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Pacer Looks To Defy The Odds

Published: June 13, 2018 9:35 pm ET

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One year ago, he was an unproven two-year-old with a mark of 2:16.2 taken at a fair track. A year later, he's a sophomore racing at one of the premier circuits in the world, has a sub-1:50 record and is set to face some of the best open horses in harness racing.

While ten of his three-year-old counterparts will square off in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup on Saturday evening (June 16) at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Adriano Sorella's Jimmy Freight will square off against eight of the continent's top older pacers in the $100,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational.

"It came as a pleasant shock to me," Sorella told Trot Insider with respect to Jimmy Freight contesting the Mohawk Gold Cup against older company. "I was looking at the entries to see the card for North America Cup Saturday, as I planned to attend. And there he was, right in the middle of all those great horses. (Trainer) Richard (Moreau) is the boss, and he's a top trainer for a reason. I'm just here to enjoy the ride."

And what an unlikely ride it has been.


Jimmy Freight, winning on the Iowa fair circuit in 2017

From humble beginnings on the Iowa fair circuit, the son of Sportswriter has blossomed into a force to be reckoned with in Ontario, riding a four-race winning streak into the Gold Cup. Following a 1:51.3 triumph in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event at Flamboro, one he won by 6-1/4 lengths, Jimmy Freight posted a dominant gate-to-wire score in his Somebeachsomewhere division on June 2, defeating Dan Patch Award winner Lost In Time by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2.

The Gold Cup will not be Jimmy Freight's first foray into older competition, as he earned his 1:49.4 lifetime mark last Saturday over the likes of Nirvana Seelster and Dr J Hanover.

Granted, this Saturday's test will prove more difficult for Jimmy Freight and regular driver Louis-Philippe Roy, who landed right in the middle of the nine-horse field with post five. Among his rivals are double millionaire and 2014 Breeders Crown champion McWicked (post six, David Miller, 2-1), Dan Patch and Sam McKee Memorial winner Check Six (post two, Yannick Gingras, 8-1), and 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby winner Sintra (post seven, Jody Jamieson, 9-2).

"At this point he hasn't done anything wrong, and deserves the shot he's given," continued Sorella. Thus far, Jimmy Freight has amassed 11 wins in 17 starts, and has banked $278,252.

Despite not being staked to the either North America Cup or the Meadowlands Pace, some major dances remain on Jimmy Freight's horizon this season.

"I did get a call from Dave Bianconi at Northfield inviting him to the Carl Milstein," Sorella said. "That's a pretty nice invite versus some of the best three-year-olds. He's still got plenty of Grand Circuit, including the Progress and Matron (at Dover Downs). It's a long season; I've only been here once with Vegas Vacation. It's been a long, long time since I've had hope."

The Gold Cup, which is carded as the sixth of 15 races on Cup night, shares undercard billing with the $250,000 Armbro Flight for distaff trotters (race three), the $415,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies (race nine), the $266,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotters (race 10), and the $370,000 Roses Are Red for pacing mares (race 11). First post for the blockbuster card is 6:30 p.m.

To view the entries for Saturday's stellar card of harness racing, click on one of the following links:
Woodbine Mohawk Park - Saturday Entries - Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT).


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