11/26/2011 6:49PM

Calder: Former claimer Jimanator outduels Mambo Meister in Hooper Handicap

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Jim Lisa
Jimanator outfinishes Mambo Meister to win the Grade 2, $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap at Calder.

MIAMI – Jimanator, beaten under a $20,000 claiming tag this summer at Saratoga, became a graded stakes winner Saturday at Calder after outgaming the 2-5 favorite Mambo Meister to register a three-quarter-length decision in the Grade 2, $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap.

Jimanator was haltered for $20,000 by trainer Michael Trombetta in the interest of the Three Diamond Farm of Kirk Wycoff on Aug. 18. He returned quick dividends in two subsequent starts for his new connections, finishing second in a mid-level optional claiming race at Monmouth Park before beating second-level conditioned claimers at Parx Racing on Oct. 11.

With jockey Joe Bravo aboard for the first time, Jimanator raced less than three lengths off the early pace set by longshot Tellum Berto in the 1 1/8-mile Hooper. Jimanator angled out four wide to engage Mambo Meister into the stretch, before gradually asserting his superiority in the final sixteenth.

Mambo Meister, who was cross-entered but scratched from the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap later on the card, was hung wide throughout after breaking on the extreme outside in the eight-horse field. The multiple Grade 3 winner forged to command while still in hand near the quarter pole and resisted Jimanator through midstretch before ultimately succumbing near the end.
Stimulus Plan finished third, another 5 1/4 lengths behind Mambo Meister.

Jimanator, a 5-year-old son of Broken Vow, completed the distance in 1:53.36 over a fast track and paid $7.

“A lot of our success with this horse has been due to being in the right place at the right time,” Trombetta said by phone after the race. “The horse had good numbers and was obviously being placed fairly aggressively at Saratoga, which is why we took him. It’s just been circumstance, one thing leading to another, where he’s ultimately landed. We were looking at an overnight stakes in New York, which didn’t fill, and this race happened to be one of the few choices out there right now.”

Trombetta said Jimanator, who just shipped down to south Florida earlier this week, will remain in the area but will get a little break at this time.