05/29/2016 7:24PM

Harrah's Philadelphia: Track record performance by Wiggle It Jiggleit in Mullin Invitational

Ken Weingartner
Wiggle It Jiggleit is now the all-age track record holder at Harrah's Philadelphia thanks to his 1:47 3/5 effort Sunday

Most people might be unhappy to see clouds block out the sun on their Memorial Day weekend, but Montrell Teague couldn’t have been more overjoyed.

Teague drives Wiggle It Jiggleit, a horse who has a penchant for jumping shadows on the racetrack. So when Teague saw the clouds roll in moments before heading onto the track for Wiggle It Jiggleit’s start in Sunday’s $200,000 Dorothy Mullin Invitational for older male pacers at Harrah’s Philadelphia, he was relieved.

And under the cover of those clouds, Wiggle It Jiggleit went out and paced the fastest mile in the 11-year history of Harrah’s Philadelphia, stopping the timer in 1:47 3/5 as he captured the Mullin Invitational by 1 3/4 lengths over early pacesetter Rockin Ron. Rockeyed Optimist finished third.

“When I warmed him up, he jumped over a couple (shadows); that would have been another obstacle to overcome,” Teague said. “The shadows were out pretty good until we went out, so it worked out perfect. The clouds worked out in our favor.”

The previous fastest mile at Harrah’s Philadelphia was 1:48, a mark shared by Artistic Fella and Mister Big. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a 4-year-old gelding pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval.

“He’s done so many races and all of them are spectacular, it’s hard to pick one that stands out,” Teague said after the 4-year-old Wiggle It Jiggleit won for the 29th time in 36 career races and increased his lifetime earnings to $2.57 million. “This is right up there with all the big ones, I think.

“I thought I could have gone faster, but if I’m already in front I just want to look back and see where they are and start celebrating.”

Also on Sunday’s card at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Obrigado won the $200,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters by a neck over Il Sogno Dream in 1:52 and Venus Delight won the $200,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by 2 1/2 lengths over Katie Said in 1:50 4/5.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, harness racing’s 2015 Horse of the Year, has won six of nine races this season and finished no worse than second in any start. He entered the Mullin Invitational off a track record win in the Battle of Lake Erie on May 21 at Northfield Park.

In the Mullin, Wiggle It Jiggleit found himself in second-place behind Confederation Cup champion Rockin Ron. Teague, and the 1-2 favorite made their move to challenge Rockin Ron just after reaching the race’s midpoint and battled side-by-side around the final turn. From there, Wiggle It Jiggleit paced away from his rivals to post the victory for owners George Teague Jr., who is Montrell’s father, and the Teague Racing Partnership. Wiggle It Jiggleit is trained by Clyde Francis.

“It was unbelievable,” Montrell Teague said. “I thought there might be a few more horses leave, and I’d have to take back a little further, but when you’ve got a two hole you’ve got to take advantage of it. I saw a horse coming on the outside of me, and I didn’t want to get locked in. I was just playing my part and seeing what was going to go on and trying to be out before anyone got outside of me.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit’s next start is expected to be Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in the second round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers.

In the Maxie Lee, Obrigado held off Il Sogno Dream after even-money favorite JL Cruze went off stride in the final turn. Also going off stride in the race were Shake It Cerry and Gural Hanover. Morning line favorite Bee A Magician was scratched earlier in the day because of an unspecified injury.

It was Obrigado’s second win in four races this year. The 6-year-old gelding has won 36 of 66 career starts and earned $891,229.

Obrigado is owned by the Paul Kelley Racing Stable, SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45. He is trained by Kelley and was driven by Mark MacDonald.

“I thought his effort was great,” Kelley said. “I don’t think he ever got ahold of the racetrack, to my liking anyway, but he’s a game horse, and he just gives 110 percent every time you put him on the track. All the horses that race at this level are just tremendous athletes, and he overcame it.

“His year has been really good. We dealt with some issues last year with his front feet stinging him and I think we have a better handle on what he likes and what he doesn’t like. Hopefully he’s going to have a really good year.”

Then with a laugh, Kelley added, “I need a retirement plan, and I don’t have one right now; not a good enough one. So this could be it.”

In the Betsy Ross, Venus Delight and driver Tim Tetrick rallied from midpack to overtake Katie Said in the stretch and post her first win in nine races this year. The 6-year-old mare was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer in 2015.

“If you’re going to get a first win of the year, this is a good one to get,” winning trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. said. “I think she just came back a little slowly. She had a long year last year; she raced hard and just needed to get her legs under her a little bit. This definitely worked out today.

“Timmy made a great move and she just exploded today. I was very happy with the way it worked out.”

Venus Delight, sent off at 9-1 odds in the Betsy Ross, has won 26 of 71 career races and earned $993,523. She is owned by Bamond Racing.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com​