11/11/2016 7:56PM

Giwner: Plenty of good times likely ahead for Wiggle It Jiggleit

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Derick Giwner
Being a gelding, Wiggle It Jiggleit should continue putting on a show for years to come.

By now you undoubtedly know that Wiggle It Jiggleit, the most popular Standardbred in training, has suffered a minor quarter-crack and will not be able to compete in Saturday’s $400,000 TVG Final at The Meadowlands against arch rival Always B Miki.

There is nothing like competitive top-notch racing and the thrilling Breeders Crown Final where Always B Miki overcame the tougher journey to defeat Wiggle It Jiggleit certainly checked that box. Taking nothing away from the effort put forth by Always B Miki, ‘Wiggle It’ did not seem to be on his best game in the Breeders Crown while clearly bearing out in the stretch. That small detail left me yearning for one more showdown before ‘Miki’ retires to stallion duty at Diamond Creek Farms.

Did the foot issue hamper the 4-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit in his attempt at winning his first Breeders Crown? “If he wasn’t running out late the result might have been different,” said owner George Teague about the Crown final while also giving ‘Miki’ his due.

[MEADOWLANDS: Watch Live Video and Analysis for the TVG Finals at The Meadowlands Saturday.]

Teague may indeed be right, but we don’t give byes to horses for losses in big races because of circumstance. Always B Miki won fair and square and deserves any honors that come with that win.

While we’ll only get one more chance to see Always B Miki race, during Saturday’s sixth race at The Meadowlands, Wiggle It Jiggleit will hopefully be around for a long time to come.

“It’s all about managing his career and it’s great when you own them because you can make every call,” said Teague. “He’s done more than his share this year. Hopefully he’ll have a career for at least a couple more years.”

Rather than sulk over the lack of a final battle on the track, let’s celebrate Wiggle It Jiggleit for what he has accomplished and still can.

Video game statistics – Wiggle It Jiggleit has only finished worse than third once in 51 career starts. His record sits at 51-38-10-2. Looking at the list of horses with at least $3 million in earnings, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many horses with a similar number of wins in a comparable number of starts. The great Nihilator compiled 35 wins in 38 starts, Moni Maker won 44 times in 62 starts, and Artsplace took home win honors 37 times from 49 attempts. Simply put, Wiggle It Jiggleit shows up every week and never throws in a bad race.

Versatility – Can you find another top pacer or trotter in the last decade with a more even distribution of wins over every sized track? Wiggle It Jiggleit has won eight times on mile tracks, seven times at seven-eighths, 14 times on five-eighths ovals and nine times on half-mile tracks. Even better, his wins have come over 13 different tracks in seven states or provinces.

It’s all in the name – What’s not to like about the name Wiggle It Jiggleit? It is a name no one forgets and even those outside of the harness racing know it. The horse even does his own funky dance in the winner’s circle, refusing to cooperate for cameramen and woman across North America.

He’s a gelding – That’s right, unlike Betting Line, Southwind Frank, Always B Miki and many other on-track stars that retired for the breeding shed before fans were ready to say goodbye, Wiggle It Jiggleit isn’t going anywhere and he seems to be getting better. While he looked somewhat gimpy at times during the tail end of his 3-year-old campaign (though it didn’t stop him from winning), Wiggle It Jiggleit appeared to put those issues on the backburner in 2016. “He definitely grew up into a much sounder horse,” said owner George Teague. We should see the WIJI as a 5-year-old in March or April in the George Morton Levy series at Yonkers Raceway.

Admiration of peers – I’ve never seen a horse get as much respect from opposing horsemen as Wiggle It Jiggleit. Even they love watching this horse race. My favorite line came from trainer Ron Burke, who said that he loved watching him race despite the fact that he cost him plenty of money by beating him.