03/12/2015 8:59AM

Meadowlands: Teague heading back to the top with Wiggle It Jiggleit

Lisa Photo
Wiggle It Jiggleit is perfect in five career starts.

For anyone that’s ever broken a yearling in this business dreaming big is part of every equation. It’s impossible to sit behind an untrained and unproven horse and not gaze into the future with hopes of winning the biggest races. For trainer George Teague Jr., a modest but successful horseman in Delaware, that dream came true when he choreographed the brilliant career of Rainbow Blue to a Horse of the Year title in 2004. Teague, a man that had spent little at yearling sales looking for the pot of gold, made it to the other side of the rainbow.

Some 11 years later the trainer has gone through the ups and downs of an industry that can applaud you and swallow you up simultaneously. His stable grew in numbers, as did his partnerships with owners hoping some of Teague’s magic could rub off on them. Most of the partnerships have severed in the last few years and it would appear as if Teague has gone full circle to the point before Rainbow Blue arrived.

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The rags-to-riches-to-rags-to riches story has unfolded this year for Teague with the emergence of Wiggle It Jiggleit. The undefeated three-year-old gelding goes for the biggest purse of his young career as the odds-on choice to capture the $58,000 William Buddy Gilmour final at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. It’s race 11 of 13 and most eyes in the crowd will be on the son of Mr Wiggles guided by Teague’s son Montrell from post four in the field of eight.

“This horse has never had a bad day,” said George Teague, Jr., of Wiggle It Jiggleit. “Next to Rainbow Blue he’s the best horse I’ve had.” The trainer cautioned that Wiggle It Jiggleit may be a faster horse than Rainbow Blue, but clearly given the stature of his former champion filly, a winner in 30 of 32 lifetime starts, it’s going to take a few races before his current protégé arrives at that plateau.

“He’s got incredible lungs. He can go all day,” said Teague, admiring the gelding that has captivated those who have witnessed the ease in which he’s carried himself to four victories this year, three at the Meadowlands.

The fact that Wiggle It Jiggleit paced in 1:49 4/5 in his first trip at the Meadowlands coming overland against four-year-olds in early February speaks volumes for that lung capacity. On that night, young Teague guided him overland and ‘Wiggle’ paced a final half effortlessly in nearly 53 seconds. As astonishing as that mile was, George Teague Jr. wasn’t looking to show off. “I know I had him in against four-year-olds but I really wasn’t looking to race against them,” Teague said.  The trainer instead opted for the softer Gilmour series and essentially his horse has had two training miles on the way to the final.

Wiggle It Jiggleit is the product of two of Teague’s former stakes horses in Mr Wiggles and Mozzi Hanover. “I don’t think he attracted the kind of mares he should have or the number,” said Teague. “Mr Wiggles won the Adios elimination and then just missed in the final. He won the Breeders Crown elimination and then just missed in the final.” That was back in 2009. Mr Wiggles produced just a handful of registered foals from his first crop in Indiana and Wiggle It Jiggleit is among the select few.

“I bought Mozzi Hanover for $5,000,” said Teague of the dam of his current star. “She was a daughter of Jennas Beach Boy with a good pedigree. She had problems with allergies and I think she was a better horse than her record showed.” The record showed a stakes-type filly that earned $140,000 during her career.

Teague of course has big dreams for Wiggle It Jiggleit. “I’ve sat behind plenty of quality horses,” said Teague, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s among the top three-year-olds this year. Not just top five but top one or two.”

The trainer expects to stop after Saturday’s race and give his horse some time off. “I may take him up to Canada before the Somebeachsomewhere (June 6) to get him ready for the North America Cup,” said Teague. The trainer believes that Wiggle It Jiggleit could go around any sized oval but he did not keep him eligible to the major half-mile track races.

It’s nice to see George Teague, Jr. on the way up again.