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Always B Miki Equals World Record

Published: July 2, 2016 9:29 pm ET

Last Comment: July 7, 2016 10:17 am ET | 21 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The 2016 edition of the $500,000 Ben Franklin lived up to its hype with a stellar cast of Free-For-All pacers producing a world record equalling performance on Sun Stakes Saturday (July 2) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Always B Miki ultimately held off Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggle It Jiggleit in a battle of the elimination winners.

Always B Miki ($5.20) completed a sweep of his elimination and the final with back-to-back 1:47 world record miles for a five-eighth-mile track. The time matches Sweet Lou’s record that was set in the Ben Franklin final two years ago.

The anticipation for this year's Ben Franklin stemmed from Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete producing world records in last week's eliminations and fellow top-ranked elim winner Wiggle It Jiggleit joining them to face off for the first time in a race. Not to mention, the field of 10 consisted of seven horses that have won in 1:48 or faster.

Wiggle It Jiggleit (Montrell Teague) was the first of the heavyweights to fire in the final from post three with Freaky Feet Pete (Trace Tetrick), who won his elimination in a 1:47.1 world record for a four-year-old pacing horse on a five-eighth-mile track, sprinting out from post six to take command after the first eighth of a mile. Meanwhile, David Miller also had Always B Miki advancing outside from post seven and they cleared to command past the :25.4 first quarter mark.

As Always B Miki raced to the half in :53, Wiggle It Jiggleit tipped out and moved up alongside the leader. They battled head-to-head past three-quarters in 1:19.2 and turned for home with Freaky Feet Pete shooting through the passing lane and Mel Mara (Corey Callahan) rallying wide outside from fourth after second over Always At My Place (Yannick Gingras) gapped cover. Down the stretch, Always B Miki ultimately held off Freaky Feet Pete to win by three-quarters of a length while Wiggle It Jiggleit finished two lengths behind in third over Mel Mara.

"I didn't think that I would be on the lead by the half," said David Miller after the race. "I definitely wanted to be close to them other two, for sure, so I did score him [down before the race] and got him a little wound up. I thought there would be a few more inside of me pushing off pretty hard, but I didn't figure on lining up and cutting it.

"We were pacing pretty hard up the backstretch there and both of us looked like we were pretty comfortable. Around the last turn, I asked my horse and he went on and finished it off.

"I expected Wiggle It Jiggleit to come back, but 'Miki' raced very well, he raced very tough, as we were hoping he would."

Jimmy Takter trains the five-year-old son of Always A Virgin and Artstopper for his wife Christina and co-owners Bluewood Stable and Roll The Dice Stable.

Luck Be Withyou ($6.60) put on a show of his own in the $75,000 Franklin Consolation. With the inside post position, driver George Napolitano Jr. fired last year's Ben Franklin champion off the gate forcing favourite Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) into the two-hole and repelling outsider Limelight Beach (Jim Morrill Jr.) through opening panels of :25.4 and :52.4. The five-year-old son of Western Ideal out of Trim Hanover then raced past three-quarters in 1:19.4 and held clear on top down the lane en route to a 1:47.4 career-best victory for trainer Chris Oakes and owner John Craig of North York, Ont. Cooperstown (Scott Zeron) followed one and three-quarter length behind in second along the pylons while Rockin Ron finished third after pulling the pocket in the stretch.

Pure Country ($4.80) added another sophomore stakes title to her resume with a victory in the first major Sun Stakes Saturday event of the night, the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Pure Country matched American Jewel and Fancy Desire's Lynch stakes record of 1:49.2 after being parked through the first half and holding off her pursuers.

As the parked out Darlinonthebeach (David Miller) worked to clear early leader I Said Diamonds (Matt Kakaley) past the :27 opening quarter, driver Brett Miller had Pure Country advancing from post seven and cleared to command at the half in :54.2. Blue Moon Stride (Andrew McCarthey) had followed the 8-5 favoured elimination winner and dropped into a two-hole opening as they raced to three-quarters in 1:22.1. Down the stretch, Blue Moon Stride tipped back out, but could not catch Pure Country, who prevailed by half a length and lowered her lifetime mark by one-fifth of a second. Lindwood Beachgirl (Yannick Gingras) finished third over I Said Diamonds.

Pure Country also won the Miss Pennsylvania earlier this season at Pocono as well as the Fan Hanover Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack prior to a sweep of her Lynch elimination and the final.

"She's pure class," said Jimmy Takter, who trains the Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana filly for Diamond Creek Racing. "Every time she comes into a serious game, it seems like she just gets it done. She's just classy."

In the $50,000 Lynch Consolation, favourite Call Me Queen Be ($3.40) and driver Scott Zeron followed the cover of Sail To The Beach (Eric Goodell) down the backstretch and overtook that filly down the lane for the two-length victory. Ross Croghan trains the winning Somebeachsomewhere-Preppy Party Girl filly, who equalled her lifetime mark of 1:50.3 for owners Dana Parham and the Let It Ride Stables Inc.

Racing Hill ($3.20) gave driver Brett Miller back-to-back Sun Stakes Saturday victories as he secured the lead early and powered home to a career-best 1:49 win in the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for three-year-old male pacers.

With the inner advantage over three early leavers, Racing Hill assumed the lead through a contested :25.4 first quarter. After taking a second quarter breather to the half in :54.4, the 3-5 favourite rebuffed a first over challenge from his fellow elimination winner, Control The Moment (Randy Waples), through three-quarters in 1:22 and powered home to a two and a half length victory. JK Will Power (Yannick Gingras) followed in the pocket to finish second and Boston Red Rocks (Tim Tetrick) was third, with Control The Moment fourth.

"The last thing that I wanted to happen in that race was for Control The Moment to get to the front and then me be first over on Control The Moment. I did not want the race to go like that," said Miller of his early racing strategy with the Tony Alagna trainee. "I either wanted to be on the front or sitting in the two-hole behind Control The Moment.

"They actually beat me off the gate, but they couldn't get crossed over, so I kind of got lucky."

Owned and bred by Hamilton, Ont. resident Tom Hill, the Roll With Joe-Chasing Ideals colt was a runner-up in the North America Cup prior to lowering his lifetime mark with back-to-back victories in his Hempt elimination and the final.

"This colt here, he's so handy," noted Miller. "He just showed there that he can go such fast fractions and then he can go slow fractions. That's what makes him a very good horse, he's so handy."

Hambletonian hopeful Southwind Frank ($2.40) delivered as the favourite in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotters to complete the stakes action.

Southwind Frank and driver Yannick Gingras left from post seven and cleared Trolley (Marcus Miller), who had inherited the lead during the :27.3 first quarter when Brooklyn Hill (David Miller) broke stride leaving three-wide and Hollywood Highway (John Campbell) made a miscue and was taken off the front. From there, Southwind Frank carved out middle splits of :56.2 and 1:24.4 with elimination winner Dayson (Jim Morrill Jr.) coming only within a length of the leader before breaking stride. Southwind Frank then cruised home to win in 1:52.4 with Trolley all-out in second two and a quarter lengths behind. Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick), a neck elimination winner over Southwind Frank last week, came on for third.

"I just let the dust settle. I wasn't sure actually what I was going to do, they were marching pretty good," said Gingras of his early strategy. "I was going to try to maybe get away in front of Scott [Zeron and Reigning Moni] and race him from behind, but then obviously David's horse made a break and John's made a break so that changed everything.

"He was a completely different horse. Last week, looking back at it, he was a little anxious in the post parade, which he's never done before. But I did score him down last week, so I kind of put the blame on that, but tonight he was so relaxed and he felt like his old self. Up the backstretch today, he was really latching on to me like he used to do. Just last week was a little blip in the road and thankfully it was just an elimination."

Ron Burke trains the Muscle Hill-Flawless Lindy colt for owner Southwind Frank Partners.

After the $75,000 Beal Consolation favourite Lagerfeld (Yannick Gingras) broke stride racing in third at the half, Milligans School ($21.80) journeyed first over and pulled off the 9-1 upset. Rebounding from a pair of recent miscues of his own, the Yankee Glide-Tori Ann colt was back on track, scoring in a career-best clocking of 1:53.2 for owner Stroy Inc. and the husband and wife, driver and trainer duo of Andy and Julie Miller.

July 7, 2016 - 10:17 amOut of the 3 of them, WIJI

john thomas SAID...

Out of the 3 of them, WIJI had the best post in #3. You might as well call that the rail as WIJI went to the top asap.
FFP post 6, Miki post 7.
Looking at it that way you can clearly see there were no excuses for WIJI.
WIJI took the lead but for the sake of not getting into a speed duel WIJI had to let FFP go. Then Miki did the same to FFP.
Nothing but a classic case of the Meadowlands shuffle.
The only way WIJI has a shot would have been to retake on FFP and then take a 2 hole trip behind MIKI who was coming but Miki was coming fast.
Great racing.
I think a better post might have been 5 for WIJI so he gets the same advantage that Miki had.

July 6, 2016 - 1:17 pmAt Joe

July 6, 2016 - 12:56 pmThanks John Thomas and if

Joe Riga SAID...

Thanks John Thomas

and if anyone needs any proof I still have the program from when I saw him at Greenwood to prove it.

July 6, 2016 - 11:49 amHi Mike He never raced at 4

Joe Riga SAID...

Hi Mike

He never raced at 4 but he beat 4 year olds as a 3 year old. Also, the fact that he didn't race today's horses is irrelevant because there is no way to compare which era had the better horses. Considering that he went 1:49 as a 3 year old almost 40 years ago I'm pretty sure he would've been just as good today.
On another note, yes it was a great race. I think WIJI and Miki raced their hearts out. FFP had the best trip and couldn't get the job done so I put him at number 3 right now. I would've liked to see the outcome if WIJI had the rail and Miki was parked first over. I know people think Miki went parked first over the week before and cruised down the lane but he didn't go first over against WIJI. I am not saying he would or wouldn't have eventually gotten by but I don't think he would explode away from WIJI. I think it would've been a much closer race. Either way I'm sure they'll hook up again sometime so we will see a rematch. As I've said before though I would like to see a rematch on a bigger track where posts don't matter as much.
I concur with those who say Montrell may have erred. No disrespect to Montrell but I think he is no David Miller or Tim Tetrick. Miller outdrove him Saturday and I personally feel Tetrick outdrove him in the NA Cup with Wakazashi last year.

As for picking a horse from now Mike, I don't really have one. I enjoy them all and it's a lot of fun to see these guys butt heads and go at it. It makes the game a lot of fun. Just bring up Niatross now and again because I think he is the best ever but I think I've made my opinion known on that by now.

On another note whatever happened to Artspeak. Haven't seen him yet this year???

July 6, 2016 - 10:36 amI had to look up Niatross'

john thomas SAID...

I had to look up Niatross' record.
Massively impressive.
37 of 39 lifetime.
— Set 15 World Records.

— Smashed 10 Track Records.

— 24 sub two minute victories in one season was a record.

— Won 19 consecutive races, suffered two defeats, then stormed back to win his last 18 races.

— First horse of any breed to win over $2,000,000 in two seasons of racing.

— Retired as the richest standardbred ever at the time

July 6, 2016 - 9:10 amWondering what would happen

Wondering what would happen to any horse that had the trip that was seen the week before when MIKI set the world record and would have broken any size track world record had he not gotten sideways in the 2nd turn. It slowed him down a lot and he lost ground and speed at that point. Yet he still set the world record!! Even this race Miki was outside until almost the half in :53 and still went big third quarter and mile. His fourth low 1:47 mile in a row !!! No excuses, he is far and above the best horse on the planet now and has been for awhile. All the expert horse people have said for a long time Miki is the horse that will set records. I believe he will but I also believe horses are going so fast that some random little name horse will break the record as well on a freak day.

I also feel that FFP had his coming out party this series as well. He went two amazing trips and I feel he will carry that most of the summer and may be the best as year goes on. He definitely seems like he will beat WIJI on any track except maybe the half mile and even did so last year.

I respect you Mike for loving WIJI, and you are exactly what the industry needs. Solid fans. WIJI is also what the industry needs as he is by far the bigger star with more fans than the other two and being a gelding that is a great thing for years to come. It does make me wonder why you would sooner own him though being a gelding as the other two have much more earnings potential? I assume you are just talking from a racing point right now.

Both FFP and WIJI are awesome horses to be able to compete with the older horses and maybe next year if they improve anymore they may be going 1:46 trips each week. Never a certainty as maybe this is their best season and they can't compete next year?

One thing for sure, MIKI is the fastest of the group. WIJI had inside position and couldn't take advantage. He has the burst off the gate but FFP carried it and blew right by. When Miki made his move neither could hang him out. He has bursts way too fast for all horses. You can't expect the race to go much better for WIJI. Actually think if WIJI has the 7 hole he probably is lucky to be 4th or 5th honestly. He needs the race his way. Except for the LB Jug (where he went an amazing trip) he has lost practically every time he hasn't gotten things his own way. Yet, because it was such a great trip, you and many people think he is invincible like that always. That was against some 3 year olds. Now he races the Miki, Mel Mara and company and even FFP in the big races.

The only races Miki lost in last two years was his opener (a tightener where he went to back and came home in :25, and a meaningless overnight race when he went in 1:47). Hardly worth pushing him in. When the big money is on the line, be smart and place your bets on MIKI. Solidly the best.

The real winners: The fans as there will be such great races this year as we have several solid horses in the open division like in the year 2013.

July 5, 2016 - 4:46 pmJoe that's fine, he never

Mike Scott SAID...

Joe that's fine, he never raced at 4. He never faced these type of horses that are competing today. Pick a horse that is racing today :) there are many to pick from. On another note, what a horse race!

July 4, 2016 - 3:53 pmHere's my little two cents.

Joe Riga SAID...

Here's my little two cents. No horse was ever good enough to actually park THE MIGHTY NIATROSS :)

July 4, 2016 - 1:34 pmI don't recall ever saying he

Mike Scott SAID...

I don't recall ever saying he was the best ever, what I did say is I love this horse. That I would take him over any horse I've ever seen race. I said I liked the fact that he wasn't in a big stable, father and son team. I like his atmosphere, his character in the winners circle. I did predict he would set a world record. Some fans said he could not leave, I don't see anything that can head him off the wings. Shamballa's connections found out what type of gait speed this horse has. He owns the gait. (Period ) I think perhaps Montrell may have made a mistake, it will not happen again. :) Enjoy the races, best of luck.

July 4, 2016 - 1:00 pmAlways B Miki had a tough

john thomas SAID...

Always B Miki had a tough trip the week before going first up, getting a little rough on the turn and still exploding down the stretch for a world record...or did you forget?
He can go that trip...WIJI cannot.
Miki is actually better off the pace.
Nope it's not over. Thats what I told the rest of the WIJI fans claiming he is the best ever.
SBSW only lost 1 race in his life right at the wire.
How many has WIJI lost lifetime?
He has now lost 8 races out of 39...hardly a record for "The best ever"

July 4, 2016 - 12:30 pmWhat's done is done ! Give

Mike Scott SAID...

What's done is done ! Give credit to all the horses in that race , but I wonder what would have happened to any of the horses had they had the trip wiggleit jiggleit had ? Bravo to always be Miki . It's not over yet :))

July 3, 2016 - 9:58 pmDid the kid get schooled, or

Did the kid get schooled, or just get beat by better horses? WIJI can fire with the best... if your gonna leave,LEAVE. The horse gets lots of respect. When (MIKI) is right, he is high end fast! Let's hope he stays together, because I hope to see what he can go over Lexington.

July 3, 2016 - 8:41 pmAfter seeing Always B Miki

Will Yamakva SAID...

After seeing Always B Miki coming, why did Montrell stay in the two hole? He should have removed and not tried to come at this winner from first-over... instead, he could have of gone at the winner in the lane.

Once WIJI did not reclaim, this was over

July 3, 2016 - 3:12 pmI would have liked to see

Mike Scott SAID...

I would have liked to see wiggle it jiggleit to have removed after he let FFP go. The outcome may have been FFP?

July 3, 2016 - 10:33 amI thought Teague cost Wiggle

I thought Teague cost Wiggle It Jiggleit the race. First, coming from the three hole he should never have been outrun by Freaky Feet Pete on the first turn. Now, WiJi is third and ends up behind Pete and Miki and soon finds himself in an all-too familiar position running first over all the way around the track.

July 3, 2016 - 10:09 amI'm a big Wiggle It Jiggleit

Ted Decker SAID...

I'm a big Wiggle It Jiggleit fan but my hat goes off to Miki. A big trip and hung tough. WIJI will win his share.

July 3, 2016 - 9:50 amThe king has been crowned.

john thomas SAID...

The king has been crowned. Always B Miki is a monster.
Still lots of racing left in the season.
Hopefully they all stay sound, from here to The US Pacing Championship, The Canadian Pacing Derby, The Red Mile and onto the Breeders Crown.
I just have a feeling that WIJI will avoid some of the bigger tracks where he is not at his best.

July 3, 2016 - 7:12 amAlways B Miki never got a

John Carter SAID...

Always B Miki never got a breather the entire race. This is a tough group of aged pacers but make no mistake about it, if this monster stays sound he will dominate this division.

July 3, 2016 - 4:28 amI dont think so. the best

Greg Judson SAID...

I dont think so. the best horse now is the miki... lets be honest.... do you think

July 2, 2016 - 11:48 pmMiki is consistently fast.

Miki is consistently fast. That's 3 low 1:47's 3 weeks in a row..... WOW!!!!!

July 2, 2016 - 10:59 pmWOW, what a race. I will

Mike Scott SAID...

WOW, what a race. I will still take wiggle it jiggleit over any horse I've ever seen race.


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