Mike Farrell for Meadowlands Media Relations
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. George Teague Jr. was beaming as he watched his son Montrell guide Wiggle It Jiggleit to an impressive victory Saturday night in the $706,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.
The dominant horse in the division did it again, beating Dude’s The Man by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:47 4/5.
The gelding posted his 14th win in 15 starts this year, losing only the North America Cup to Wakizashi Hanover by less than a length.
George Teague had been here before, winning the 2007 Pace with Southwind Lynx.
Seeing his son return to the winner’s circle this time elevated the experience to a new level.
“Couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t be prouder of my son Montrell,” George Teague said. “He speaks for himself. He’s doing a great job for the horse as much as the horse is doing for him.
Wiggle It Jiggleit is certainly doing it. Stung a little bit by a 26 1/5 opening quarter, Wiggle It Jiggleit cleared In The Arsenal to take charge down the backstretch The 2/5 favorite soon had company as Wakizashi Hanover ranged up first over.
It was a classic battle around the final turn, the two division leaders side by side.
Then it was over as Wiggle It Jiggleit shook loose in the lane with Montrell Teague pumping his fist as they crossed the finish line.
“I’m always surprised,” Montrell Teague said. “Every week I look forward to driving him. He’s the best horse I’ve ever driven. Driving for dad and having all my family here is unbelievable.
At 24, Montrell Teague is the youngest driver to capture the track’s signature event for 3-year-olds.
Wakizashi Hanover held on for third.
Wiggle It Jiggleit paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10, earning $353,000 for George Teague Jr. Inc. Clyde Francis, Teague’s long-time assistant, is the trainer.
Dude’s The Man returned $17.40 and $9.20 while Wakizashi Hanover paid $2.80 to show.
Dealt A Winner was fourth followed by Revenge Shark, Artspeak, Rock N’ Roll World, In The Arsenal, Lyons Levi Lewis and Badiou Hanover.
THE STANLEY DANCER MEMORIAL
Pinkman won again, solidifying his standing as the favorite for the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters here on Aug 8.
Last season’s Dan Patch winner is 5 for 6 this season following a neck victory over Habitat in 1:52 2/5 in the first $157,250 Dancer division. Yannick Gingras wheeled Pinkman to the front midway down the backstretch and they dictated the action from there. The final margin was a little snug as Habitat made an inside move and stablemate Canepa Hanover finished a close-up third.
“My colt was really strong,” Gingras said. “I was just playing with him a little bit in the stretch to make him do his job, but he had so much more.”
Pinkman, trained by Jimmy Takter, paid $2.60 to win.
The victory lifted the gelding’s earnings over $1 million for Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman.
Takter was in the sulky as The Bank took the $159,750 second Dancer division in a career best 1:50 4/5.
The 10-1 shot enhanced his Hambletonian credentials with his second win in six starts this season, giving Takter a training sweep in the Dancer. “This horse held on very well,” Takter said. “Pinkman is more of a laid-back horse. He felt like had everything under control.”
The Bank, owned by Christina Takter and Goren Falk, paid $22.80 to win.
The most amazing aspect of the race was the recovery by Centurion ATM, getting second after making a break down the backstretch. He closed relentlessly to finish only one length behind The Bank with French Laundry, another Takter trainee, third.
$187,000 DELVIN MILLER MEMORIAL
Spirit To Win pulled a 48-1 upset in final prep over the track for 3-year-old trotting fillies heading to the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks on the Hambletonian undercard.
With Brett Miller urging her on, Spirit To Win swarmed past Mission Brief, last season’s Dan Patch winner, by a nose for her first win in four starts this season, and fourth win in 10 starts overall.
“We thought she was a top filly last year,” trainer Dustin Jones said. “She ended up cracking a pastern so we had to stop on her. We were really, really high on her last year.”
That potential is finally starting to show, putting Spirit To Win squarely in the Hambletonian Oaks picture.
Owned by Frederick Hertrich and Noblock Racing, Spirit To Win paid $99.40 to win, capping an early 50-cent Pick 4 for a $56,333.55 payoff.
The time was 1:52.
Mission Brief was a game second in her first start since late May while Livinthefastlane, the even-money favorite, got third.
$430,600 WILLIAM R. HAUGHTON MEMORIAL
The longshot theme continued in the Free-For-All pace as Mach It So prevailed by a neck at 17-1.
The 5-year-old gelding trained by Jeffrey Bamond, Jr. for Bamond Racing got his second win in 12 starts this season.
Tim Tetrick worked out a second-over trip in the 1:48 1/5 mile.
“When he trips out like that, he’s pretty tough to beat,” Tetrick said. “He proved that tonight.”
Mach It So paid $36.40 to win as State Treasurer outfinished Foiled Again, the sport’s richest horse, for the place spot.
$213,450 GOLDEN GIRLS
Tetrick, trainer Bamond and Bamond Racing struck again with another outsider as Anndrovette took the Free-For-All pacing mares at 36-1.
The win price was a stunning $74.20 for the four-time defending Dan Patch Award winner who had not raced well here in the past.
It was only Anndrovette’s second win in 16 races at the Meadowlands. Her previous triumph came in the 2012 Overbid final. Anndrovette rallied in the stretch to overcome Sandbetweenurtoes and then held off Table Talk by one length in 2:02 4/5 for the 1 1/8 miles. “I think the mile and an eighth definitely helped her,” trainer Jeff Bamond Jr. said. “You can definitely never count her out.
$207,350 MISTLETOE SHALEE
David Miller became the third richest driver in the history of the sport, moving past Mike Lachance, when Moonlit Dance captured the $207,350 stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies.
“That’s quite an honor, to do something like that,” Miller said. “Mike has been a top, top driver for so many years. It’s quite an honor for me”
Moonlit Dance earned the victory the hard way: a brave first over trip from post 10 to beat Divine Caroline by 1 ½ lengths at 7-1.
Moonlit Dance maintained her momentum through the stretch to get the win.
“I can’t say enough about her,” Miller said. “She took a very tough trip and still had horse left. It was not a great trip at all. She overcame my drive.”
Moonlit Dance is owned by the David Goodrow Stable and trained by Tony O’Sullivan. She paid $17 to win.
The time was 1:49.
$443,300 HAMBLETONIAN MATURITY
JL Cruze extended his winning streak to five in the stakes for 4-year-old trotters.
The gelding has developed into a winning machine for trainer Eric Ell and owners Kenneth Wood, William Ditmar and Stephen Iaquinta with 16 wins in 18 starts this season.
John Campbell guided JL Cruze to a neck victory over Resolve in 2:04 2/5, a world record for the 1 1/8 miles.
JL Cruze paid $4 to win.
Total handle for Meadowlands Pace night was $4,247,602.
The last race Jackpot Super Hi-5 Carryover swelled to $208,774.
Racing returns Friday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M.