Owner George Teague Jr. has been as far north as Quebec, Canada, and as far west as Indiana with 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, but as rewarding as those trips have been, there’s no place like home.
Team Teague and harness racing superstar Wiggle It Jiggleit have traveled to 12 different racetracks this year, six different states and two Canadian provinces, but will now have a race close to their Harrington, Del. home on Monday September 19th for the 10th Annual $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial. The Teague farm is located about 5 miles from Harrington Raceway. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by long time Teague associate, Clyde Francis.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Teague, who will have two 2-year-old fillies racing on the same card in the opening round of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund (DSBF) action. “It’s funny because we’ve raced all over and one of the most memorable moments is when we raced at Harrington last year and had as much fun winning an $11,000 race as we did the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace. It’s great to bring this kind of horse in front of your home crowd.”
Teague was alluding to his star pacer’s world and track record setting 1:49 performance at Harrington on May 11, 2015. A large contingent of fans showed up to watch him race in anticipation of seeing a rising star. At the time, Wiggle It Jiggleit had won six races. To say that his star has risen since then, would be a gross understatement. He now has 35 wins in 47 lifetime starts, won many of the sport’s top races and has banked more than $3.5 million in his career, while captivating racing fans across the country with some breathtaking performances. Perhaps no win was bigger than his epic win in the Little Brown Jug at Delaware, Ohio.
Wiggle It Jiggleit’s sire, Mr. Wiggles, who was also in the George Teague Jr. stable, finished fourth in his Quillen elimination in 2010 before being scratched due to sickness from the final.
“He has definitely done his sire proud,” said Teague, who conditioned Mr. Wiggles and still owns the sire. “This race is very important to us.”
Wiggle It Jiggleit’s last race was a second place finish in the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs (Ohio) in a world record mile of 1:47. “Wiggle” did the heavy lifting throughout the mile after setting a grueling pace while dueling with eventual winner Always B Miki, who won a memorable stretch battle that left many horse racing fans speechless.
“He came out of the race really good,” said trainer Clyde Francis. “He always amazes me how well he recovers after a race. It’s unbelievable how well he jogged and how fresh he is. We couldn’t be happier with how well he is coming into the race.”
Teague said he has received an abundance of feedback in regards to his upcoming race in his hometown.
“A lot of people have contacted me about him racing here,” he said. “Not just in Delaware, but in New Jersey, Maryland and other nearby states.”
While Wiggle It Jiggleit (7/5, Montrell Teague) figures to be a well-backed favorite at post time, the path to victory isn’t a foregone conclusion, given the rich field of pacers that has amassed in excess of $8 million in career earnings.
“Having the rail on a half-mile racetrack is always the ideal place,” he said. “The draw definitely worked to our advantage. There’s some really nice horses in there. Luckbewithyou, Rockin Ron, Mach It So, Mel Mara and others have been racing against some of the best year round. Hats off to Harrington Raceway for getting such a great field of horses. My horse will have to be on his game.”
Among the competition is Bamond Racing’s Mach It So (9/1, Tim Tetrick) won the 2015 edition of the Quillen and enters off an impressive 1:51.2 win at Yonkers Raceway (NY).
“We had a great time last year,” said trainer Jeff Bamond. “Everyone treated us great. (Mach It So) kind of tailed off a little bit but he seems to be going back in the right direction. We were very pleased with his last race at Yonkers.”
John Craig’s Luckbewithyou (5/2, Eric Goodell) was a game third place finisher in the aforementioned 1:47 mile on September 10 at Scioto Downs. The Western Ideal 5-year-old has been in many stakes engagements this year and has banked nearly $1.3 million in his career.
“I thought he raced very good at Scioto,” said trainer Chris Oakes. “I was real happy with him. He came out of the race good but we might have a tough time with the 1 horse there (Wiggle It Jiggleit).”
Burke Racing, Weaver Brucsemi and RTC Stables’ Rockin Ron (20/1, Yannick Gingras) sprung a 14-to-1 upset against Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Prix D Ete at Three Rivers Raceway in Quebec (Ontario) on August 21 for perennial leading trainer Ron Burke. The powerhouse Burke stable is tops in North America with 629 wins and nearly $15 million in purse earnings this year.
Only Robert Cooper Stables and J&T Silva’s Mel Mara (6/1, Corey Callahan) has a win at Harrington this year and it came last week with a track record setting 1:50.1 performance. Mel Mara is trained locally by Dylan Davis of Viola, Del.
Lauretta Galm’s Keystone Velocity (25/1, Andrew McCarthy) is also locally-trained by Mike Hall of Dagsboro, Del., and is coming off a career best 1:48.4 at Pocono Downs (PA).
Lightning Stable’s Mcardles Lightning (12/1, David Miller) has been a heavy hitter among Open pacers in New York and New Jersey while Rock and Roll Stable’s American Primetime (12/1, Tony Morgan) has been a well-traveled adversary throughout the year and took a lifetime best at the Meadowlands of 1:49.
Post time for the 13-race program is 5 p.m. The field is listed below in order by post position:
10th Race – Harrington Raceway September 19, 2016
1 – Wiggle It Jiggleit (7/5, Montrell Teague)
2 – Mcardles Lightning (12/1, David Miller)
3 – Mach It So (9/1, Tim Tetrick)
4 – Luckbewithyou (5/2, Eric Goodell)
5 – American Primetime (12/1, Tony Morgan)
6 – Rockin Ron (20/1, Yannick Gingras)
7 – Keystone Velocity (25/1, Andrew McCarthy)
8 – Mel Mara (6/1, Corey Callahan)