08/05/2015 12:48PM

Meadowlands: Wiggle It Jiggleit gets back to business in Cane Pace

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Derick Giwner
Wiggle It Jiggleit has won 15 of 16 races lifetime.

Summer vacation might be nice for many people, but George Teague Jr. and his son Montrell have had enough of sitting around the past several weeks. It is time to get back to business. And that means it’s time for Wiggle It Jiggleit.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-rated horse in harness racing’s weekly rankings, will race for the first time since winning the Meadowlands Pace on July 18 when he faces eight rivals in Saturday’s $319,400 Cane Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack.

The Cane Pace is the first jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, followed this year by the Messenger Stakes and Little Brown Jug. Wiggle It Jiggleit was not eligible to the Cane, but his connections paid $35,000 to supplement to the event, which is being held at the Big M for the first time in its 61-year history.

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Wiggle It Jiggleit, trained by Clyde Francis for owner George Teague Jr.’s stable, will start the Cane from post No. 2 and is the 2-5 morning line favorite.

Prior to his soon-to-be-concluding respite, Wiggle It Jiggleit started races in six consecutive weeks. During that span, he finished second in the North America Cup – his only loss in 16 career races – and won the Max C. Hempt Memorial and Meadowlands Pace.

“I kind of missed seeing him race,” the elder Teague said. “I had some free weekends, but you kind of get anxious to get back in the (entry) box because he’s a fun horse to watch race. I look forward to him.”

He added with a laugh, “Maybe it’s because I own him.”

Montrell Teague, who drives Wiggle It Jiggleit, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It was getting tiring going from track to track every week, but now that I’ve had down time I’d rather be going track to track with him,” the 24-year-old said. “With the time off, it got a little bit boring after a while. What we have with him, it doesn’t come around every year for us. It’s definitely been fun.”

The Cane Pace is Race No. 11 on a jammed-packed stakes card, with the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters as the centerpiece. The two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations are races eight and nine and the $1 million final is race 13. The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters is race 12.

Post time for the first race is noon. Cable channel CBS Sports Network will air coverage of the Cane Pace, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian from 4 to 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

Wiggle It Jiggleit, a bay gelding, is the son of two former Teague race horses, stallion Mr Wiggles and mare Mozzi Hanover. He won his only start at age 2 before being shut down because of soreness. He returned in January and has captured 14 of 15 races this season while earning $961,092 in purses.

“We trained him (Monday),” said George Teague, who won the 2006 Cane Pace with Total Truth. “It’s the only time he’s trained since he raced two-and-a-half weeks ago. For the first four or five days we usually give him stall rest and a little grass. Then we get back to jogging a couple miles each day leading up to training.

“It’s a pretty simple routine. I don’t think he needs much. This horse has been going since the first of the year racing and he was in training a couple months before that. So he’s got eight, nine, 10 months between work and racing. He doesn’t need much now. The week before the Meadowlands Pace we didn’t even train him.”

The Cane Pace field also includes Dude’s The Man, who won last Saturday’s Delvin Miller Adios and finished second in the Meadowlands Pace, as well as Artspeak and In The Arsenal, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Hempt Memorial and also competed in the Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup.

“The horses look familiar,” George Teague said. “There are no surprises. Right now I don’t think there are any surprises to be had at his level.”

Added Montrell, “I don’t think it’s going to be an easy race and I don’t think they’re going to let anybody have their way on the front. I think there’s going to be heavy pressure the whole time.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit is not eligible to the next two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown, but can supplement to the Messenger for $30,000 and, thanks to his victory in the Meadowlands Pace, to the Little Brown Jug for $45,000.

But for now, Montrell Teague is focused on the Cane Pace and enjoying the experience of Wiggle It Jiggleit with his father.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Montrell said. “You dream of it, but you never think it’s going to come this soon. Our past couple years haven’t been the best, and to bounce back like this and have the best horse in the country makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

And the need for summer vacation less necessary.

Following is the field for the Cane Pace in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

1. Dude’s The Man, Corey Callahan, Jessica Okusko, 9-2

2. Wiggle It Jiggleit, Montrell Teague, Clyde Francis, 2-5

3. Hall Of Terror, Andy Miller, Erv Miller, 50-1

4. Dealt A Winner, David Miller, Mark Silva, 12-1

5. Artspeak, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 8-1

6. Rollin Ring Afire, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris, 30-1

7. Oneisalonelynumber, Jason Bartlett, Nick Surick, 30-1

8. Yankee Bounty, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 15-1

9. In The Arsenal, Brian Sears, Kelvin Harrison, 12-1

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