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Update On Freaky Feet Pete

Published: January 30, 2017 9:46 am ET

Last Comment: January 31, 2017 11:30 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Older pacing star Freaky Feet Pete, making his last start of 2016 in the $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby, sustained an injury during the mile that forced him to stop racing for the year.

“He was third in that start, and pretty much raced on three legs,” trainer Marty Rheinheimer said.

In his start at Dayton Raceway, “Pete” chipped a splint bone, which then cut into a suspensory ligament.

“Our first impulse was to do surgery to remove the splint bone, but instead what we did was inject stem cells into the suspensory,” Rheinheimer said. “We treated that first, and then we were going to look at the splint bone after everything else was healed. The splint bone had quieted down, so we elected not to do surgery.”

From the end of September through the end of December, Rheinheimer put 'Pete' on stall rest only. While he recovered, his mood and health fluctuated, being hot one day and then cold the next. This episode lasted for about 10 weeks.

Freaky Feet Pete returned to training in January. Rheinheimer wanted to start him lightly, so he took Pete to Pacesetter, where he trained on an underwater treadmill. He went from training every other day to every day, and is now jogging to return to form, as well as training on the water treadmill.

“I think he has developed since the injury,” Rheinheimer said. “He’s such a hard horse to read because he’s always so happy and loves his work. I think he’s moving into his form a little more, and he looks bigger and stronger to me this year.”

Rheinheimer hopes to have 'Pete' ready by the end of June for the Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun Pocono. However, Rheinheimer’s main focus is to get 'Pete' back to racing, whether he’s ready by June or needs more time to heal and develop.

Freaky Feet Pete will also be racing outside of Indiana more in his five-year-old campaign, competing in more Grand Circuit events compared to his four-year-old season.

“We can’t enter him in Indiana; they won’t let him race,” Rheinheimer said. “We really had no choice. I think what we’re going to lay out for 'Pete' is a schedule similar to last year’s, the Franklin, the Haughton; though we missed the Canadian Pacing Derby. We also have the Dan Patch and Breeders Crown in Indiana.

“And, with dad’s passing, he absolutely wanted a horse to race at Lexington on the Red Mile, so that’s also a big goal.”

Larry Rheinheimer, Marty’s father and Pete’s original trainer, passed away in late September from a heart attack at the age of 72. Since then, the Rheinheimer Stable has been adjusting to their new way of life, racing 'Pete' in honour of Larry.

“It’s been difficult without having dad here, but with 'Pete', everybody was involved day-to-day,” Rheinheimer said. “I guess you kind of just go on. It hurts, but you just have to keep trying.

“I had previously had a job in a factory, so I would help dad out in the afternoons, on the weekends, and in my down time. But I’ve since quit my job, and took over the stable. This was always the plan, but we wish it didn’t have to happen so soon."

Marty learned a lot from his father over decades of harness racing involvement.

“Me and dad worked together for a long time. Ever since he got back into standardbreds, I’ve helped him train, and of course owned several with him. He was a good teacher.

“Racing 'Pete' is bittersweet. The happiness and pride that horse brought to my father, and the recognition he deserved, made the experience amazing. I feel like his work was unfinished, and I wish he was here for the rest of the ride.”

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Ray Cotolo)

January 31, 2017 - 11:30 pmHopefully Freaky Feet Pete

Hopefully Freaky Feet Pete can come back better than ever, and possibly even take a run at the world record of 1:46. I know that's a lofty goal, but you never know.

January 30, 2017 - 10:41 pmMr. Rheinheimer's statement

Mr. Rheinheimer's statement "they won't let him race in Indianna", is a classic example harness Racing idiocy. Can you imagine any Thoroughbred track barring a horse like Secretariat or the modern day Arrogate. They all would put out "The Red carpet" for the chance to showcase such horses. It is pathetic!

January 30, 2017 - 10:10 pmSo sorry to hear about the

So sorry to hear about the passing of Martys father. Hope that Freaky Feet Pete can do tremendous this year :)

January 30, 2017 - 12:17 pmHopefully Pete can return to

John Carter SAID...

Hopefully Pete can return to form because with the retirement of Miki the aged pacers needs someone who will be able to challenge Wiggle It Jiggleit. I don't see any of the rest being able to do it.

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