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TWO WORLD RECORDS EMERGE FROM BEN FRANKLIN ELIMINATIONS

-- PHHA/Poconos

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- June 25, 2016 -- Social media was abuzz when Wiggle It Jiggleit captured the first of three $30,000 Ben Franklin eliminations on Saturday (June 25) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, but the horse that many considered to be the star attraction was overshadowed by his two colleagues that triumphed in the two following divisions and establishes a contest in the $500,000 final on Saturday (July 2) that may very well be epic.

Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 2015 Harness Horse of the Year, and is the top-ranked horse in the industry poll. He won his Franklin elimination in 1:48.1.

Which was the slowest elimination. By a full second.

Because world records were set in the other two cuts: first the 5-year-old pacing stallion Always B Miki took his Franklin elim in 1:47, equaling Sweet Lou’s all-time world record for a five-eighths-mile track (set in the Franklin final two years ago) and missing the all-time race record by a single tick, and then Freaky Feet Pete was off by himself much of the other elim and still crossed the wire in 1:47.1, a world record for a 4-year-old pacing horse on a five-eighths-mile track.

Always B Miki couldn’t have had a much more difficult trip, yet still equaled the all-time record for Pocono’s size of oval with unbelievable resilience and heart in the lane. The son of Always A Virgin was moved uncovered by driver David Miller, after Mel Mara had been hustled by Corey Callahan to the top past the :26 quarter. Always B Miki uncorked a frightening brush sans earplugs and looked ready to sail by going to turn two, but he didn’t enter the turn 100 percent smoothly, giving Mel Mara a chance to fight back and hang him to a :53 half and a 1:19.4 record-promising time territory.

But what looked like it would be a good duel home quickly turned into a route. Always B Miki had just gone :27 and :26.4 quarters uncovered, yet he still had a :27.1 kick home, into what was still a slight breeze, to win by 3-3/4 lengths over second-over All Bets Off (himself a world record setter at Pocono), with Mel Mara a half-length further behind in third after giving his utmost in pursuit of victory.

Always B Miki now has won four of six races and $91,500 this year, and 22 of 41 races and $1,320,076 lifetime. Jimmy Takter has brought the pacer all the way back from injury to the top of his game for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter.

Freaky Feet Pete made his East Coast debut a showstopper in his Franklin elim, with driver Trace Tetrick joining brother Tim as a stakeswinner on the night as the 4-year-old Rockin Image stallion lowered Pet Rock’s divisional world record by a fifth of a second with his 1:47.1 win, lowering his personal mark by one second. Tetrick had Freaky Feet Pete rolling before the :26.1 quarter, and they posted middle fractions of :53 and 1:20 without any particular pressure. That “pressure” faded even further into the distance in the stretch, as Freaky Feet Pete expanded his final margin to 5- 3/4 lengths
over longshot Rock N Roll World, with Sunfire Blue Chip coming on for third and making the Franklin final.

Freaky Feet Pete is now 5-for-6 in 2016 and an amazing 29-for-33 in his career, with $1,224,050 in his till for trainer Larry Rhineheimer and owners Mary Jo Rhineheimer and Marty Rheinheimer and he completed the “Indiana-sired” sweep of the Franklin elims, joined by Always B Miki and, oh yeah, Wiggle It Jiggleit.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, winner of the Hempt and the Battle of the Brandywine here last year – and his only start as a 2-year-old – has now visited Pocono’s Victory Lane three years running after an impressive 1:48.1 victory. His victory was a contested one, at least for the first half, as Montrell Teague and Wiggle It Jiggleit let Shamballa go just before a 2:5.4 quarter, and then State Treasurer quickly rushed around both to the lead early in front of the stands. But Teague pressed on with the defending Horse of the Year, brushing again and taking the lead by the half in :54.

The pair got to the three-quarter pole in 1:21.1, and through the lane Wiggle It Jiggleit looked well in control, with a :27 kicker keeping State Treasurer at bay by 1-1/4 lengths at the finish. Another 2-1/2 lengths back, Always At My Place and Shamballa deadheated for third, and after a consultation with officials and the rulebook, the field for the Franklin Final became ten, as both horses will come back next week.

Wiggle It Jiggleit ran his impressive statistics to 8-for-11 this year, 31-for-38 lifetime, with his earnings now at $2,630,760.

And in the next, staggering 40 minutes, the conversation changed from “How much do you think he’ll win by next week?” to “You think he’s got enough to win next week?”

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