Wiggle It Jiggleit wins seasonal debut at Dover Downs

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Ted Black

March 29th, 2016

The Monday evening cards at Dover Downs have been among the best weeknight programs for two decades and last night the normal fare gained an added attraction when defending horse of the year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, made his seasonal debut in a $60,000 Invitational.

Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) won 22 of 26 starts and banked nearly $2.2 million last season en route to being named champion three-year-old colt/gelding pacer, pacer of the year and horse of the year. During the summer he won the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug and then ended his sophomore campaign with victories in the Matron Stakes and Hap Hansen Progress Pace at Dover.

Wiggle It Jiggleit got a much needed vacation last winter and returned to finish third in a qualifier at Dover on March 2 before romping home 32 lengths clear in 1:50.1 in his second qualifier. Based on his most recent effort over the Delaware five-eighths mile oval, Wiggle It Jiggleit was made the solid 1-2 favorite from post five in the field of seven.

Just to his outside was Rockeyed Optimist (Tim Tetrick), who arrived riding a four-race win streak including the Open/Preferred Handicap at Dover in 1:49.4 last out. The five-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Steve Elliott was the solid 9-5 second choice from post six, having won nine of 15 starts and nearly $200,000 last year when he took a mark of 1:48 at The Meadowlands.

When the gate folded in the Invitational on Monday, Wiggleit Jiggleit left very alertly to gain command down the backside and Rockeyed Optimist found his best stride early and tucked into the pocket in front of longshot One Through Ten. Wiggle It Jiggleit sped the opener in 27.1 then the reigning horse of the year got a serious breather as he strolled by the midway mark in 56.3 at which point the race was virtually over.

Wiggle It Jiggleit led the way down the backside and by three-quarters in 1:24.3 where he met token pressure from Bettor's Edge. But the reigning champ easily shook loose from that one and held sway through the lane to score by a length over Rockeyed Optimist in 1:51.4. It was a good performance for 'Wiggle' in his four-year-old debut, one that should serve as a good prep for this Saturday's third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Series for Free-For-All pacers.

One race later on the card, Bad Boy Matt (Allan Davis) got away third, brushed to command down the backside and drew clear late to capture the $33,000 Delaware Special by two lengths in 1:51.1. The six-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding trained by Wayne Givens has now won four of 11 starts this year and banked over $76,000, padded by previous scores in this event at the Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway.

Several races before the Invite, another Open hero at Yonkers, Atta Boy Dan, brushed to command before the half and then held safe the late inside bid of Jeneral Patton to capture the $36,000 Open/Preferred Handicap for older pacers by a neck in 1:51.4. A seven-year-old Western Terror gelding trained by Ron Burke, Atta Boy Dan notched his third win in eight starts this year and pushed his seasonal earnings past $72,500 and ended Jeneral Patton's four-race win streak.