World champion and fan favourite Freaky Feet Pete returned to the winner’s circle at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the first time this season in the featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace, on Friday, Aug. 4.
With regular driver Trace Tetrick in the bike, Freaky Feet Pete turned a pocket trip into a 1:50.2 score to notch his first win of the year from four outings.
Leaving from post five in an abbreviated field of six, Tetrick sent Freaky Feet Pete away from the gate firing but Todd Warren had New Talent keyed up from post six. New Talent got the first call as Tetrick opted for a pocket seat, with Mykindachip and Ricky Macomber Jr. following intently in third.
New Talent clicked off fractions of :26.4 and :54.3 while the field remained in single-file line down the backside. Reaching the three-quarters in 1:23.2, New Talent tried to distance himself from the rest of the field but Freaky Feet Pete was looming large in the pocket.
As the field straightened away for home, Tetrick tipped Freaky Feet Pete to the outside and he kicked home in :26.4 to get the win by two lengths over New Talent. Mykindachip held on gamely to round out the trifecta.
Sent off as the heavy betting favourite, Freaky Feet Pete paid $2.80 for the victory at the betting windows.
As Freaky Feet Pete returned to the Hoosier Park winner’s circle for the 26th time in his illustrious career, he was greeted by an emotional group of friends and family.
“That was everything,” trainer and co-owner Marty Rheinheimer noted in the winner’s circle. “It’s hard to describe what this means to us, I think we all needed that.”
Larry Rheinheimer, Marty’s father and Pete’s original trainer, passed away unexpectedly in September of 2016 from a heart attack at the age of 72. Since then, the Rheinheimer Stable has been adjusting and will be racing 'Pete' in honour of his late trainer. Owned by Mary Jo and Marty Rheinheimer, the son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has amassed $1.6 million in lifetime purse earnings. Tonight’s victory was career win number 31 for Freaky Feet Pete and the first with Marty Rheinheimer enlisted as his trainer.
“I thought he might be a little short tonight because he’s had a few weeks off but Trace [Tetrick] said he was great,” Rheinheimer continued. “That feels good. This horse continues to amaze me. As long as he comes out of this race okay, our plan is the Dan Patch next week. Dad always wanted to win the Dan Patch so we’re going to give it a shot. Everything we do is for dad.”
Rheinheimer’s star will be pointed to the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes slated for Friday, Aug. 11 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park is set to celebrate Indiana’s premier harness racing event, the 24th edition of the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes, with a weekend festival on Friday, Aug. 11 and Saturday, Aug. 12. Hoosier Park will host a live post draw for the Dan Patch Stakes on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues on Saturday, Aug. 5 with a 12-race card. Post time is 6:30 p.m.
(With files from Hoosier Park)