruce Jackson is British and he runs the therapy center there. They did a very good job and Ian McKinley worked on his feet and we think he’ll be back to himself.

“He was a little sick, he bled a little bit and he was short. Those are my three excuses for the last race at Vernon,” laughed Kleinhans. “And he was actually wearing flip flops, which are not his normal shoe. We’re going back to his usual shoes for this race. A 9/16ths half round with a square toe and a couple dots of borium.”

Enough Talk will also get the services of Tyler Buter for the first time.

“I think Tyler is a really great young driver and I’m happy to have him,” Kleinhans said.

Buck I St Pat was voted the sport’s best older female trotter in 2008 and 2009. This year, she has won six of 14 races, many against male counterparts, and earned $432,455. Her wins include the $100,000 Maxie Lee Memorial on August 29 at Harrah’s Chester and the $351,000 Armbro Flight on July 24 at Mohawk.

Here is a look at the field in post position order for Friday’s Credit Winner, with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Define The World, Paul MacDonell, John Bax
2. Hot Shot Blue Chip, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson
3. Armbro Chronicle, Michael Saftic, Kent Baker
4. Buck I St Pat, Tim Tetrick, Ron Burke
5. Lucky Jim, Andy Miller, Julie Miller
6. Enough Talk, Tyler Buter, Peter Kleinhans
7. Slave Dream, Sylvain Filion, Frank O’Reilly

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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