Longshot Upsets Field in Southwest
Feb. 28, 1999
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) _ After Saturday's Southwest Stakes, maybe somebody will listen to trainer John Milliron when he raves about Jim'smrtee.
Milliron gave the son of 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee every opportunity to succeed and the longshot scrambled the 3-year-old picture at Oaklawn Park with a half-length victory over Kutsa.
Jim'smrtee was the biggest price in the field of nine that included previously unbeaten Temperence Time. Ridden by Travis Hightower, Jim'smrtee paid $106, $33.20 and $24.20. Kutsa paid $8 and $10. He finished two lengths in front of King of Scat, who paid $8.
The winning time was 1:39 2-5, the slowest since the Southwest became a mile race in 1984.
Temperence Time, who had won all four of his starts, wound up seventh after trying two turns for the first time.
``I've been telling you all along about this colt,'' Milliron said. ``Nobody would listen to me.''
He said he had been high on the colt since he ran a gutsy third to Gold Market at one mile and 40 yards in December in New Orleans.
He said the colt's next two races were on an off track and that he had trouble handling the surface. ``All night long I kept praying, please don't rain, don't rain,'' he said. ``I knew I had the racehorse.''
In addition to the little prayer, Milliron added blinkers to help the colt's concentration and the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.
Jim'smrtee was second in his last start, a six-furlong allowance race. ``At the head of the lane, he got to looking around at the crowd, the noise and that's when I said blinkers are going on,'' Milliron said. ``Lasix has always been in my plans. I said when I'm getting ready to crank him, he will be on Lasix. I didn't want no bleeding or nothing to happen to this colt today.''
James Hutzel, who has a 600-acre farm near Hot Springs, bought Jim'smrtee for $7,500 as a weanling at a sale in Little Rock. ``I liked Lil E. Tee when he ran here,'' Hutzel said.
Jim'smrtee, who had won only once in eight previous starts, earned $45,000 from the $75,000 purse.
Lexington Park broke on top and was quickly joined on the lead by Kutsa. Jim'smrtee was third into the first turn and was still third down the backstretch, parked off the rail. Hightower sneaked a peek back before entering the far turn and made certain he did not leave a hole for McKendree, hard on his heels.
Lexington Park gave up before reaching the turn. Jim'smrtree had some trouble negotiating the turn, but moved even with Kutsa before they turned into the stretch.
The winner edged past Kutsa in the final 50 yards, but Hightower said he still wasn't paying attention to the business at hand.
``Halfway down the stretch I got about a neck in front and thought I was putting the winner away, but my horse got tired late,'' said David Guillory, the rider on Kutsa.
Milliron said Jim'smrtee would make his next start in the Rebel Stakes in about three weeks.