05/04/2016 3:52PM

Mohawk: Horse of the Year showdown Saturday

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Wiggle It Jiggleit winning a Pepsi North America Cup elimination last June.

It is not every day that a pair of Horse of the Year recipients meet up, but harness racing fans will receive a rare treat Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

State Treasurer, 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year, and Wiggle It Jiggleit, 2015 U.S Horse of the Year, will square off for the first time in the $34,000 Preferred Pace.

A four-year-old son of Mr Wiggles, Wiggle It Jiggleit’s next start was expected to be in the Confederation Cup eliminations, but after no eliminations were necessary for the May 15th final, the George Teague stable star will now tune-up with a start at Mohawk.

Trained by Clyde Francis and driven by Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit won 22 of 26 starts last season and earned over $2.2 million. He recorded victories in the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and Progress Pace over the course of his Horse of the Year campaign. The four-year-old gelding has won four of five starts to begin his 2016 season.

Wiggle It Jiggleit will start from post-six in a field of seven.

A seven-year-old son of Real Desire, State Treasurer will be making his second start of 2016 Saturday night. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee won nine of 19 starts last season and banked over $986,000 to earn Canadian Horse of the Year honours.

State Treasurer’s signature victories last season included the Canadian Pacing Derby and U.S. Pacing Championship. The veteran pacing stallion is nearing double millionaire status with over $1.9 million in career earnings.

State Treasurer will leave from post-four with driver Chris Christoforou in the sulky.

Both award-winning pacers sport sub-1:48 career-marks. Wiggle It Jiggleit took his 1:47 4/5 mark in the Meadowlands Pace, while State Treasurer’s 1:47 mark was taken in the U.S. Pacing Championship.

While the Horse of the Year winners will be in the spotlight Saturday, a strong group of five older pacers will be looking to steal the show.

Nickle Bag (PP1, Trevor Henry) enters Saturday’s contest with plenty of momentum. The Bill Robinson trainee won last week’s Preferred in 1:49 and has won two of his last three starts.

A six-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag has nine victories in 15 starts this season, with seven of those scores coming in the WEG Preferred.

Nirvana Seelster (PP2, Rick Zeron) and Boomboom Ballykeel (PP3, Sylvain Filion) also have victories this season in the WEG Preferred.

Idole Duharas (PP5, James MacDonald) and Mohawk Warrior (PP7, Sylvain Filion) round out the field of seven.

The $34,000 Preferred Pace is carded as the ninth-race on Saturday’s 12-race card.

Saturday’s card also features the $57,600 Diplomat Series (race-four) and $57,400 Princess Series (race-eight) finals.

A special post time of 7:05 p.m. is scheduled for Saturday’s card.

$34,000 Preferred Pace (Race 9 – Saturday, May 7)

1. Nickle Bag (Trevor Henry –Bill Robinson)

2. Nirvana Seelster (Rick Zeron – Bill Budd)

3. Boomboom Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion – Richard Moreau)

4. State Treasurer (Chris Christoforou – Dr. Ian Moore)

5. Idole Duharas (James MacDonald – Sean Mehlenbacher)

6. Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague – Clyde Francis)

7. Mohawk Warrior (Sylvain Filion – Richard Moreau)

--edited release (WEG Communications)

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights from the DRF Harness team this Saturday at 7:00 p.m.]