09/18/2006 11:00PM

Team Zimmerman looks live


CHICAGO - The jockey Ramsey Zimmerman hasn't ridden regularly in Chicago in several seasons, and hadn't ridden anywhere this year until Friday's opening day at Hawthorne Race Course.

Zimmerman lost his license late last summer after testing positive for the drug methadone while he was on top of the jockey standings at Fairmount Park. Zimmerman, who has had other brushes with racing authority, was issued an exercise rider's license some time ago, and after receiving a conditional jockey's license, began taking mounts last week.

With some success, too. From five mounts during Hawthorne's opening three-day week, Zimmerman rode two winners, and in one race came deftly up the rail with a longshot in a two-turn turf race. On Thursday, he rides That's a Story for his mother, Mary Zimmerman, in the featured eighth race at Hawthorne, a second-level dirt-sprint allowance race restricted to Illinois-bred females.

Mary Zimmerman has eight wins during the 2006 season, and That's a Story represents two of them. Back from a long layoff at the National Jockey Club meet at Hawthorne in March, That's a Story romped by nearly 11 lengths in a $15,000 Illinois-bred maiden-claimer. Mary Zimmerman bumped the filly up to an Illinois-bred entry-level allowance race when she returned six weeks later, and That's a Story won again.

The Arlington meet was slower: That's a Story finished no better than fifth in her first five starts there. But on Aug. 30, making her first start with Lasix, That's a Story showed signs of life again, finishing second to the decent filly Ripe Tomato under conditions similar to Thursday's.

If That's a Story seems to prefer Hawthorne to Arlington, Come Shine definitely prefers Hawthorne to anywhere else. Come Shine has won 5 of 10 starts at Hawthorne while going winless in 11 races at other venues, so handicappers must try to look past her Arlington form, which was moderate at best. Last spring, on her favorite racetrack, Come Shine won an Illinois-bred entry-level allowance race by more than nine lengths before being thrown to the wolves in the Governor's Lady Stakes, where she was a respectable sixth of nine.

Not that these two are standouts. Summer Range, who prefers second-place finishes to wins, has a chance for the Frank Kirby barn, while trainer Christine Janks sends out Zizook, fourth last out at Arlington in a one-mile race at this class level that had stronger horses in it than the Thursday Hawthorne feature.