Delaware, OH --- There was no denying Wiggle It Jiggleit in Heat 2 of the Little Brown Jug on Thursday.
Seemingly beaten in mid-stretch, Wiggle It Jiggleit and driver Montrell Teague fought back in the final strides to win Thursday's $677,000 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers by a nose over Lost For Words in 1:49.3 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
The closing moments of the Jug capped an epic duel between the event's first-heat winners. Lost For Words, who got a quick lead and inside position in the decisive second heat, and Wiggle It Jiggleit raced side-by-side for nearly five-eighths of a mile in the one-mile race.
Lost For Words appeared to be on his way to victory as the horses came off the final turn, opening up by more than one length on Wiggle It Jiggleit, but Wiggle It Jiggleit dug in and nipped Lost For Words at the wire.
My Hero Ron finished third and Arque Hanover was fourth.
It was a challenging trip to the winners circle nearly every step for Wiggle It Jiggleit, who fumbled a bit in the opening seconds of the race.
"My thoughts were a little confused when I saw him leaving the gate," said winning owner George Teague Jr. "Things were not working as planned. Then he looked like he popped over something at the eighth pole and that didn't work out as planned. At the head of the stretch, I dropped my head and said, 'The son of a gun is going to lose today.' He proved me wrong. He's a little different than a lot of horses and that explains what he's done today. He's got a gut like another horse doesn't have."
Teague's son Montrell agreed the game plan went out the window early in the race.
"I didn't plan on getting away third and retaking wasn't an option, I don't think," the driver said. "He was sitting third -- he did it in the first trip, so I figured I'd try it in the next trip, too. That was definitely a war.
"I thought I was done around the last turn, too, but man, he's the gutsiest horse I've ever seen."
It was the first Little Brown Jug victory for "Team Teague," which is owner George Teague Jr., his son Montrell, and trainer Clyde Francis. The 24-year-old Montrell became the second-youngest driver in history to win the Jug.
Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing's weekly poll, has won 18 of 20 races this year and pushed his season earnings to $1.79 million with his victory in the Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli's.