There is no doubt tonight’s Ben Franklin at Mohegan Sun Pocono is the most eagerly-anticipated race in a long, long time. Prior matchups between this year’s top older pacers were one-on-one, but tonight we have three of the absolute best in their category at this level with $500,000 on the line
I cannot wait.
As far as this being the best race ever, that is always done in retrospect, in the rear view mirror.
Let’s hope this one lives up to the billing. Now, some notes on the big three:
Always B Miki
• Joe Hurley (Roll The Dice Stable) bred him and his sire Always A Virgin.
• Always B Miki’s trainer, Jimmy Takter, together with Ron Burke, condition half of the Ben Franklin field.
• Has a 1:47 lifetime mark coming in.
• If Always B Miki wins this race with a time faster than 1:46.4, driver David Miller would hold the world record for the fastest male and female mile of all time (Shebestingin 1:47). Ironically, Joe Holloway trained both pacers.
• Miller is also closing in on a unique money record. John Campbell holds the record for the most money by a driver in a century with $176.5 million earned in the 20th century. Miller recently surpassed $175 million in the 21st century.
Freaky Feet Pete
• Is 29 for 33 lifetime, for a winning percentage of 88. The entire Ben Franklin field’s combined record is 82-for-112, or 73.2 per cent.
• This homebred has won his 29 races by a combined margin of 139-and-three-quarter lengths.
• Paid $17 to win in just his second career start.
• He’s been favored in 28 of 33 career tries.
• He’s paid the minimum $2.10 to win 11 times — three times this year and eight times as a sophomore.
• Is the defending Breeders Crown champion.
• His sire Rockin Image was the last horse to defeat 2010 Horse of the Year Rocknroll Heaven —doing so in the 2010 Oliver Wendell Holmes on Hambletonian Day.
• Freaky Feet Pete’s driver, Trace Tetrick, will be battling his brother, Tim Tetrick, who is driving Canadian Horse of the Year State Treasurer.
Wiggle It Jiggleit
• He has the same lifetime mark as Jennas Beach Boy (1:47.3) and is out of a Jennas Beach Boy mare (Mozzi Hanover).
• Montrell Teague became the youngest driver to ever pilot a Horse of the Year when Wiggle It Jiggleit won last year’s title when Teague was 24.
• If Montrell wins this race faster than 1:46.4, he will have been a week older than Tommy Haughton (also 25) when Haughton set the all-age mark of 1:51.3 with Trenton on Aug. 21, 1982 at Springfield.
• He is the sixth fastest horse in this field.
• Wiggle It Jiggleit is two-for-four in his head-on matchups with Freaky Feet Pete.
• WIJI and FFP have met on May 21 of this year and Oct. 30, Oct. 10 and June 30 of 2015
• WIJI is Indiana sired by Mr Wiggles, who was the first horse Montrell Teague drove.
• WIJI’s last 17 wins of 2015 were all sub-1:50
• Cam Fella is the last pacer to win back-to-back titles as HOY (1982-1983).
• Only Market Share (2012-2013) and Gallo Blue Chip (2000-2001) have followed a $2 Million single season with a $1 million single season.
The Holloway Factor
Note the Joe Holloway factor in all this. He trained Jennas Beach Boy, the world record setter and sire of Mozzi Hanover, the dam of Wiggle It Jiggleit. He trained Always B Miki’s sire Always A Virgin to two-thirds of the Triple Crown and very nearly a Meadowlands Pace win, too. He trained Always B Miki, who was second in a huge Meadowlands Pace runnerup effort. Holloway is the first trainer since Billy Haughton to have the fastest male and female pacer Shebestingin (1:47) at the same time. Haughton had Nihilator (1:49.3) and Handle With Care (1:54.4).