Jim Brinson, or 'Trey' as he is known by his friends, was just 12 when he experienced harness racing for the first time. Prior to that he used to ride horses for fun. 'I'll never forget the day my step-father bought a standardbred. I fell in love with the sport there and then.
Even way back then I knew I wanted to be involved in the sport when I left school,” Brinson told Harnesslink.
The horse that changed Brinson’s life was Satanic mare, Evil or Not. She won 13 races and did most of her racing at Fayetteville and Philadelphia.
Brinson was born and educated in Terry, Mississippi. When he left school he went and helped Derrick Anderson work his team of 17 where they used to race at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, Illinois.
That was in the spring of 2000 – the same venue, where a year earlier, Brinson got his first taste of pari-mutual racing. It was also the year Brinson drove his first three winners.
Since then he’s won 48 races and $102,130, but Brinson will be the first to tell you he gets his greatest satisfaction training – especially breaking in and working 2 and 3-year-olds.
“The young ones give me my biggest thrill. I really enjoy seeing them progress from babies into quality racehorses. I’ve been involved with some good ones over the years – and none better than Corleone Kosmos (1:51.2),” 32-year-old Brinson said.
That SJs Photo mare won 24 of her 77 starts and $2.1 million including the 2008 Breeder’s Crown and the 2008 Maple Leaf.
Brinson worked for her trainer Ross Croghan in New Jersey, one of several prominent horsemen he has worked for since going in boots and all into harness racing.
Others include Bobby Stewart, Buzz Sholty, and Doug Miller and Steve Elliott – last winter.
And although he prefers to work in the big stables Brinson has still registered 51 winners ($163,515) of his own.
He also rated Badlands Hanover pacer Tug River Princess (1;49.3 – 28 wins and $1.8m); Garland Lobell trotting mare, Cameron Hall (1:53.4 – 19 wins and $2.1m); and Muscles Yankee trotter One Tough Lass (1:52.4 – eight wins and $326,397) as other quality standardbreds he had help develop.
In April Terry based Brinson said he might venture to Balmoral Park in Illinois.
“I wouldn’t mind buying a couple of horses and see if I can develop them on the side. I’d like to drive them as well,” he said.
Brinson has been taking babies to compete in Florida since 2005 and will continue to develop youngsters for both himself and other horsemen because that’s where his heart his.
“I can’t tell you enough how much I love working with yearlings and young racehorses.”
Brinson currently works for trainer Robin Schadt at the ‘Odds On Racing Stable’ in Illinois. Not surprisingly he’s breaking in babies and training 2 and 3-year-olds at the Illinois barn.
“I love working with and learning from other trainers. I have no regrets about the career move I made when I was young. I love horses. One day I would like to work in Sweden and New Zealand.
“I never want to stop learning and winning,” Brinson said.
Brinson is not married but has a girlfriend named Christie Shofner.
When he’s not with Christie or his family he loves to play poker.
“I’m a huge poker fan and my aim is to compete in the World Series next summer. That has always been a long-time goal of mine,” Brinson said.