by Kim French
There was a throbbing energy throughout the Friday (Aug. 12) evening that not only emanated from those in attendance at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, but from those individuals not present to witness what could very well be the most stellar field ever assembled in the 23-year-old history of the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes and certainly no one could possess one ounce of disappointment at the outcome.
Not only did Wiggle It Jiggleit appear defeated in mid-stretch, the defending Horse of the Year, known at times for his erratic antics off the track, displayed a new dimension in his racing style as he strode up the rail to hand Always B Miki his second consecutive defeat. The son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover, with Montrell Teague in his customary position in the bike, tripped the timer in 1:49.1.
|The connections of Wiggle It Jiggleit meet on the track at Hoosier Park after their victory in the 2016 Dan Patch Stakes.|
Co-owner George Teague, Jr. concurred the gelding, who is also owned by Teague Racing Partnership and is conditioned by Clyde Francis, has adjusted his behavior throughout the course of 2016 and that attitude adjustment has definitely added another weapon to his already stocked arsenal.
“He is maturing and growing up,” Teague said. “He is really starting to come along. We used to have to walk him around and around just to keep him settled down. Now he is more relaxed and takes things as they come. He’s always been an intelligent horse, but the older he gets the more he has calmed down. He’s even better in the winner’s circle now and as long as you keep him checked up, like we did tonight, we even get some pictures of him. This kind of maturity will only improve him.”
As expected, Wiggle It Jiggleit was placed on the lead leaving the gate from post position one, with Freaky Feet Pete, who began to pace his mile right next to him, right behind him. Wakizashi Hanover followed his colleagues in third, with the public selection Always B Miki in fourth. The gelding clicked off the contest’s first fraction in a sensible :27 and tossed down another comfortable :27.4 quarter before David Miller brushed Always B Miki straight to the lead.
Wiggle It Jiggle was content to sit in the pocket as Trace Tetrick and Freaky Feet Pete were satisfied with remaining in third. As Always B Miki hit the three-quarter pole in 1:22.4, Tetrick decided he could wait no longer to make a move and gave Freaky Feet Pete enough rein to surge alongside Always B Miki. The hometown hero, however, could not sustain his bid and failed to clear the world champion.
After Always B Miki repelled Freak Feet Pete’s challenge, it appeared the Dan Patch title would be the next revered stake to grace his resume. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Teague, however, were far from finished and coveted that accolade as their own.
|Dean Gillette photos|
|Wiggle It Jiggleit captured the 2016 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park.|
Teague angled the gelding in towards the rail and Wiggle It Jiggleit gamely responded to spurt through on the inside and pull away from his rival to best him by a length.
All Bets Off and Shamballa battled behind the top two, with the former pacing a sizzling :25.2 final panel to hit the wire in tandem for third place, as they could not be separated at the wire.
When asked about Wiggle It Jiggleit’s rail journey to victory, Teague explained he was quite confident his horse would respond in tight quarters.
“Wiggle It is a very intelligent horse and we’ve trained out here and a couple other places so he’s used to it,” he said. “It was a definitely a hard trip, but we got the job done.”
The elder Teague acknowledged after post positions were drawn on Tuesday (Aug. 9) the horse’s connections were very pleased with where their charge would start pacing, but they also have a tremendous amount of respect for the other members of the field, as there were six world champions present and prepared to pace.
“Coming off the rail we were very excited,” George said. “Normally I would tell people (in that position) to just run with it, but we knew we had to make a couple decisions. Every horse in that race could take the trip. Also, Montrell is great with the horse. Sometimes we feel like he knows him better than his owners know him.”
Wiggle It Jiggleit, the joint favorite with Always B Miki at 8-5, paid $5.40 to his backers, while Always B Miki provided $23.60 to place. All Bets Off returned $3.80 for his efforts and Shamballa paid $2.10. The exacta was $17.40 and the trifecta was either $166.00 or $95.60.
Hoosier Park’s Dan Patch Invitational saw measurable success on all fronts. Excitement pervaded throughout the grandstand as a large, enthusiastic crowd welcomed the 23rd installment of Hoosier Park’s signature event to the track. The wagering front also saw much success and offered remarkable value to the horseplayer with the introduction of a signature $20,000 guaranteed superfecta and a $15,000 guaranteed Hoosier High-Five for the Dan Patch Stakes card. The bettors came out in full force as the handle increases were felt both on track and through export wagering.
Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (Aug. 13) with a 13-race card that is set to begin at an adjusted post time of 4:30 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m., racing fans can enjoy the ultimate in entertainment, intense flavors of fiery BBQ, and energizing drinks as part of Hoosier Park’s annual “Thrillyard 200” event located in The Yard. At the conclusion of live racing on Saturday, country music legends Asleep At The Wheel will perform a free show in the Terrace Showroom as Hoosier Park continues its summer concert series line-up. A free fireworks presentation will culminate the entire evening and will follow the free concert starting at approximately 10:15 p.m.