BY LARRY HAMEL
For the Sun-Times
Trace Tetrick compared driving the Indiana-bred phenom Freaky Feet Pete ‘‘to being behind the wheel of a Ferrari or a Bugatti. Whenever you ask him to go, he just accelerates.’’
When Tetrick put his pedal to the metal in the stretch at Balmoral Park on Saturday night, his freaky-fast ‘‘sports car’’ left the field in the $150,000 American National 3-year-old male pace in his tracks. The five-cents-on-the-dollar favorite pushed his late-season winning streak to six with a widening 5¼-length victory over Lost For Words, the Little Brown Jug runner-up, in a stakes-record-tying 1:48Ï/ª time.
‘‘He’s just phenomenal,’’ Tetrick said. ‘‘Just like the people who own him, he’s a blue-collar horse who never gives anything less than 100 percent.
‘‘Once he got rolling, I really didn’t have to do much . . . he did it on his own.’’
Ranked third in the North American standardbred poll, Freaky Feet Pete completed his 2015 campaign on a memorable roll that included triumphs in the American National, the Breeders Crown and two victories on his home track, Hoosier Park, against Wiggle It Jiggle It, the No. 1 harness horse in North America.
‘‘He has been just incredible here late in the season,’’ said his ‘‘little guy’’ trainer, Larry Rheinheimer, who campaigned the Rockin Image colt in his home state until October. ‘‘Maybe he is fresher because we didn’t ship him all over the country. But we didn’t burn him out, either, and we are likely to have a racehorse again next season.’’
Freaky Feet Pete won for the 15th time in 17 starts (with two seconds) in 2015.
In other stakes on the last big night of racing at Balmoral, which will close in 2016:
– Multiple national Driver of the Year Tim Tetrick made his mark by driving back-to-back winners. Tetrick plotted a ‘‘perfect trip’’ for pocket-sitting Mystical Rock (1:52 1/5). the 3-to-10 betting choice, in a 1½-length victory in the $74,000 2-year-old male pace and then rewarded chalk players again by putting 10-cents-on-the-dollar favorite Devil Child into the winner’s circle in the $120,000 3-year-old filly pace. Devil Child prevailed by four lengths in an eye-catching 1:50 3/5 clocking.
– Jimmy Takter-trained The Bank (1:53 1/5) followed up on his Breeders Crown victory with a hard-fought 1¼-length score in the $204,000 3-year-old male pace. Also, late-season sensation Always B Miki (1:49 1/5), another Breeders Crown winner who is ranked eighth in the national poll, won the $136,500 aged pace in what could be the last time an American National stake is contested.
– Yannick Gingras, the leading money-earning driver in North America, steered 33-to-1 long shot You’re Magestic (1:54 1/5) to a victory in the $125,000 3-year-old filly pace.
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