07/12/2010 11:00PM

Coach Jimi Lee closing in on $1 million


The 10-year-old Coach Jimi Lee continues to ignore Father Time. Earlier this month at Prairie Meadows, Coach Jimi Lee won for the first time in 2010, and is less than $2,000 away from his connections' goal of $1 million in career earnings.

And Coach Jimi Lee is not bottom-feeding, either. His victory came in a high-level optional $35,000 claimer.

"It's amazing," said Jim DiVito, who trains Coach Jimi Lee and co-owns him with Lee Battaglia. "He's 10 years old, and he ran 1:09 flat this time, and 1:08 and 4 out there the last time when he finished second. He seems just as good this year as last year."

Coach Jimi Lee's six-furlong Prairie Meadows track record was broken this summer, but The Coach has held his spot as one of the fastest sprinters in the Midwest for several years. He had a quiet season in 2007, and during the winter of 2008 appeared to have lost his zeal for racing entirely. But DiVito never believed Coach Jimi Lee was through.

"Not really," Divito said. "I know the horse pretty well. I wasn't concerned."

"One more race, God bless him, and we should get [to $1 million]. I'm trying to win at the same time he makes it. That would be the icing on the cake," said DiVito.

That race will not come at Arlington, Coach Jimi Lee's summer base. The Coach has run fast on many racing surfaces, but he does not do Polytrack.