As we tend to say every week, this edition of the Dan Patch FFA at Hoosier Park looks to be the best race of the year thus far. Not only do you have the big three (Always Be Miki, Freaky Feet Pete, and Wiggle It Jigglit), the trio is joined by US Pacing Championship winner Shamballa. The top four are also joined by 2015 Pepsi North America Cup winner Wakizashi Hanover, whose return to the races was delayed; All Bets Off who admittedly is a step below the main contenders but has been holding his own in the FFA class; Mel Mara whose last race in a Meadowlands Open was impressive considering the trip he had.
So with all the contenders, who is going to win? My initial pick would be Wiggle It Jiggleit who managed to come back late in the US Pacing Championship to finish second. Always Miki who finished fourth in the pacing championship needs to be considered after being cooked in the early portion of the race last week. Freaky Feet Pete, returning to his home base can't be totally thrown out of the equation. Can Shamballa get a trip again this week?
More importantly, the question to be asked is after battling each other week after week, have they inflicted heavy damage on each other due to the tough miles or are they like a Timex watch, they just keep on ticking?
Let's take a look at the field.
Friday (8/12) Hoosier Park
12th Pace - $325,000; The Dan Patch FFA
1 Wiggle It Jiggle It (Teague, 2-1) - Still has something left to come back in last. With rail will be tough to beet. Figure less than 2-1.
2 Freaky Feet Pete (Tr. Tetrick, 5-1) - Miles are starting to take toll and last race was a tough one. Not sure he can handle these tonight.
3 Wakizash Hanover (Dillander, 30-1) - Slowly rounding into form in Hoosier Invitationals May have a big one in him but it will require a trip to get there first.
4 All Bets Off (Macomber, 20-1) - Nice horse but I suspect these are too tough. Share at best.
5 Mel Mara (Callahan, 10-1) - Parked entire mile and moved three wide in last tilt to finish third in 2:5.4 final quarter. Don't count out with a trip.
6 Dealt A Winner (De Long, 20-1) - Took advantage to finish third in last. Don't expect the race to go the same; pass.
7 Shamballa (Zeron, 6-1) - Last victory was an upset. Will he be able to pull it off again? Don't rule this one out of it.
8 Luck Be Withyou (Goodell, 20-1) - Has been improving but not up to these. Tough spot.
9 Always B Miki (D. Miller, 8-5) - Roughed up in last. Expect less aggressive drive but still a threat even from here.
Selections: Though he draws the worst of it, Always B Miki is my choice here. I expect a less aggressive drive and if someone doesn't let Wiggle It Jiggleit get away with a cheap half, ABM will be coming in the later stanza of the race. WIJI is a tough one indeed as his last mile showed; holds on to second. If he gets any better trip here, Mel Mara takes the show spot but if the top two get roughed up, he may be the one to claim victory. Wakizashi Hanover having two trips over the oval is good enough to complete the superfecta. 9-1-5-3. Longshot play: #5 - Mel Mara.