Updated on 09/17/2011 1:05PM

Leaping Plum seeks ninth Grasmick


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - They could have held a day to honor at Fonner Park any number of years. After all, by 2001 he had won seven straight runnings of the Grasmick Handicap and was still a relative youngster at the age of 10.

Leaping Plum will finally have his day in the sun on Saturday when he will be the guest of honor on Leaping Plum Day. Now 13, he is still going strong and, instead of just parading in front of the fans, he will be in the post parade, wearing the green No. 5 saddlecloth. If he can summon up the strength to win one more Grasmick, the day will truly be complete.

Leaping Plum will be gunning to top a field of seven others and win the Grasmick for the ninth time. The $10,000-added Grasmick at four furlongs goes as the eighth on a nine-race card.

Owned by Paul Miskimins and Clyde Woods, Leaping Plum was granted special permission by the Nebraska State Racing Commission to race this year at age 13. His phenomenal streak of seven straight wins in the same stakes race is believed to be a world record, as is his mark of eight total wins in the same stakes.

The track will have commemorative T-shirts and photos available to fans. Highlights from Leaping Plum's career will be aired throughout the day.

His speed from the gate may not be as potent as it used to, but trainer Joe Moss has taught Leaping Plum to make his move nearing the stretch. Last year it was good enough to edge Tonight Rainbow by three-quarters of a length in the Grasmick. Tonight Rainbow was later voted sprinter of the meet.

Saturday, Tonight Rainbow will carry high weight of 122 pounds with Curtis Kimes named to ride. Leaping Plum gets in with his lightest assignment in years at 118 pounds. Newil Wall, no youngster himself at 56, has the riding assignment.

Turf writer Don Lee dies

Don Lee, a fixture on the Nebraska racing circuit for decades, died Wednesday in Omaha at 82. Lee was a longtime sportswriter for the Omaha World Herald and a Daily Racing Form columnist, covering Ak-Sar-Ben.

He was a member of the Nebraska Horse Racing Hall of Fame as well as the Creighton University Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Golf Association Hall of Fame.

Lee is survived by his wife Betty Jean; son Dennis Lee and daughter Judy Kirchmann.

Dennis Lee is the Chairman of the Nebraska State Racing Commission.