09/23/2015 9:35PM

Giwner: Little Brown Jug analysis

Derick Giwner

It is always a pleasure to see the top 3-year-old pacer in the sport enter the Little Brown Jug and that is the case this year with Wiggle It Jiggleit. While he has dominated thus far, whether or not he can ultimately survive two or three heats and come away with a Jug title remains to be seen.

Interestingly, all of the top contenders in both first heat eliminations drew post five or inside, which means the second heat (top four in each first elimination make the final) should have all the best horses and be quite a race.

Race 12 - $108,320 Little Brown Jug—1st Division

I’d consider using four horses in this race for multi-race exotics, but I would lean heavily to my top two if playing multiple tickets. (1) LOST FOR WORDS has been chasing the best in the division all year and picking up good checks. While he has obviously been trying to win, hometown trainer Brian Brown has clearly been aiming for this spot all year. He has high early zip and the advantageous inside post to help his cause. (4) DUDE’S THE MAN might not be the typical Little Brown Jug horse in that I don’t see him gunning down the road, but this guy can take plenty of air and might just be able to grind out a win first-over. All things being equal he has been the best of this group so far in 2015. (2) ROCKIN IN HEAVEN comes into this race in fine form for a trainer that knows how to win races. My major concern is that he’ll wind up in the pocket and that isn’t likely to result in a winning trip on Thursday. (7) SPLIT THE HOUSE has shown flashes of ability but hasn’t done enough against the best in the division. That said, he moves into a high percentage barn this week and is clearly eligible to show more.

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Race 13 - $108,320 Little Brown Jug—2nd Division

There only seems to be one handicapping puzzle in the second division—who cuts the pace? Will the recently resurgent (1) ARTSPEAK dig in from the inside early versus (5) WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT and try to take the field wire to wire or does he yield and sit the pocket? From a pure logic standpoint, Wiggle It Jiggleit hasn’t raced in a month and should be fresh. Plus if he loses the first heat he’d have to win the second heat and a race-off. I’m sure he doesn’t want to race three times. If you gave me 4 or 5-1 on Artspeak, I’d take a shot with him, otherwise Wiggle It Jiggleit remains my top pick. It is hard to give credence to the chances of any of the other six signed on, at least in the top spot.

Undercard Thoughts

Race 9

(6) HAILSTORM GRACE is moving into the Ron Burke barn and is clearly eligible to improve. She’ll likely be bet down under her 8-1 morning line but could provide some value in the Pick Four.

Race 10

This appears to be a very competitive race on paper. (2) FRENCH LAUNDRY was driven by Jimmy Takter last week so the trainer could try to straighten this colt out. the fact that Yannick Gingras returns should be looked at as a sign that maybe Takter has seen enough to make the needed changes. (6) ANDY RAY sits at 10-1 on the morning line and that is probably deserved. Digging deeper, he has raced very well in his last two starts with Lasix added and the fact that Tim Tetrick drives this week is a plus.

Race 16

(2) CLASSIC MARTINE was far and away the best mare in this group last year but has lacked that same brilliance in 2015. That said, she draws well and her last effort in defeat was one of her best this year. Maybe she is finally ready to hit her groove.