In the world of harness racing, there are a lot of popular names, whether it is horses, trainers or drivers, yet there are very few that are household names, such as Tim Tetrick. We all know about his accolades, Tim has amassed quite the resume since he began driving, but what was Tim like as a teenager? When did he start driving? “I raced in a matinee when I was 14 years, then I couldn’t race again until I was 16 at the County Fair, (Illinois). Racing for money? I was 16 years old” It is no wonder.
Tim set such a dominant mark of total wins per season in the past several years. “I won my first race when I was 16; the horses’ name was Travel’N Legacy”. No one ever forgets their first. Since then Tim has been on a tear, breaking records year after year, in most wins, purse totals, youngest driver to achieve such feats, it’s endless. As with any successful athlete, if you don’t put in the time and effort, you will not see the rewards.
Look at Tim’s 2007 season, what he describes as a ‘‘magical’’ season. Then 2008 season came and went and Tim was atop the leader board in numerous categories. 2009 through to 2013 Tim has remained a consistent, dominant and down to earth.
For all of Tim’s success and time in the spotlight, he remains a humble person. Tim gives credit to his father for showing Tim the path to success. “My grandfather started owning horses when my dad was a kid. My dad, (Tom Tetrick), went over 1,000 wins driving and I have been fortunate to learn from him.” When fans spend time at a track where Tim is driving, they can be sure if they meet Tim, he would not hesitate to provide an autograph or two. That’s Tim’s nature, easy going, as though he’s savoring every moment of life.
Being a top flight driver also has it challenges. Tim has raced at over 45 race tracks in the USA, including Mohawk which is located in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. With a grueling schedule going from one track to another, any driver would has his preference of racetrack. So I asked, what are your top five tracks, Tim’s response, “Meadowlands (NJ), Lexington (KY), Pocono (PA), Mohawk (CAN), and Harris Chester (PA).”
Tim’s most memorable race to date that he has won, “The Hambletonian, it’s the premier event, the super bowl of harness racing. It’s so hard to get to, I was fortunate to get to it and win it with an underdog horse, Market Share. There were great connections involved.” Looking back at the 2012
Hambletonian, Market Share and Tetrick made the move off the rail around 5/8 mark. Coming down the lane, it appeared Market Share might not reach the finish first as the two horses on the outside were coming hard and fast, never in doubt Tim believed in his horse and kept Market Share on task and delivered the win. Trainer Linda Tuscano deserves just as much credit; her barn did a swell job keeping Market Share fit.
In retrospect, what are Tim’s favorite horses he’s driven over the years and we know there have been a ton to choose from, “it would be Buck I St Pat, Captaintreacherous, and Southwind Tempo.” says Tim. Three hall of fame horses with world class resumes. Buck I St Pat earned $2,320,637 lifetime, including 10 top flight wins. Captaintreacherous earned over $2,000,000 this year as a three year old and has an extremely bright future. Southwind Tempo retired in 2010 winning $2,300,000 and winning a Dan Patch award as a three year old pacing filly.
So, off the track and away from the rush of driving standardbred horses I asked Tim what he does to relax and unwind. Does he have a man cave to retreat to? Yes and no I would say. His man cave is not a basement or specially designed room, rather it is a 12 acre farm where he kicks back spending time with his family. With all of his achievements to date, after speaking with Tim, he gives the impression that quality family time is vital.
“Hanging out with my family, be at home, I got a little 12 acre farm in south Jersey where I like to work on that. Just getting away from the hustle and bustle…. Taking time to relax, there is a hot tub, so I do like enjoying the hot tub.” At the farm Tim has some riding horses, and Tim also keeps his race horses there if the need time to relax, caring for the horses like family.
We all build bonds, and Tim shares he has a good bond with some trainers. “Linda Tuscano, she does a great job and she is a really good friend.” Linda is the trainer of Market Share, 2012 Hambletonian winner. He also considers Tony Alagna a ‘‘really great guy’’.
What is Tim looking forward to in 2014, aside from best of health and luck, (which we all wish him)? “There’s always horses that are going to surprise you and break through, looking back at 2013 and at what Father Patrick did as the top 2 year old trotting colt Jimmy Takter has (Jimmy Takter is Father Patrick’s trainer), who knows how good he can be in 2014. He has the potential to be a superstar. Well, he already is but he can be a major superstar next year. There is a good bunch of colts that have some talent… Jimmy Takter has a good barn full of dominant 2 year old colts that are going to be three. There are always some horses that don’t do much as 2 year old yet jump out when they are 3. I am really excited to see what Father Patrick can do this year. He’s probably going to be the 2014 Hambletonian favorite. He’s a really nice horse. He went undefeated this year. Father Patrick, he’s a player, he’s a superstar readying to be great. I don’t even drive him, but he is going to be cool to watch.” As for what 2014 holds for Tim, he takes it one step at a time. Not getting ahead of him, you can say pacing things out. “Hopefully I can turn out some great horses for next year, see if people want my services for the 2014 season and find a few more divisional champions like I have been lucky to do the last few years. Captaintreacherous coming back older, bigger and stronger, it can be an interesting 2014.”
Tim is looking forward to travelling to Canada in 2014, “There are some really good races, the North America Cup, the Canadian Trotting Classic. I love being there.”
Being as successful as Tim has been, one would think he has it all figured out, but that’s not the case at all. Tim states “I always try to learn, watch other people, I am never to proud of myself not to learn from my mistakes and other people. Anything I can do to help owners. There’s always new and good talent coming up and you need to learn as much as you can to stay active.”
One piece of advice Tim offers young drivers or anyone looking to get into the game is “Don’t do anything you’re not supposed to and you will be fine.” Sounds like sound advice, as in any sport or life; if you cut corners you are not doing it right.
By: Roderick Balgobin