12/29/2011 2:58PM

Parx Racing: Jimanator looks to pair up stakes wins in Auld Lang Syne

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Jim Lisa
Jiminator wins the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Stakes at Calder in his last start.

The much-improved gelding Jimanator, who went from a well-beaten seventh running for a $17,500 claiming tag last January to winning a Grade 3 stakes last month, will try to close out his 2011 campaign with a second straight stakes win in Saturday’s $75,000 Auld Lang Syne at Parx Racing.

Based at the Fair Hill Training Center with trainer Mike Trombetta, the 5-year-old Jimanator was claimed three times this season, most recently out of a winning effort for $20,000 at Saratoga in mid-August. In three starts at three different tracks for Trombetta and owner Three Diamonds Farm, Jimanator has two wins and a second, beaten just a half-length.

He shipped to south Florida to win the Grade 3 Fred Hooper going 1 1/8 miles at Calder by three-quarters of a length on Nov. 26. For that effort, Jimanator matched the 94 Beyer Speed Figure he earned for his 6 1/4-length romp in a second-level allowance at Parx six weeks earlier.

Jimanator, who will break from the rail under leading rider Kendrick Carmouche, picks up 10 pounds since winning the Hooper as the 124-pound highweight in a field of nine for the mile and 70-yard Auld Lang Syne.

Jimanator’s stiffest challenge could come from comebacker Heart Butte, a Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old who has been idle for more than 11 months since winning the Evening Attire over Aqueduct’s inner track. Heart Butte has won 3 of 4 starts since blinkers were added to his equipment. Pletcher is 0 for 9 with the horses he has shipped to Parx this season, but owns a 3-for-10 record with stakes runners making their first appearance following a layoff of more than 180 days.

The best recent form among Jimanator’s rivals belongs to Not Abroad, a locally based 4-year-old who has two stakes wins in his last three starts. Most recently, the Mike Petro-trained Not Abroad rallied from 12 lengths behind after the first half-mile to score by five lengths, earning a career-best 99 Beyer, in the Swatara at Penn National.

The lightly raced 4-year-old Thunder Lord steps up to try stakes company for the first time following back-to-back wins by a combined eight lengths at Laurel Park.

High On Candy has been in the exacta in four straight starts since he was claimed by trainer Scott Lake. The 5-year-old High On Candy has been no worse than third in 8 of 10 starts at Parx.