05/31/2017 8:25AM

Giwner: Wiggle It Jiggleit will miss the Ben Franklin

Derick Giwner
Wiggle It Jiggleit has earned just shy of $4 million in his career.

The anticipated return of superstar older pacer Wiggle It Jiggleit will be delayed. Expected to make his 2017 debut in the Ben Franklin eliminations at The Downs at Pocono on June 24, Wiggle It Jiggleit will not be in attendance that night.

“He is going to miss the Ben Franklin,” said owner George Teague, Jr, who added that the goal is now to be ready for the William Haughton memorial at The Meadowlands on July 15. “He has a little issue with his back, the same issue he dealt with as a 2 and 3-year-old.”

According to Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit trained a mile in 1:57 about 10 days ago over the seven-eighths backside track at Harrington, a surface he called one of the better ones in the country. The goal is to get him down to about the 1:52/53 range before sending him out for a pair of qualifiers.

“He is better than he was but just isn’t good enough yet,” said Teague about Wiggle It Jiggleit’s current condition. “He’ll need to go 1:47 to win races, so if I don’t have him ready to qualify in 1:50, he isn’t ready.”

Despite the chronic back issue, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won $3,907,557 and 38 of 51 career races. He won Horse of the Year honors in 2015 and earned over $1.7 million last year while setting a lifetime mark of 1:47 2/5.

Teague is cognizant of the popularity of his 5-year-old gelding, who sits sixth on the all-time earnings list behind Foiled Again at $7.5 million, and is hoping to manage the horse’s career to last as long as possible.

“The horse speaks to you if you listen,” said Teague. “I don’t want to put him out there at any less than I’ve done before. I don’t want to hurt his reputation by not having him right.”

Barring another setback, Wiggle It Jiggleit will likely qualify at the end of June and be on the track from the middle of July through the end of November.

[DRF HARNESS NEWSLETTER: Sign Up for the FREE DRF Harness Newsletter. Fresh content and insights delivered each week.]