Wiggle It Jiggleit and his connections have made a new claim for the top spot in the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Poll last night (8/12) by defeating rivals Alway B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete, and Shamballa in the 23rd edition of the Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. The four year old pacer won the race in 1:49.1 over the Hoosier Park oval.
Unlike the hardball early in the US Pacing Championship, Montrell Teague took WIJI to the front and let Always Be Miki take the lead past the quarter without trying to sting him. This was basically all it took as WIJI sat in the pocket, allowing Freaky Feet Pete launch a failed challenge to Miki. Being in the pocket at the top of the stretch, WIJI took advantage of the passing lane late to win the race by an opening length over Always Be Miki at the wire with All Bets Off and Shamballa dead-heating for third. Freaky Feet Pete tired in the stretch to finish a well-beaten sixth
The fact is from the rail, it is very hard to beat WIJI as he has the ability to race on or off the pace. He goes next to Hippodrome 3R for the Prix D'Ete on August 21 to compete against his fellow four year olds.
Video courtesy of Hoosier Park (via YouTube)
After watching the post race interviews, it reminds me what great spokespeople Montrell and George Teague are for the sport. Both of them are comfortable being interviewed, something not everyone is. Of course, when you have horses like Rainbow Blue and WIJI, you better get used to being interviewed. Here's hoping there are many more good ones in their future.
Meanwhile over on the other side of the pond, it's Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway in Ireland and it is a full weekend of racing starting with eleven races on Saturday, featuring eliminations for the Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) and its companion filly stake. The race has drawn guest drivers Dexter Dunn and America's own Aaron Merriman.
The VDM is a two-day affair as elimination winners return tomorrow for the finals, racing for a purse of €10,000, the largest purses for harness racing in Ireland and the UK. Racing two days in a row is tough on two year olds, but with racing meets being scheduled a lot different than over here in North America (seldom do you race more than two days in a row at the same track), it can't be helped. It is interesting to note both the colts and fillies are racing for the same amount; something North American's should learn.
Lo and behold, I thought my fascination with Share The Delight was satisfied but on today's card, there are two STD's racing, IB Coyote who is racing in the second elimination of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Filly Stake who has secured the services of New Zealand's own Dunn and Brywn's Magician in the opening race on the program who has American Merriman in the bike. It will be interesting to see how the two do.
Looking at the program, these horsemen love racing as overnights tend to have purses of €1,000 with an entry fee of €60. Races are of various distance though on this particular day, the races are either a mile or a mile and a half which being Portmarnock is a 1/2 mile oval makes sense.
Know how in North America, horsemen hate the second tier? Well, they race four across so in these races four get the gate with the remaining horses in row two or even three; this is in stakes as well as overnight events. And yes, they use a classification system for their racing; something which drives many trainers nuts on this side of the Atlantic.
Tonight Pure County once again takes on the boys in the Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park. This filly just keeps on going up against the boys. Clearly the best three year old filly, here's hoping knocking heads against the boys week in, week out doesn't sour her.
Hope you have a great weekend. Stay cool.