July 15, 2011
In addition to a shout-out in a new Lil Wayne song, his own YouTube reality show and enough awards to fill several mantles by himself, ex-BYU star Jimmer Fredette has received one more accolade as a result of his brilliant senior season.
Now he has a 2-year-old colt named after him.
Jimmer the horse received his unusual name as a result of a connection between WinStar Farm CEO Elliott Walden and Pat Hammel, the wife of Fredette's former basketball coach at Glens Falls High in N.Y.
Since Walden is always in search of clever names for his horses, Hammel suggested via email during the height of Jimmermania this winter that he name one of them "Fredette About It." Walden wasn't crazy about that name, but he liked the idea of naming a horse after the BYU star. As a result, he chose "Jimmer" instead.
"When we started telling people, everybody loved it," said Hammel, who works on the barn staff for one of WinStar's top trainers. "Everyone found me at the track and asked me about it. It's very funny that people are taking such great interest. I guess it adds a little bit of excitement."
Among those most excited about the horse is Fredette himself. The Sacramento Kings first-round draft pick has yet to have a chance to meet his namesake in person, but he regularly texts back and forth with Hammel's husband, Tony, for updates on how the horse's training is going.
Whether Jimmer the horse will have as brilliant a career as Jimmer the basketball player is still unclear at this point. The colt had been training at the WinStar farm in Kentucky until a recent move to Saratoga, where he will continue training until he's in good enough shape that his owners decide it's time to select a race for him to make his debut.
Hammel refrained from offering a prediction for how Jimmer will fare, but she admits she sees some similarities between the horse and the basketball star.
"He reminds me a lot of Jimmer," she said with a chuckle. "You look at him and you're not 100 percent sure he's an athlete, but hopefully he'll prove us all wrong like Jimmer did."