Kyle Surgo, who suffers from Glycosylation, had a memorable night meeting Wiggle It Jiggleit and the pacer’s team at Dayton.
by Bob Roberts
The city of Toledo, as well as northwest Ohio, lost its harness track in the fall of 2013 when Raceway Park drove its mobile starting gate and its racing license to a new location in Dayton.
With his favorite track closed, Todd Surgo, a local bank manager and longtime horseplayer, turned to his tablet computer and started watching and wagering on the ponies online.
Surgo and wife Lisa have two sons. Andrew, 16, the older boy, is healthy. Kyle, 13, is not. He suffers from congenital disorder of Glycosylation, an extremely rare metabolic disorder that attacks the heart, liver and brain.
Andrew is into sports, especially hockey. Kyle is unable to walk and took an interest in harness racing after watching and listening to live action with his dad on the computer.
Within a year of Raceway Park closing, a young pacer made his racing debut at Pocono Downs and crushed eight rivals. Last year, he crushed just about everybody, winning 22 of 26 starts, $2.1 million and Horse of the Year honors.
The horse is Little Brown Jug champion Wiggle It Jiggleit and Kyle Surgo loves him.
“He watches replays of Wiggle It Jiggleit’s races all the time,” said Todd Surgo. “He watches them before he goes to bed. He loves the horse and he loves his name. Kyle gets excited when he hears it.”
Father and son both got excited when they learned that Wiggle It Jiggleit would be in the starting lineup for last Friday’s $150,000 Dayton Pacing Derby at Dayton Raceway.
Todd called about availability of seating, a table in the Skybox, the track’s restaurant, and if possible, could Kyle meet his hero, Wiggle It Jiggleit?
That’s when Melissa Funk, Dayton Raceway’s Racing Services Manager, swung into action and made it all happen.
“She was great,” said Todd. “Melissa made sure Kyle had a great, great night.”
The day of the race, the entire Surgo family headed for Dayton, a two hour trip by car from Toledo.
Not only did they get to see Wiggle It Jiggleit win a stirring stretch duel with nemesis Always B Miki in a track record 1:49.1, they did so from a table next to the horse’s owners, the Teague family.
“They even invited us to get in the winner’s circle photo,” Todd said.
It was Kyle’s meeting with Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit’s driver, that may have been the best part of the trip.
“Montrell gave Kyle his whip,” said Todd. “Kyle has been sleeping with it every night since.”
There are two members of the Surgo family that could have done without the souvenir whip – Roxy and CeeCee, a pair of pet mini Chihuahuas.
“They are going to have to move a little better, because they are taking a beating when Kyle swings his whip,” said Todd.