07/02/2007 12:00AM

Zimmerman finds success in Texas


CHICAGO - Ramsey Zimmerman's heart might be at Arlington, but his name sits atop the jockey standings at Lone Star Park in Texas.

The 25-year-old Zimmerman, whose mother Mary trains in Chicago, might be a Chicago regular right now had his career not taken various unfortunate detours that have disrupted many a rider's professional development. Instead, Zimmerman - who is in town Wednesday to ride Cloudy's Knight in the Stars and Stripes Handicap - wound up at low-purse, low-profile meets like that at Fairmount Park before getting his act together last year. He was solid at Hawthorne in the fall, left mid-meet, and had a strong Fair Grounds season over the winter.

He took a chance in May at Lone Star, lured there by the promise of riding for leading trainers Brett Calhoun and Cody Autrey. Through last weekend, Zimmerman had 63 winners to top the Lone Star standings, 11 more than second-place Quincy Hamilton, who had 62 more mounts than Zimmerman. Zimmerman's Lone Star mounts have earned more than $1 million in purses.

"I've mainly been riding for Bret Calhoun and Cody Autrey, but I'm getting some outside business now," Zimmerman said Monday morning. "It's different down here. Everybody really teams up. People have their jockeys, and they stick to that."

Zimmerman will return to Lone Star after riding here Wednesday, and said he was committed to riding at Remington Park rather than Arlington after the Lone Star meet concludes. Then it is on to another Fair Grounds season, but perhaps after that, a return to Chicago.

"I'd like to ride there in the future," he said. "I'd like to have my family there in the summer at some point."

The first time Zimmerman rode Cloudy's Knight, the two teamed up to win the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup. A month later, they were a closing second to Einstein in the Mervin Muniz Handicap. Zimmerman said he had commitments in Texas that kept him from riding Cloudy's Knight in two Kentucky stakes, both losses.

Cloudy's Knight is not just a good horse, he's a gigantic horse, standing well over 17 hands with plenty of bulk.

"I've never really ridden a horse that was really, really big like that who could run much," Zimmerman said. "He's huge and he kind of does what he wants, but I get along with him."

'Jazz' back in Stars and Stripes

Come on Jazz ran a bang-up second at odds of 16-1 in the 2006 Stars and Stripes. But it was the aftermath of the race, rather than the race itself, that proved to be a problem. Come on Jazz was jogging off the turf course and into the main track when he bolted and ran into a rail, tearing open a large chunk of chest. When trainer Brian Williamson saw all the blood he feared the worst, but in the end Come on Jazz only needed stitches and several weeks rest before making it back to the races.

Come on Jazz has started only once so far in 2007, getting in a useful run in a one-mile overnight stakes race June 3. But even though he has raced less than at this time last year, Williamson said Come on Jazz has trained harder - and perhaps better - for this year's Stars and Stripes.

Cisco Torres was aboard Come on Jazz for last year's Stars and Stripes, and he had never ridden the horse. Chris Emigh, who has the mount this year, has been aboard Come on Jazz before, and knows about the little quirk exiting the turf course.

"Chris said he'd tried to do that with him one time before," Williamson said. "You just got to try and keep his attention."

* Three Hour Nap, unraced since fracturing a leg last summer in a race at Arlington, posted his first breeze of the summer, going three furlongs in 36.40 seconds Monday.