After going wire-to-wire to win the 73rd Canadian Pacing Derby over a stellar group of older pacers, Wiggle It Jiggleit was his usual rambunctious self, to the delight of his trainer Clyde Francis.
by Lauren Lee and Dave Briggs
Trainer Clyde Francis said he never ceases to be amazed by Wiggle It Jiggleit.
Saturday night, after taking down a stellar field of older horses to win the 73rd edition of the Canadian Pacing Derby wire-to-wire in 1:49, four-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit was kicking, stomping and jumping around in the Mohawk test barn shortly after being his usual rambunctious self in the winner’s circle.
“It’s amazing, he’s always like that,” Francis said. “You never see him down. We’ll put fresh hay in with him and in the morning it looks like a bulldozer hit it and he’s just got to be playing in the stall when no one is around. This morning it was the same thing.”
Asked whether destroying hay is a good omen when it comes to Wiggle It Jiggleit, Francis laughed. “It says to me they are feeling good. Normally you don’t see them do it, he’ll do it at night when there’s nobody around, but he got it going this morning. He was having a ball.
“He’s like a freak. I’ve never seen another horse do the stuff that he does. I throw him on the trailer for eight, 10 hours and he’ll jump off and start eating and just go out and race. You just don’t find a horse that does the things that he does that consistently. I haven’t seen him throw a bad race yet.”
The $616,000 Derby was the 12th win in 19 starts this year — and 35th in 46 lifetime starts — for the gelded son of Mr Wiggles out of Mozzi Hanover driven by Montrell Teague and owned by George Teague, Jr. of Harrington, DE and the Teague Racing Partnership LLC of Boynton Beach, FL.
The victory also somewhat made up for a second-place finish to Wakizashi Hanover at Mohawk in the 2015 Pepsi North America Cup.
“It’s a big thrill,” Francis said of winning the Pacing Derby. “Last year, we got beat in the North America Cup so we kind of made up for it tonight. This is one of the premier races, that’s for sure.
Despite battling a deep group of pacers, Wiggle It Jiggleit has not been worse than third this year, finishing second five times and third twice while compiling earnings in excess of $1.3 million to push his career earnings over $3.5 million.
“This is a real, real tough field of horses and every time he goes behind the gate, man, he gives 110 per cent,” said George Teague. “When you come out on top against these kind then you can’t praise this horse enough.”
Starting from the rail, Wiggle It Jiggleit took immediate command of the race with chief nemesis Always B Miki and David Miller close behind through a :25.3 opening quarter. Wiggle It Jiggleit continued to lead past the half in :54.1 and opened up as he past the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4. His margin of victory was one-and-three-quarter lengths over Always B Miki. Dealt A Winner was third at 112-1.
“Montrell does a great job, he rated the horse and made Dave (Miller) make a brave move that really didn’t pay off, so that was really good,” George said. “He had Dave exactly where he wanted him.”
Francis echoed George’s assessment of Wiggle It’s driver.
“Montrell did an excellent job. He gets a lot of flack and you’re going to have your critics regardless, but he drove him perfectly. He sprinted right out and put everybody in the hole right away. Most of the time at the top of the lane, he can sprint off from them. They don’t usually catch him. It’s a bit hard to see here, but someone said to me he was on top by three, and that sounded pretty good to me,” Francis said.
As for Wiggle It Jiggleit’s incredible consistency, George said, “That’s what great horses are made of — that’s him. I expect it, sort of… He has never thrown in a clunker so I’m sure it’s going to be a sad day for us if he does. It will take me by surprise.”