Yesterday in Delaware, Ohio 46,721 fans saw what some are labeling the best Jug in the 70 year history of the race. That’s up for debate, although while some cling to the 1993 edition in which Life Sign, Riyadh and Presidential Ball duked it out, it’s not easy to argue against Wiggle It Jiggleit’s triumph; he was at the throat of leader Lost For Words much of the mile and snatched victory from what appeared to be sure defeat at the top of the stretch. He won his elimination in 1:49.2 and the final in one tick more. The former equaled the stakes record and set a track record for sophomore geldings.
The last couple of Jugs have been won by sons of SBSW and Bettor’s Delight. This is the norm; this is what is expected. Wiggle is one of eight registered foals from the first tiny crop of the Badlands Hanover stallion Mr Wiggles. The latter moved to Ohio in 2012, where he produced 11 registered foals. Then he moved on to Delaware. There were only two of them in 2013. Mr Wiggles is the most obscure, under- utilized stallion to ever sire a Jug winner.
Wiggle had been off a month—since winning the Battle Of Brandywine at Pocono on August 22—so his earnings lead over Pinkman on the all horse money list had dwindled to less than a thousand dollars. But with yesterday’s win his lead is back up to more than $282,000. The most highly decorated trotter of 2015 has wins in the Hambletonian, CTC, Dancer and Beal—plenty to guarantee HOY honors most years. However, regardless of what Pinkman does in the Kentucky Futurity and the BC, it’s hard to imagine him wrestling top honors from Wiggle.
Second place finisher Lost For Words is fifth in his division in dollars, behind Wiggle, Waki, Dude’s The Man and Artspeak. Although he has five wins, none are of the high profile open variety. He’s been very good in the PASS. The son of Well Said has made the board in 12 of 13 2015 starts. He isn’t staked to the Tattersalls Pace, but he is eligible to the Bluegrass, BC and Monument Circle, all in October.
Mr Right Hanover, a freshman SBSW colt, won the first split of the Standardbred wire to wire in 1:53.4 at 1/5 for Brian Brown, who purchased him at Harness Breeders for $40,000. Dave Palone drove. It was his 47th win at Delaware.
Brown came back two races later with another $40,000 buy from the same sale, Spider Man Hanover, who seemed to sleep-pace to a world record 1:51.4 in the second split of the Standardbred for Dave Miller. This colt was favored in the $350,000 PASS final, but his paternal brother Ideal Jimmy beat him. And Ideal Jimmy was a beaten 1/9 favorite in a split of the Liberty Bell at Harrah’s yesterday afternoon by a third Western Ideal colt, JJ Flynn, driven by George Nap. The Western Ideals are thriving in Pennsylvania. It’s like they got out of prison—New Jersey. Artspeak is also by Western ideal.
French Laundry, who had only managed to eke out three wins this year represented the trotters with a dominant win in The Old Oaken Bucket. Gingras backed the second quarter down to 29.2 and that was that. Still, he managed to set a world record of 1:54.1 for a sophomore trotting colt over a half—stripping Archangel of that record in the process. The son of Muscles Yankee paid a generous $3.80. Speaking of Muscles, he has only seven yearlings to sell from his one-year stint in Pennsylvania. Four of them are available at the Lexington sale.
In the other high profile trot on the Jug card, the seven-year-old Windsong’s Legacy mare, Bax Of Life, came from off to win the $100,000 Miss V final at 32/1 for Gingras. Last year’s winner Classic Martine made the mile, backing down the middle half. There was no obvious excuse for her second place finish.
It’s a shame that Gary Seibel and Dave Brower, who did a very good job on the CBS broadcast of the Jug, spend most of their time in what is now harness racing Siberia—California. Heather and Justin were also good.
It never seems to work out the way we expect it to, but if Wiggle, Miki, Waki and Pete move into the aged ranks next year, they will lord it over most of the pretenders and raced out horses that make up this year’s FFA division. Always B Miki won his Red Mile qualifier by ten in 48.2 this morning. That equaled Shark Gesture’s world record for a qualifier set in June of 2010. Warrawee Needy Q in 49.2 in the spring of his sophomore season, which set a Canadian record. Not sure if that mark has been eclipsed.
Delaware invader Purrfect Bags, who won the Lismore and the Lady Maud, has been accorded the 2/1 favorites role in tonight’s F&M pace at Hoosier Park. Tim Tetrick drives. BAM is the 8/5 choice in the Centaur, from the 9 post for David Miller tomorrow. Last year’s winner, Master Of Law, is the lukewarm second choice from the ten for Brett Miller. Hometown hero Natural Herbie is 8/1.
Headed into the Lexington meet Gingras is more than a million dollars up on second place Tim Tetrick. George Nap is only 15 wins back of second place Ronnie Wrenn Jr in the dash contest, but he’s $2.1 million ahead of Wrenn in the money race.
Krispy Apple moved over to Pocono Downs today for the F&M open. It only goes for 30K, as opposed to 48K at Yonkers, where she raced in eight of her last nine starts. However she did draw the six: KA has been handicapped with the 7 or 8 in 7 of her last 8 starts at the NY half miler. She overcame it all, winning five of those races and finishing second twice. She’s number four in her division with $277,000 in 2015. That’s more than Foiled Again has earned. Alas, moving in to the 6 post didn’t get the job done as the Well Said mare Lucy’s Pearl caught up to the 1/5 shot.