Lather Up Vs. McWicked, Again

Published: January 18, 2020 06:14 pm EST

Fifteen years ago, George Teague captured Horse of the Year honours with the sensational Rainbow Blue. He looked to have another chance at a Horse of the Year connection this past year with the co-fastest Standardbred in harness racing history, Lather Up.

A finalist for 2019 Older Pacing Horse of the Year, Lather Up had his season cut short due to injury. Up until his final race, the 2019 Canadian Pacing Derby, Lather Up was the clear cut choice as the best older male pacer. With wins in the Graduate Final -- his 1:46 world record effort -- the W. R. Haughton, the Sam McKee Memorial and Dan Patch Invitational, the talk wasn't about beating Lather Up. It was all about history, and Lather Up making it in Lexington.

Racing will never know how fast Lather Up could have paced during the day in Lexington, but Teague feels there hasn't been a horse like him.

"When travelling in a straight line and on his game, he was unbeatable in his class," Teague told Trot Insider. "But that wasn't always the case."

It was the case more often than not for Lather Up's connections. A homebred of Gary & Barbara Iles who now share ownership with Teague and Taylor Made Stallions of Nicholasville, Ky., Lather Up (Im Gorgeous - Pocket Comb) won 23 of 37 lifetime starts in his career, with a 8-1-1 record from 12 starts as a four-year-old in 2019.

"Definitely one of the fastest horses I’ve seen race, and it was fun to be a part of it," continued Teague, who's been connected with the aforementioned Rainbow Blue and Wiggle It Jiggleit over his illustrious career. He considers Lather Up's mile on in the 2019 Sam McKee Memorial on Hambletonian "one of the most impressive miles" he's ever seen. At the extended distance of 1-1/8 miles, Lather Up led from start to finish, reaching the mile point in 1:46.3 before going the extra eighth in :12.4. Thus, Lather Up is the only horse in harness racing history with two sub-1:47 miles.

Teague was quick to give credit to his team for the success with Lather Up, but also gave a ton of praise to Lather Up for being an exquisite animal.

"Clyde Francis and Montrell Teague, both of them did a great job. And Jody Jamieson did a great job filling in. But it all comes down to the horse."

Now, Lather Up has to prove himself in a different arena -- the stud barn. Originally slated for stallion duty in New York, the connections shifted Lather Up to Ohio for 2020. And Teague feels the competition off the track is just as fierce.

"Making a horse a successful stud is a big challenge these days with so many studs standing and so few broodmares. Like this year, a lot of popular stallions going to stud's a flooded market right now so I hope he gets the mares. That’s going to be greatly important and equally as important I hope he gets a few good ones along the way."

Lather Up faces McWicked in the Older Pacing Horse category at the 2019 O'Brien Awards, and regardless of the outcome Teague spoke as highly of the awards gala as he did his retired O'Brien finalist.

"The O’Brien Awards is definitely the most classy of all the awards I’ve ever been to. They do it up in first class," stated Teague. "I’ve been fortunate to receive a couple of O’Brien Awards for horses over the years, and there’s always a thrill to be one of the finalists."

The 2019 O'Brien Awards Black Tie Gala takes place on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel in Mississauga, Ontario. Tickets are still available for the O’Brien Awards. To purchase O’Brien tickets, contact:

◈ Kathy Wade Vlaar at [email protected] or 905-858-3060 (Ext. 207).

◈ Hailey Saunders at [email protected] or 905-858-3060 (Ext. 243).

Standardbred Canada has partnered with FitzRoy Dress Rental and Moores for discounts for O’Brien Awards guests.

FitzRoy Dress Rental Discount – Women can rent their dresses from FitzRoy Dress Rentals online or in-store and receive a 15 per cent discount with the promo code OBRIEN15. For an additional fee you can request to have the dress dropped off and picked up at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale Hotel. For complete information, click here.

Moores Tuxedo DiscountClick here for info and flyer.

Keep up to date on the O’Brien Awards and follow the 2019 O’Brien Awards Facebook Page.

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