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"Yeah, There's Some Pressure"

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Published: May 25, 2011 7:13 pm ET

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Owner Jim Carr and driver Phil Hudon have both recently weighed in on prohibitive Pepsi North America Cup favourite Big Jim, and now it is trainer James 'Friday' Dean's turn. In regard to colt, Dean has discussed pressure, the Little Brown Jug and what is looking like his arch nemesis, Shadyshark Hanover.

While in discussion with the Woodbine Entertainment Group, Dean gave his thoughts on Big Jim's seasonal pari-mutuel debut, a 1:51.4 win last weekend in a prep for the $400,000 New Jersey Classic, which will take place this weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

"It was a good race for him -- he needed it," Dean said. "If we weren't going to get a prep race we were going to qualify him there [the Meadowlands] Saturday morning. It was a nice race to be in; get him a start over that track and behind the gate and under the lights. He came through with flying colours."

The field for the Jersey Classic is the same as what went forward in the prep, except for one newcomer, Shadyshark Hanover.

Big Jim and Shadyshark Hanover have been gauged No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in Trot Magazine's 2011 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

"[Shadyshark Hanover is] a good horse," said Dean. "Last year, the last two starts -- the Breeders Crown and the Governor's Cup -- he had some road trouble in the Breeders Crown and got a rough trip in the Governor's Cup. I'm not so sure that if we would've got those kind of trips that the results would've been reversed, so it'll be interesting. He's a helluva horse."

During the WEG interview, Dean mentioned that out of all of the top returning two-year-olds from last season, Shadyshark Hanover is the one that he foresees giving Big Jim the toughest time. And in regard to if there is any added pressure now that Big Jim is projected to find success in the 2011 'Glamour Boy' division, Dean was purely honest. "Yeah, there's some pressure. You have to take it a race at a time, use your head and make sure that the horse is taken care of. He's my No. 1 responsibility, and that's my job, so hopefully we'll do some good."

When it comes to top three-year-old pacers, it seems that racing purists just want to see the best of the best eventually lock horns at the Little Brown Jug. Seeing as though Big Jim has not raced over a half, Dean was asked what the plan would be this year seeing as the colt's owner, Jim Carr, would like to see the charge over the fairgrounds.

"Delaware is a pretty forgiving half-mile track," Dean said. "There are some nice big turns there. A lot of horses that can't get around a regular half can get around Delaware. I can't say for sure if he can or if he can't because we've never been over one, but if we are ever going to go over one Delaware would be my pick."

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