Delaware, OH --- Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly Top 10 poll, leads a field of 15 horses entered in Thursday’s (Sept. 24) 70th Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in central Ohio. The event, presented by Fazoli’s, carries a record total purse of $677,000.
The draw for the Little Brown Jug was conducted Saturday at the fairgrounds. Wiggle It Jiggleit drew post five in the second first-heat elimination and was installed as the 4-5 favorite. The gelding is owned by George Teague Jr., driven by Montrell Teague, and trained by Clyde Francis.
Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 16 of 18 races this year and earned $1.43 million. His victories include the Meadowlands Pace, Hempt Memorial, Battle of the Brandywine, and Milstein Memorial. He was not staked to the Little Brown Jug, but his victory in the Meadowlands Pace permitted his connections to pay $45,000 to supplement to the event.
Since supplements were first allowed in 1999, four horses have used that route to enter the Little Brown Jug: Four Starzzz Shark in 2001, Art Official in 2008, Betterthancheddar in 2011, and Lyonssomewhere in 2014. Four Starzzz Shark, Art Official, and Betterthancheddar all finished third. Lyonssomewhere failed to advance to the second heat.
Wiggle It Jiggleit is a son of Mr Wiggles, who finished sixth in the 2009 Little Brown Jug, out of the mare Mozzi Hanover. He prepped for the Jug by winning a qualifier in 1:50.2 last Tuesday at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
“He was good,” Montrell Teague said. “He was definitely himself. I pretty much just let him do what he wanted to do. I let him float out and we were planning on going a (1):52 mile, but when I tapped him in the last quarter he took off, so I just let him do what he wanted. That (time) is not a bad thing at all.”
The Little Brown Jug is contested on a half-mile track at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, located 30 miles north of Columbus. Wiggle It Jiggleit is history’s fastest 3-year-old pacer on a half-mile oval, having won in 1:49 earlier this season at Harrington Raceway.
“I’m looking forward to it the most of any race I’ve been in so far,” Teague said about the Little Brown Jug.
Among the other top Jug contenders are Artspeak and My Hero Ron in the second elimination and Lost For Words and Dude’s The Man in the opening elimination.
Artspeak, this year’s New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, heads to the Little Brown Jug off a career-best 1:48.2 win in the Simcoe Stakes last Saturday (Sept. 12) at Mohawk Racetrack. The time established the stakes record, shaving one-fifth of a second off the previous mark set by 2013 Little Brown Jug champion Vegas Vacation.
Trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners, Artspeak has won four of 12 races this year and earned $483,325. The son of Western Ideal-The Art Museum was the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and will try to become the first divisional champion since Bettor’s Delight in 2001 to return and win the Jug.
Brittany Farms won the 1993 Little Brown Jug as the owner of Life Sign. Brittany Farms owner George Segal also was part of Jug-winning partnerships with Mr Feelgood in 2006 and Tell All in 2007. His three victories are tied with Jeff Snyder and Stanley Dancer for the most by an owner in history.
Artspeak will be driven by Scott Zeron, who in 2012 at the age of 23 became the youngest driver to win the Jug when he piloted Michael’s Power to victory.
Artspeak has drawn the rail in the second elimination and is the 5-2 second choice behind Wiggle It Jiggleit.
Ron Burke will try for his second consecutive Jug triumph when he sends out My Hero Ron, who was the runner-up in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and has won four of 13 races this season. The gelded son of Well Said-Erma La Em is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Frank Baldachino.
He has drawn post four in the second elimination with Yannick Gingras listed to drive. My Hero Ron is 4-1 on the morning line. Burke and Gingras teamed to win last year’s Little Brown Jug with Limelight Beach.
The 2-1 morning line favorite in the opening elimination is Lost For Words, who drew the coveted rail. Lost For Words has also been a consistent performer, with 10 on-the-board finishes in 11 starts this year and earnings of $336,974. The colt has won four races, three on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit, and finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Milstein.
A son of 2009 Little Brown Jug winner Well Said out of the mare Thou Shalt Not, Lost For Words is trained by Brian Brown and driven by David Miller. He is owned by Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo, and Strollin Stable.
Miller has won the Jug three times, with No Pan Intended in 2003, Shadow Play in 2008, and Big Bad John in 2011. He is the winningest driver in the history of the Delaware County Fair, with 204 victories. Brown won last year’s Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers with Color’s A Virgin.
Dude’s The Man has posted top-three finishes in 12 of 13 races this season, winning three times including the Delvin Miller Adios Stakes in August, for earnings of $643,504. He finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the Meadowlands Pace and also was the runner-up in the Messenger Stakes.
Jessica Okusko trains Dude’s The Man, a son of American Ideal-Art’s Risk, for owners M And L of Delaware LLC and Victoria Dickinson. Corey Callahan is the colt’s driver. He will score from post four and is listed at 5-2 on the morning line.
The Little Brown Jug, which requires a horse to win two heats to be declared the champion, is the third leg of this year’s Pacing Triple Crown. Dealt A Winner won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, and Revenge Shark captured the second, the Messenger Stakes.
The top four horses in each of the elimination races will advance to the $324,960 second heat. If an elimination winner scores in the second heat, he will be the Jug winner. Otherwise, the three heat-winners will return for a $135,400 race-off.
The exact race numbers and post times for the LBJ will be announced after the balance of the Thursday program is drawn on Monday.
The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli’s will air live from 5-6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Below is the field in post order for the $677,000 Little Brown Jug with drivers, trainers and morning line odds.
$108,320 First Elimination Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line
$108,320 Second Elimination Post-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Artspeak-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna-5-2 2-Paparazzi Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-20-1 3-Rise Up Now-Tim Tetrick-Brian Brown-10-1 4-My Hero Ron-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4-1 5-Wiggle It Jiggleit-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-4-5 6-Arque Hanover-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-15-1 7-Revenge Shark-Brett Miller-Tony Alagna-6-1 8-Blood Brother-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-20-1