Strong harness field for $500,000 Ben Franklin Stakes
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete join 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit on Saturday in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Stakes at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
This will be the first time all three horses have been in the same race.
Wiggle It Jiggleit is the 5-2 morning line favorite. He has won eight of 11 races this year and 31 of 38 lifetime, finishing worse than second only once.
Always B Miki, a 5-year-old stallion, has won eight of 10 races since returning from injury last October. Freaky Feet Pete has won five of six races this year and 29 of 33 career starts.
Always B Miki won last week in 1:47 at Pocono, equaling the record for the fastest mile on a five-eighths-mile track. One race later, Freaky Feet Pete won in 1:47.1, setting the record for the fastest mile by a 4-year-old on a five-eighths track. Before those two performances, Wiggle It Jiggleit won in 1:48.1.
The fastest pacing mile is the 1:46.1 time-trial mark by Cambest in 1993. The fastest time for a race mile is 1:46.4 by four horses.
Larry Rheinheimer bred Freaky Feet Pete and trains the stallion for wife Mary Jo and son Marty. He thinks the record for a race mile - if not the time-trial clocking could fall in the Franklin final.
''It's a possibility if it all goes the right way,'' he said. ''But I don't worry about that until afterwards. My goal is to be the first one across the finish line. The time? We'll take that when it comes.''
Wiggle It Jiggleit co-owner George Teague Jr. understands the challenge.
''I'm not going to kid you, I'd rather be 1-9 going for $500,000 than have to race those other two horses,'' he said. ''I'd be stupid to say anything differently. But to be a part of this, it's definitely a lot of fun. I'm all pumped up. I love our chances.''