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Roy To Make Yonkers Debut

Published: August 24, 2018 10:15 am ET

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Driver Louis-Philippe Roy’s ride with Jimmy Freight to date has already been a fulfilling one.

One of the first major stakes horses the Québec native has traveled with, Jimmy Freight has taken the 28-year-old reinsman to the Meadowlands Pace and the Carl Milstein Memorial. The next step in the pacer’s journey, the $580,000 Messenger Stakes, brings Roy to Yonkers Raceway for the first time.

“It’s nice to be racing on those tracks I used to watch on TV, and especially competing against those elite drivers,” Roy said. “Just meeting them was a big thing for me a few years ago, now racing against them is even bigger.”

Roy became Jimmy Freight’s regular driver this spring when the colt entered Richard Moreau’s barn. The pair have registered seven wins together, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park and four splits of Ontario Sires Stakes. Jimmy Freight is 14-for-24 lifetime with $499,274 earned.

“Jimmy is the easiest horse to drive, he can do whatever you want,” Roy said. “In front, off the pace, he doesn’t care, it’s the race that dictates the kind of trip will be the best for him, so that gives me more options and make my job easier.”

Although versatile, most of Jimmy Freight’s success has come on the front end. He’s led gate-to-wire in four of his wins this season, including a 1:48.3 lifetime best at Mohawk on Aug. 4. The blazing mile came as no surprise to his driver.

“He went a lot of fast miles against the OSS colts without needing any urging before, so I figured he could go that kind of speed if asked,” he said.

Jimmy Freight wasn’t eligible to the North America Cup, but faced older pacers on the Cup undercard in the $100,000 Gold Cup. He came from 14-1/4 lengths out of it to finish third to Sintra and McWicked in 1:49 with a :26.3 final panel.

The Sportswriter son finished in a dead heat for third in his Meadowlands Pace elimination July 7 and fourth in the final a week later, individually timed in 1:47.3. After two scores in Ontario Sires Stakes, including his 1:48.3 mile, Jimmy Freight went to Northfield Park for the Milstein. He set the pace there, but was caught in the final sixteenth by pocket-sitting Thinkbig Dreambig.

Roy is confident Jimmy Freight will register a Grand Circuit victory and thinks the Messenger is a prime opportunity to make the score.

“I think he’s knocking at the door; I hope it’s going be his day soon,” Roy said.

The Messenger drew 11 entrants, necessitating two $40,000 eliminations Saturday (Aug. 25). The top four finishers in each elimination will advance to the final on Sept. 1. The rich Triple Crown card will also feature the $500,000 Yonkers Trot along with the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud Pace, each with an estimated $115,000 purse.

Jimmy Freight drew post 4 in the second Messenger elimination Saturday night. The 9-5 morning-line favourite will meet Springsteen, a 5-2 shot from the inside post. The Rene Allard-trained Rock N Roll Heaven colt finished seventh in the Milstein last out and won the Max Hempt at Pocono Downs in June. Stay Hungry won the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day and looks to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive. He is 2-1 from post 5 with Doug McNair driving for Tony Alagna. Winston, Decoy and Kwik Talkin complete the field.

The first elimination features JK Wildfire, a five-time winner this year who tries open stakes company for the first time this season. Jason Bartlett will drive for Brett Pelling. Babes Dig Me finished third in the Cane Pace and drew the rail for George Brennan and Alagna. Nutcracker Sweet was second in the Hempt and finished sixth in both the Meadowlands Pace and Cane Pace. Jordan Stratton will drive the Takter-trained Bettors Delight son from post 5. Wild Bill and Topville Olympian complete the lineup.

First post time Saturday is 6:50 p.m. The 12-race card also features a $44,000 Open Handicap Pace.

(SOA of New York)

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