Jimmy Z Ends 2-Year Drought in Forty-Niner

Jimmy Z snapped a 16-race losing streak in grand style Friday at Golden Gate Fields when he got up in the final jump to win the $100,000 Forty-Niner Handicap by a head.

Jimmy Z nailed Ninebanks, who had taken the lead from 6-5 favorite Mercenary at the sixteenth pole, on the wire and won the 1 1/16-miles contest for 3-year-olds and up in 1:40.67.

The victory was Jimmy Z's first since Sept. 3, 2000, when he captured a $50,000 optional claiming race at Del Mar. Trained by Ron McAnally, Jimmy Z had five seconds and six thirds during the long victory drought.

"It (the losing streak) gets frustrating for us and the horse, because he is a good horse," said Dan Landers, who serves as McAnally's assistant. "The win should boost the horse's confidence and everyone's confidence in him."

Jimmy Z is strictly a stretch runner, and he came from last in a field of seven to win the Forty-Niner in exciting fashion under jockey Frank Alvarado.

"They told me not to send him and to just let him relax early," said Alvarado. "I didn't think he'd relax that far back but he was going comfortably. I saved ground when he started moving on the second turn but then I ran into some traffic entering the stretch. Once I was able to swing him outside he really put in a strong move."

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss, Jimmy Z earned $55,000 and has made $296,460 in his 26 career starts. Dismissed at 8-1 in the wagering, Jimmy Z paid $18.60, $7.80 and $2.80.

Ninebanks, ridden by Ron Warren, Jr., took second by a length over Mercenary and paid $5.80 and $3.20. Mercenary, ridden by Tyler Baze, returned $2.60.

(Chart, Equibase)