Longshot Wiggler Delivers In Ohio

When 25-1 longshot Wiggler captured her $40,000 Ohio Sires Stakes division Saturday night (July 2) in a career best 1:53.2 at Scioto Downs, it made Terry Saffran a very happy man.

Terry, a Toledo, OH resident, owns the daughter of Mr Wiggles-Do Me Freedom-Keystone Raider in partnership with Suzanne Bates of Gibsonburg, OH.

“I had harness horses years ago -- back in the early 1990s,” Terry said. “But early last Spring I got the itch to get back into the business so I contacted Tyler (trainer Bates) and told him I was interested in getting a horse.”

In May 2015, Terry and Tyler went to the Spring Blooded Horse Sale at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

“I liked the looks of this filly and when I saw her breeding, I liked her even more,” Terry recalled. “I felt like we stole her for what we paid for her.”

Thirty-seven hundred dollars later, Terry put his new filly on the trailer.

“I’m a big fan of Mr Wiggles,” Terry admitted. “To me, he’s a stallion who has it all. In addition to being a top racehorse, he’s got great breeding. So I was very excited to have a filly by him.”

Terry raced his filly last summer at the fairs, where she was winless all season, but thought enough of her to put her in the $35,811 Ohio Breeders two-year-old Filly Championship at Delaware, where she finished a game third in 1:57.

“She raced huge in there and that’s when I thought she’d be a very good filly this year,” Terry said. “Sometimes trainers throw out the horses they don’t think are going to make it to the stakes early in their careers and a guy like me gets lucky later on.”

Terry has indeed been lucky with Wiggler, now a robust three-year-old. After earning $11,174 last season, she’s amassed an additional $37,920 this year with a 3-1-1 record in ten starts. With Jeff Nisonger at the lines in her OSS triumph, Wiggler rallied from the back of the pack to prevail impressively by a length over rivals Hooray For Hazel (Dan Noble) and Clarebear (Peter Wrenn).

“When I saw the time at the half (:54.3) and then the three-quarters (1:23.2), I knew she was going to be flying home,” Terry said. “She made a big move in that last turn.”

Wiggler brushed home in :28.4 with Nisonger sitting chilly in the sulky.

“I give all the credit to Tyler (trainer Bates) for getting this filly to where she is today,” Terry stressed. “This filly was just colt sore last season and Tyler is very patient. He gave her a lot of time off over the winter to mature and it’s paid off. Her breeding has really shown through too.”

Brenda Teague was all smiles as well when her charge Miss Me Yet prevailed in a new lifetime clocking of 1:53.2 in the first $40,000 OhSS division.

Brenda, who harnessed the daughter of Im Gorgeous for her brother George Teague, Jr., and the Teague Racing Partnership of Boynton Beach, FL, said the filly was just getting over a bout with sickness, but that “she raced her guts out tonight.”

Driven by Randy Tharps, Miss Me Yet took advantage of a speed duel by Big Bad Ashley (Jeremy Smith) and She Gone (Chris Page), using a :28.4 final brush to win by a length. Johns One Desire (Kayne Kauffman) got up for second, while She Gone held on for third.

“That :26.4 third quarter took its toll on the other horses and Miss Me Yet benefitted from the second-over trip,” Tharps noted.

Miss Me Yet, who was bred by Fannin Racing and George Teague, Jr., pushed her seasonal earning to $33,360 and career earnings to $226,985 with the victory, the sixth of her career in 18 starts.

Gorgeous Road, the 8-5 favourite in the third $40,000 OhSS division, looked every bit a champion as she cruised to a front-stepping 1:54.4 triumph for co-owner/driver Kurt Sugg. Conditioned and co-owned by Cory Deyermand of Dorset, OH, along with Patricia Nappi of Jefferson, OH, the daughter of Im Gorgeous picked up her fourth victory of the season, as she bested her rivals by 2-1/4 lengths. Gorgeous Road now has $51,568 in her 2016 coffers and $73,401 in her career bankroll. She was bred by Spring Haven Farm and Doug Millard Holdings USA.

Given a perfect steer by Josh Sutton, My Tweed Heart captured the fourth and final $40,000 OhSS test for sophomore pacing fillies. The daughter of Manhardt-Tweedle D was sent off as the public’s 1-2 favourite and used a garden trip behind eventual second-place finisher Ohsowigglesspecial to notch her fifth victory of the season. Bred by Stanley Swango III of Florida, the Jim Dailey-trained lass is owned by Carl and Melanie Atley of Xenia, OH and Alan Keith of Pataskala, OH. My Tweed Heart upped her seasonal earnings to $73,950 with this latest win and lifetime she’s amassed $206,202 from eight triumphs in 13 career starts.

Ohio Sires Stakes continue Sunday evening with 14 divisions of two-year-old trotting and pacing fillies at Northfield Park, with a post time of 6:00 p.m., ET. Another 16 Ohio Sires Stakes divisions for two-year-old trotting and pacing colts will be contested Monday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m., ET, post at Scioto Downs.

(with files from OSDF)