Fredette's namesake wins racing debut
Jimmer, the horse, is having a better rookie season than Jimmer, the basketball player.
Jimmer, a 3-year-old colt named after Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette, won his career debut Saturday at Oaklawn Park. The victory came on the human Jimmer's 23rd birthday, and hunch bettors were rewarded with a payoff of $21.40 on a $2 win bet.
The equine Jimmer was named last year, when Fredette was the college basketball player of the year while averaging 28.9 points a game for Brigham Young University. But it wasn't mere Jimmer-mania that prompted the name.
The Albany Times-Union provided the backstory on the Jimmer-Jimmer connection before the horse's debut run. Fredette attended Glens Falls High School in upstate New York, and Tony Hammel was his basketball coach. Hammel's wife, Pat, is a hotwalker for trainer Bill Mott, who counts WinStar Farm among his ownership clients. Mott suggested to WinStar CEO Elliott Walden that they name a horse after Fredette.
That horse is now Jimmer, a son of Elusive Quality and Lucette. He did not race as a 2-year-old because of shin problems and was sent to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., to train for Shannon Ritter.
Ritter made the right calls in preparing Jimmer, because the colt was race-ready Saturday. Jimmer shook off an early bump and rallied between horses in the stretch to win a $46,000 maiden race, finishing 1-1/2 lengths ahead of Sark. Jimmer ran six furlongs in 1 minute, 11.5 seconds.
Fredette, the No. 10 pick of the NBA draft last summer, is averaging eight points a game and has made only six starts in his rookie season.