04/18/2013 4:12PM

Freeman, trainer of Shuvee, dies at age 84


Willard C. “Mike” Freeman, trainer of Hall of Famer Shuvee, died Wednesday at a nursing home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after long illness, according to the manager of the South Carolina farm he owned with his wife. Freeman was 84.

“He was a great man, salt of the earth,” Bernadette Clayton said. “He was very, very dear to me.”

A steeplechase rider early in his life, Freeman began officially training in the mid-1960s at the request of Alfred Vanderbilt. Shortly into his career, he received Shuvee, owned by Mrs. Whitney Stone, and the filly immediately made an impact, winning the so-called “Triple Tiara” of New York stakes races for 3-year-old fillies in 1969.

Shuvee went on to win two consecutive runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, in 1970 and 1971. The 1970 victory was the first for a filly in the race for older horses. She was named champion older female horse in both years.

After retiring, Freeman opened Chime Bell Farm, a lay-up, training, and boarding facility in Aiken, S.C., with his wife Iris. He split his time between Saratoga Springs and Aiken.

Ron Simpson More than 1 year ago
Mike Freeman was a true gentleman who indulged this outsiders frequent visits to his Aiken racing stable. So many foolish questions answered with such grace and good humor. He was a credit to his profession. Mike was an open and caring man whose friendship greatly enriched my life. My condolences to his family. RIP old friend.
clifton wood More than 1 year ago
thanks mike I will miss you
Van Cushny More than 1 year ago
I worked for Mike Freeman as a young kid during winter and spring vacations in Aiken, SC and during summer vacations at Aqueduct and Saratoga. He always had a job for me whether he needed the help or not. Mr. Freeman was the epitomy of class, and a little bit of his class rubbed off on everyone who worked for him. May he rest in peace.
Geno More than 1 year ago
Never met a finer gentleman in horse racing. His kind and modest nature belied his professional ability to select, train and manage a Thoroughbred athlete. He was the best.
Chris Palmer More than 1 year ago
My grandfather worked for this man over 30 years ago. He was a pure horseman, quiet and just went about his job everyday without incident. He will be missed. Now Mr. Freeman and my grandfather can chat about some horses together. God Bless
walesfoodmusic More than 1 year ago
the Dean