Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to a stakes-filled card on Friday, October 23 as Grand Circuit racing action made a stop at the seven-eighths mile oval for the third time this season. The 13-race card was highlighted by divisions of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotters and pacers and it was harness racing’s top ranked horse, Wiggle It Jiggleit, who stole the show.
After suffering a loss in his last Hoosier Park start, Wiggle It Jiggleit not only made amends, but made a statement in his $45,300 split of the Circle City Stakes as he coasted to the wire in 1:49.4. Driven by regular pilot Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggle went gate to wire to finish four and a half lengths in front of Mohawk Warrior and John DeLong.
Teague sent the overwhelming favourite away from the gate firing and he got the first call through an opening panel in :26.4 while the rest of the field sorted out early positions. Wiggle It Jiggleit remained uncontested through splits of :55.3 and 1:22.4, and began to put his talent on display.
As the field turned for home, it was all over but the shouting as Wiggle It Jiggleit’s lead was ever-increasing. Using a :27 final quarter, the world champion son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover coasted to the wire under a hand-drive to notch his 19th seasonal victory.
“Looking at the program, it looked like I had the best horse so I knew I wanted to be on the front,” Teague noted after the win. “They didn’t press me too hard and I just let him do it all on his own to the wire. Horses like him don’t come around very often; I’m having the time of my life with him. This has all been so rewarding for me.”
Trained by Clyde Francis and owned by George Teague Jr. Inc., Wiggle It Jiggleit pushed his career earnings to $1,896,170 with the victory.
Wiggle It Jiggleit’s next engagement will be the $275,000 Monument Circle for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings slated for Friday, October 30 at Hoosier Park.
On the trotting side of the stakes action, Homicide Hunter put together his own impressive performance as he took home top honours in the second division of the $43,000 Circle City Stakes to remain undefeated in 16 starts this season. Staging a big rally late in the long Hoosier Park lane, Homicide Hunter and John DeLong used a :27.3 final quarter to surge past Muscle Up The Goal and Aaron Merriman, and stop the timer in 1:54.1.
DeLong rated Homicide Hunter off the early pace while Classic Venture and Trace Tetrick dictated early fractions of :27 and :57. Homicide Hunter moved to the outer flow down the backside, but would have his work cut out for home turning for home. DeLong tipped his mount to the outside of tiring cover and Homicide Hunter found another gear late in the lane to get the victory and kept his winning streak intact.
“He’s an amazing animal,” trainer Curt Grummel noted in the winner’s circle. “I thought they would probably get him tonight after we were so far back at the half, but he really impressed me tonight. He’s just an amazing horse.”
Homicide Hunter sent his seasonal earnings to $385,737 with the victory. Owned by Dr. Patrick Graham, the son of Mr Cantab-Evening Prayer has now won 19 of 26 lifetime starts.
The connections of Homicide Hunter said he will most likely be supplemented to the $250,000 Carl Erskine for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Hoosier Park on October 30.
Other stakes winners on the evening included Roland N Rock scoring in 1:51.4 in the first division of the stakes action for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings for driver Aaron Merriman and trainer Rob Harmon. Chips Starr and Hugh Beatty pulled a $52.60 upset in their division of three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, and stopped the timer 1:55.2.
Bright Baby Blues delivered as the heavy betting favourite in the first division of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies in 1:54.4 to give Aaron Merriman his second win of the night. Muscle Baby Doll and John DeLong took the second division for three-year-old trotting fillies scoring in near gate-to-wire fashion in 1:53.1.
Rockin Good and Triple V Hanover took home top honours in their respective divisions of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. Rockin Good and trainer/driver Jared Finn wired the field in 1:51.2 to score their sixth win of the season. Trace Tetrick used the same front-running tactics to get Triple V Hanover home a winner in the final division scoring in 1:52 for trainer Brian Brown.
The stakes action will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, October 24 as the 14-race card will feature the Madison County Stakes for two-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The first race will line-up behind the gate at 5:45 p.m.
(With files from Hoosier Park)