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'Friday' Dean: "It Would Mean Everything To Me To Win The Little Brown Jug"


Published: April 18, 2011 12:06 pm ET

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Although Big Jim has his sights clearly set on the upcoming Pepsi North America Cup, his trainer, James 'Friday' Dean has made no secret about his aspirations for a Little Brown Jug win with the strapping sophomore.

Big Jim, the reigning two-year-old colt pacing champion in both the U.S. and Canada, will make his first qualifying start of the season on Friday, April 22 at the Southern Oaks Training Center in Sorrento, Florida.

Trainer James 'Friday' Dean has said that Big Jim is paid up in all of the major stakes.

“So far this year he hasn’t given me any problems. Everything’s been good. Big Jim was sounder and better in his last race than he had been all of last year. We’ll take one race at a time.”

The 48-year-old Dean, who worked with Canadian Hall of Famer Stew Firlotte for more than 20 years, said “it would mean everything to me to win the Little Brown Jug. It is still the most prestigious race in our sport. As long as Big Jim is physically good, and sound, we’ll be in Delaware."

Before Big Jim can take his shot at 'Jug' glory, he first has a more lucrative dash on his radar, the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup. Big Jim has been rated the 3-1 favourite in Trot Magazine's 2011 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book

Big Jim won six of 10 starts his rookie year including a World Record 1:49.1 effort.

“Big Jim is a big powerful horse and he’s solid muscle,” said Dean. “I’m six-feet tall and if I stand by his rump it is level with the top of my head. He’s pretty happy. He’s got a great attitude. He just loves to race. He can leave the gate really quick and that is going to help me a lot. He can get away and get a good post position. And that makes it a lot easier.”

Dean trained Big Jim on April 10 in 1:57.3. “I plan to qualify Big Jim down here (Southern Oaks Training Center) on Friday and Phil Hudon will be here to drive," Dean explained.

Following Friday’s qualifier at Southern Oaks, Dean plans to ship Big Jim to Mohawk Racetrack. “We’ll likely qualify once up there, and if the Meadowlands is open, he will race in the Jersey Classic eliminations on May 21. If not, we’ll race is an overnight at Mohawk and then go in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes (formerly the Burlington Stakes) in early June.”

Dean plans to ship Big Jim to Delaware the week before the Jug (September 22). "I don’t think he has any other races on a half-mile track and I would like to train him over the Delaware track,” he said.

Dean has experience with racing colts in the Jug. In 2006 the pony-sized Doonbeg was third in his elimination, but made a break and finished ninth in the final. Last year Classic Rock N Roll won his elim in 1:50.4 but finished fifth to U.S. Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven.

Dean has 15 horses in his stable, including six for Big Jim’s owner, Jim Carr. Carr, who is from Dean’s hometown of Hamilton, Ont., also has five two-year-old pacing colts under his trainer’s care. All five are eligible to Delaware’s Standardbred Stakes.

Big Jim is the first horse Dean has trained for Carr. “We went to the Harrisburg Sale two years ago and bought Big Jim for $35,000,” said Carr. “We changed his name from Bold Ideal Hanover. I think we got him for a reasonable price. He’s by Western Ideal and his dam, Bold Pink, had produced some good racehorses, but nothing really special.”

(With files from the Little Brown Jug)

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