11/05/2015 10:09AM

Giwner: Trace Tetrick is staying put at Hoosier, for now

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Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick have been a great team in 2015.

Freaky Feet Pete has won an incredible 23 times in 26 starts and the best seat in the house during those races has belonged to driver Trace Tetrick. The dynamic pair hooks up again on Saturday night at Balmoral Park in the $150,000 American National for 3-year-old male pacers.

The accompaniment of Freaky Feet Pete has been the highlight of another rock-solid year for Tetrick, who ranks 11th in wins (380 through 11/3) and 20th in earnings ($4,502,371) nationally. His win total is made even more impressive when you notice he has fewer starts than all but one of the 10 drivers in front of him on the leaderboard.

Statistically, Tetrick has been as reliable as the morning sun with nine consecutive years of at least 250 wins and five straight with at least 320 tallies. Horses steered by the 29-year-old have earned at least $4 million in four of the last five years (he came in just short at $3.79 million in 2013).

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights every Saturday night. American Nationals from Balmoral highlight this week--Starts at 7:00 p.m.]

With three quarters of his more than 2,000 starts coming at Hoosier this year, Tetrick is very comfortable in Indiana, but he also sees the big picture and pay hike that comes with driving on the east coast like his brother Tim, whose horses typically earn two to three times as much money.

“I like Hoosier Park. It is good racing there and they go for good money. Its fun and I do well there. I like my job,” said Tetrick, pointing out the positives of racing almost exclusively at Hoosier. “I talk to Tim (brother) and it’s always a hustle out east; hustle, hustle, hustle. Right now where I’m at I can have two days off and work five-days a week. Kind of like the 9 to 5 but it’s not. I get to enjoy it right now. Yes, I do want to make that step out east because that’s where you get the Grand Circuit horses and I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the one track and have two Breeders Crown horses. But if you want to drive good horses on the Grand Circuit, you have to be on the east coast and I understand that. One day I’ll make that move, but I’m happy in the position I’m in right now.”

In addition to ability, success on the Grand Circuit requires some level of name recognition amongst the harness universe. Tetrick seems to be gaining momentum in this area and that can only be helped if Freaky Feet Pete maintains a strong Grand Circuit presence as a 4-year-old.

“You always have to have the first horse before you can get the second drive,” said Tetrick about what Freaky Feet Pete can do for his career. “I have been fortunate to get the opportunity to drive this one, Freaky, and Color’s A Virgin last year; two Indiana breds. It’s been an honor to be part of the show.”

Freaky Feet Pete will seek win no. 15 on the year in the fifth race on a stakes-filled Saturday Balmoral program. Tetrick will start from post two with the son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori while facing a group that figures to be mostly overmatched versus the talented Larry Rheinheimer trainee. My Hero Ron and Lost For Words, third and fourth behind Freaky in last week’s Monument Circle, are the closest competitors.