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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Witch and the Wiggle

The promising pacers Witch Dali and Wiggle It Jiggleit are giving a much needed boost to their novice stallions, ten-year-old Dali and nine-year-old Mr Wiggles. Neither one has faced top stock so it’s not the sort of lift McWicked has given to McArdle or Sayitall Bb to Tell All, nonetheless it is significant.

The lightly raced four-year-old pacing mare, Witch Dali, who breezed to a win in the first leg of the Petticoat at Yonkers the other night for Tim Tetrick and Alagna Racing, previously won the Niagara final at Woodbine and the Worldly Beauty at the Meadowlands, and she was also second in the Burning Point final.

Dali is a son of Real Artist, who also produced Ginger And Fred, Kikikatie, Real Nice, Southwind Lynx and Whatanartist. Real Artist, who stands in Pennsylvania, was a flawless yearling who brought $100,000. Ligament issues plagued him throughout his brief career; he won just two of nine starts, one of them being the Wilson. His son Dali won nine times as a colt, capturing, among others, the Wilson, Niatross and Burlington Pace. Dali banked more than $1.4 million. He hasn’t raced regularly since 2010, although he did make one start in 2011 and two more in preferred company in Ontario last spring.

Witch Dali is from the Medio family, which has produced top notch pacing mares like Anndrovette, Put On A Show, My Little Dragon, Strike An Attitude and Elegantimage. Her third dam, Bruce’s Lady, is a full sister to Dragon’s Lair and Cole Muffler. And her dam, Whitesand Janice, earned $234,000.

Dali, who began his stallion career in Indiana, then relocated to Ontario, and is now back in the Hoosier state, has 136 foals on the ground, 60 of which have made some money. Only a couple of crops have raced to this point. Four-year-olds Weatherly, who raced in the Ontario Sire Stakes, and Blacktree, who earned $85,000 in the OSS and in overnights in Canada, at the Meadowlands and at Yonkers, are probably the best of the rest.

Putting aside a small test crop Dali bred in 2010, when he made 26 starts, this is his fifth year of stud duty. The side trip to Ontario probably hurt in the long run, as it worked against him developing an enduring presence in Indiana. Ideally he’ll be battling Always A Virgin and Rockin Image for some of that sire stakes money.

Wiggle It Jiggleit has only made a handful of starts; he won a Sonsam preliminary and the first two legs of the Gilmour. He’s been very impressive thus far. George Teague, who is no stranger to quality colts, has been effusive in his praise of the son of his stallion Mr Wiggles and has nominated him to the Meadowlands Pace and the North America Cup.

Mr Wiggles had one very good year, at three, when he won 8 of 23 starts and banked almost a millon dollars. He has only sired 21 horses and only one other, besides Wiggle It Jiggleit, has made any money--$648. On the other hand, there are only eight in the current three-year-old class, so the sample size is tiny.

Mr Wiggles is a son of the Western Hanover stallion, Badlands Hanover, who won 8 of his 14 starts at two, including the Breeders Crown, Niatross and Bluegrass. He became the sport’s fastest freshman when he broke Artsplace’s mark with a 1:50 mile. Unfortunately he didn’t go on at three, winning only one of 11 starts. Mr Wiggles’ 2015 freshman class is eligible to the Ohio Sire Stakes.

Wiggle It Jiggleit’s third dam is a half-sister to the dam of Steinam’s Place, a winner of $1.4 million and the dam of Put On A Show and Showherthemoney. And his second dam was a multiple stakes winner. He is, like Witch Dali, from the Medio family.

It’s always nice to see off-brand stallions experience success. The stars of the aged pacing mares division, like Anndrovette, are warming up in qualifiers, and the better three-year-olds won’t be far behind. The connections of Witch Dali and Wiggle It Jiggleit are likely to stay out of their way, but you never know.

Joe FitzGerald

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