The much-hoped-for battle between Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggle It Jiggleit never materialized as Montrell Teague took full advantage of the rail to pilot Wiggle It Jiggleit to an easy 1:49.4 victory Saturday in Northfield Park’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie
by Bob Roberts
In pre-race interviews, Wiggle It Jiggleit’s owner George Teague said he wished Freaky Feet Pete wasn’t in Saturday night’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie.
Perhaps Teague should save his wishes for more difficult assignments.
Making the most of starting from the rail post, Wiggle It Jiggleit, the 2015 Horse of the Year and winner of the Little Brown Jug, went gate-to-wire to post an easy four-and-a-quarter-length victory over longshot All Bets Off. Freaky Feet Pete, after a brief challenge leaving the half-mile pole, faded to third, another one-and-a-half lengths behind the runner-up.
Luck Be Without was fourth, followed by Santa Fe Beachboy, Foiled Again, Roland N Rock, and Ideal Cowboy.
Wiggle It Jiggleit, winning for the fifth time in eight starts this year, was timed in 1:49.4.
The victory was so easy that as he approached the finish line, driver Montrell Teague turned his head towards the winner’s circle and smiled broadly.
“At the half, I looked over and saw Freaky Feet Pete and knew it was going to be a war,” said Montrell.
The war was a short one. Soon after straightening out on the backstretch, Wiggle It Jiggleit, full of pace after a snail-like opening quarter of 28 seconds and a half in :55.4 seconds, gradually pulled away from Freaky Feet Pete.
Contributing to the soft opening quarter was Ideal Cowboy, pacing out of the No. 2 post, who broke stride before the start.
“I thought we would go fast early because my horse was ready to roll,” said Teague. “I had a hard time holding him. But even if we had (gone faster), he was fine.”
Wiggle It Jiggleit was ready for more racing after pulling up. He was so frisky entering the winner’s circle that he was in and out of it in a matter of seconds.
“He was better tonight than he was last week (second in the Confederation Cup), and last week he was better than the week before” said owner George Teague. “He was fighting a sore foot and a bit of sickness, but he has raced through it.”
The loss for Freaky Feet Pete ended his nine-race winning streak that dated back to Oct. 3.
World record appetizer
Earlier on the Battle of Lake Erie card, Muscle Up The Goal went gate-to-wire to win the open trot in world and track record time. His 1: 52.3 clocking broke the world record for a four-year-old trotter on a half-mile track by a full second. The standard was set last year by Credit Fashion at Northfield. Muscle Up The Goal also crushed Northfield’s overall trot record time of 1:53.2, set by Daylon Magician and Victory Is Coming last year on the same race card.
Racing for owners Synerco Ventures Inc and trainer Christopher Beaver and driven by Aaron Merriman, Muscle Up The Goal won off by three-and-a-half lengths Saturday night. The victory was his second in as many 2016 starts. Muscle Up The Goal began the season by capturing the open trot on the five-eighths oval at Scioto Downs in the same time as his Northfield score.