Big Jim looking for big payday

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

CAMPBELLVILLE — Sometimes there is an art to naming a racehorse. And sometimes life imitates that art.

Meet Big Jim the pacer and his Hamilton owner Jim Carr who both are living extra large heading into Saturday’s $1 million Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack.

A winner of three of his five lifetime starts, Big Jim can reward his owner with a massive $500,000 prize in the sport’s richest two-year-old race. Big Jim is the 5-2 morning line favourite for trainer James (Friday) Dean and driver Phil Hudon in a race that has yielded some significant champions in recent years.

“We’re both big, we both like to eat and we both like our rest,” Carr said this week in advance of what would be his biggest payday in the sport.

Has charisma

“He definitely has a lot of charisma and is good with people.”

He’ll need to be better than good on the track in the Metro. His biggest threat is expected to come from Prodigal Seelster, the 3-1 second choice in the morning line, a colt that based on his recent form, could go off as the post-time favourite.

Trained by another Ontario horseman, Dave Menary for an ownership group that includes his father Larry, the son of Camluck has won four of his six lifetime starts including the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway. Even more impressive was his win in a Metro elimination last week when he paced his mile in 1:50.

Like anything in racing, the Metro has lost some of its broad appeal in recent years. In part it could be because the race’s permanent home is now at Mohawk Raceway, though that is a weak argument. The Campbellville track is a far more engaging spot to catch the standardbreds than Woodbine ever was.

More likely, any indifference is tied to a downturn in interest in racing in general and the standardbred product specifically. There will be little evidence of such a slowdown on Saturday night, however, in what is nothing short of a spectacular card of racing.

The Metro will be the richest test on a 13-race card that also includes the $780,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older male pacers and the $688,000 Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old filly pacers.

Despite such a worthy supporting class, Carr is hoping Big Jim will be the star of the show. Recognizing that his sport could use a boost in popularity, he has issued an open invitation to any children at the track to show up in the winner’s circle to get their picture with the champ should the big horse prevail.

Big Jim is looking to follow in the hoofprints of recent Metro champions who have gone on to varying degrees of fame and massive fortune. Both Somebeachsomewhere and Sportswriter have parlayed Metro victories as a two-year-old into triumph in the North America Cup as three-year-olds.

As a result, Carr is suddenly one of the most popular owners in the business as big offers for Big Jim to roll in.

“You only get a chance to get a horse like this once in a lifetime.,” Carr said. “I think people realize that the colt is not for sale.”


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