Day At The Track

Epic stretch duel to capture Little Brown Jug

11:17 AM 25 Sep 2015 NZST
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Wiggle It Jiggleit
Wiggle It Jiggleit gets up in the final strides to win the Little Brown Jug.
USTA Mark Hall Photo
Wiggle It jiggleit

Delaware, OH --- There was no denying harness racing's newest super star Wiggle It Jiggleit.

Seemingly beaten in mid-stretch, Wiggle It Jiggleit and driver Montrell Teague fought back in the final strides to win Thursday’s (Sept. 24) $677,000 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers by a nose over Lost For Words in 1:49.3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

The closing moments of the Jug capped an epic duel between the event’s first-heat winners. Lost For Words, who got a quick lead and inside position in the decisive second heat, and Wiggle It Jiggleit raced side-by-side for nearly five-eighths of a mile in the one-mile race.

Lost For Words appeared to be on his way to victory as the horses came off the final turn, opening up by more than one length on Wiggle It Jiggleit, but Wiggle It Jiggleit dug in and nipped Lost For Words at the wire.

My Hero Ron finished third and Arque Hanover was fourth.

It was the first Little Brown Jug victory for “Team Teague,” which is owner George Teague Jr., his son Montrell, and trainer Clyde Francis. The 24-year-old Montrell became the second-youngest driver in history to win the Jug.

"I'm not nervous anymore, that's for sure," said Montrell Teague. "I don't know how he came back and beat the other horse. He raced so well, but like I said he is a tremendous animal. He's just special and does not want to lose. He just digs down deep within himself and always finds something more."

Wiggle It Jiggleit is a son of stallion Mr Wiggles out of the mare Mozzi Hanover. George Teague owns both horses and raced both horses during their careers on the track. Mr Wiggles won the 2009 Hoosier Cup and finished second in the Breeders Crown and Adios. He finished sixth in the 2009 Little Brown Jug.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly poll, has won 18 of 20 races this year and pushed his seasonal earnings to $1.76 million with his victory in the Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli’s.

Wiggle It Jiggleit's other victories this year include the Meadowlands Pace, Hempt Memorial, Battle of the Brandywine, and Milstein Memorial. He was not staked to the Little Brown Jug, but his victory in the Meadowlands Pace permitted his connections to pay $45,000 to supplement to the event. He became the first of five supplemental entries to win the Little Brown Jug since supplements were introduced in 1999.

Earlier in the day, Wiggle It Jiggleit defeated Artspeak with a sustained first-over battle in his first heat, stopping the clock in a track-record 1:49.2 for a 3-year-old gelding pacer.

In the second heat, Lost For Words and driver David Miller went to the front and led the field to the quarter in :27. My Hero Ron was second, followed by Wiggle It Jiggleit, but Montrell Teague made his move with Wiggle It Jiggleit as Lost For Words brought the group around the second turn.

From there, the race was on. Lost For Words and Wiggle It Jiggleit were matching strides when they hit the half in :54.1 and three-quarters in 1:21.1.

The battle continued around the final turn, setting the stage for the dramatic finish."

"I thought he was beat," said George Teague. "I even dropped my eyes down because I didn't want to watch anymore, but then I was told he was coming back. I still cannot believe he won today.

"I've trained a lot of horses but I have never seen one like him. He is actually much better with a target and why we have always wanted to race him from off the pace. It's like he thrives on it.

"We will take him to Hoosier next. They actually wanted us to come there this weekend but this was the one I really wanted to win. He's an Indiana bred and they have been so nice about wanting us to come there. Now that he has done this it's time to go back."

Only seven horses participated in the Little Brown Jug second heat after Split The House, who finished fourth in his first-round elimination, was scratched.

-- Kimberly French contributed to this report

by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

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