05/05/2009 11:00PM

Two old-timers attempt comebacks


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Gone but not forgotten? Exactly the opposite, in fact. A couple old-time racehorses from the Chicago circuit may have been virtually forgotten in the last many months, but they are not gone.

Cloudy's Knight, who won a Sovereign Award in Canada after he captured the Canadian International in 2007, is in the early stages of a comeback from a long layoff. But that comeback will come for a new trainer, Jonathan Sheppard, and at a new site, Sheppard's farm in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Coach Jimi Lee is stabled at Arlington Park with trainer Jim DiVito, who hopes to have the gelding ready to race sometime this summer.

Cloudy's Knight, now 8, was based for most of his career with trainer Frank Kirby, though Jimmy McMullen took the horse to Fair Grounds for the 2006-2007 meet, where Cloudy's Knight finished second to Einstein by a half-length in the Mervin Muniz Handicap. Later that year, back with Kirby, Cloudy's Knight hit a career peak, winning the Sky Classic at Woodbine before scoring an 18-1 upset in the Grade 1 Canadian International.

But Cloudy's Knight lost all four starts in 2008, looking like a shadow of his former self after returning from a seven-month winter and spring layoff. Cloudy's Knight's most recent start came last Sept. 7, when he finished eighth of nine in the Northern Dancer at Woodbine.

"Evidently he suffered some sort of very bad injury at some point," said Sheppard.

Cloudy's Knight arrived at Sheppard's barn only about 10 days ago, and has a long road in front of him before any return to the races can be planned. Sheppard said that Shirley Schwartz, who co-owns Cloudy's Knight with her husband, Jerrold, sent him Cloudy's Knight because a vet told her that "a European style of rehab would be appropriate."

"Being on the farm, we can get horses legged up by going up and down hills, and things like that," said Sheppard. "He'll have four to six weeks of jogging, and it will be two to three months before he even sees a racetrack. [Schwartz] knows it's a little bit of a longshot at his age, but she's willing to give it a shot."

Meanwhile, 9-year-old Coach Jimi Lee has not won since September 2007, and made only one start in 2008. DiVito got him back to the races this past winter in Florida, but The Coach, a 16-time winner whose first stakes victory came in 2002, ran poorly in two starts, the first on turf, the second on dirt.

"I think he looks better than he did the last two years," said DiVito. "It just didn't work out over the winter. He's probably going to work Saturday. We're going to see what happens, see if we can get that elusive million dollars."

Coach Jimi Lee, owner of the fastest six furlongs ever run in Illinois, has earned $924,293 for DiVito and co-owner Lee Battaglia.

Longtime owner Trebat dies at 94

Richard Trebat, a prominent Chicago owner, died April 23 of congestive heart failure at 94, according to his granddaughter, Lana Capozzoli.

Trebat, a native Chicagoan, lived in the suburb of Park Ridge for some 50 years, making his mark in the clothing business. His success there gained Trebat entry into horse racing, where he had amazing success claiming horses that turned into stakes winners. Five times that happened, with Trebat claiming two horses, Recoup the Cash and Chicago Six, that went on to win graded stakes.

Trebat claimed Recoup the Cash for $15,000 in June 1993, and the horse went on to win seven of his next nine starts in Chicago. But under the tutelage of trainer J.R. Smith, Recoup the Cash was only getting warmed up. In 1994, he won the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap at Sportsman's Park, the Grade 3 Stephen Foster at Churchill, and the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup. Recoup the Cash won the Stephen Foster again in 1995, and wound up his career with 23 wins and more than $1 million in earnings.

In September 1999, Trebat and Smith struck gold again, this time with $18,000 claim Chicago Six. Chicago Six went on to win 13 races for Trebat, nine of them stakes, including a victory in the Grade 2 National Jockey Club. Chicago Six now is a sire in Illinois.

"He was just slowing down, but he still wanted the Racing Form till the day he died," said Capozzoli, one of Trebat's three grandchildren.

Capozzoli said she and her siblings will continue to race horses as the Richard Trebat Trust.

* The nominal feature here Friday is race 9 of 10, an entry-level sprint allowance over Polytrack.