Rheinheimer Reflects On ‘Pete’

Published: January 14, 2020 12:28 pm EST

It was announced this past fall that fan favourite Freaky Feet Pete was being retired to stud. Now, Marty Rheinheimer, who took over the training duties after his late father Larry suddenly passed away, has discussed the challenge of having to step into the limelight.

Marty’s comments have come via an article by The News Sun, in which he discusses the Freaky Feet Pete ride and what it was like taking over for his father.

“It was tough, you felt like everyone’s eyes were on you, and I was trying to live up to what Dad had accomplished,” Marty stated. “It was … well, I won’t say pressure, but you wanted 'Pete' to perform well, and dad taught me everything I know, so you want to carry on the tradition and want to be successful.”

Freaky Feet Pete dominated the Indiana-bred competition through most of his early career. He destroyed his competition by 11 lengths in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final as a two-year-old, but rose to prominence his sophomore season when faced with eventual 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle it Jiggleit. Freaky Feet Pete lost to Wiggle It Jiggleit early in the year, but finished on top in the $220,000 Super Final before supplementing to and winning the $689,244 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack.

“When they’re babies, you always dream about big stuff like this, but you never think it will happen. I was amazing for sure,” Marty told The News Sun about Pete, who was one of Larry’s homebreds.

He again bested Wiggle It Jiggleit following the Breeders Crown with a 1:49.3 victory in the Monument Circle at his home base of Hoosier Park.

Larry tried Freaky Feet Pete then on the Grand Circuit as a four-year-old. He finished second in the $500,000 Ben Franklin at Pocono Downs following a five-length victory in a world record 1:47.1f in his elimination and the next week finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the $250,000 Graduate Final at the Meadowlands. Following a string of off-the-board efforts Freaky Feet Pete finished second in the $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. But two days later, Larry passed away unexpectedly at age 72.

Four days following Larry’s death, Freaky Feet Pete raced in the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby where Marty said that Pete “pretty much raced on three legs.” He had chipped a splint bone, which cut into a suspensory ligament and forced him to the bench for the remainder of the year.

Freaky Feet Pete’s stakes career essentially came to a close following that, injury but he continued to race valiantly against overnight competition for the next three years at Hoosier Park.

While speaking to The News Sun,, Marty said that, “In his last two starts, Trace (Tetrick, Pete’s driver) gave him perfect trips both times. But coming down the stretch, he just didn’t have his normal ‘Pete fire,’” Rheinheimer said. “I think he just had enough. I think he finally was tired of it.”

From 76 starts, Freaky Feet Pete visited the winner's circle on 37 occasions. He boasts that 1:47.1 mark taken as a four-year-old at Pocono and banked $1,711,084 in purses.

Freaky Feet Pete, who is a son of Rockin Image, is currently standing at stud in Indiana. Marty has said that he is excited to eventually see Pete’s offspring.

“I’ve got several nieces and nephews of Pete, but you just never know. I try not to put the expectations of Pete on any other horse. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment if you do,” said Marty, who went on to say, “You have to just wait on them and let them be what they’re going to be. But you can’t help but always search for the next great one.”

(With files from The News Sun,)

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