‘Wiggle It’ thrilling local horse racing fans

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …

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Wiggle It Jiggleit — try saying that without smiling a little — created quite a bit of excitement in Dover Thursday night.

From the Editor logo copy copyHarness racing enthusiasts were out in big numbers to see the country’s top pacer in the $201,900 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs.

“I compliment the people,” said Mr. Bachrad, publicity director for Dover Downs. “When there’s something special, they’ll really come out.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit, trained east of Harrington by George Teague Jr., didn’t disappoint. His son, 24-year-old Montrell, guided the pacer through the mile to a win in 1:49.4.

Mr. Bachrad, who has been around race tracks for decades, said fans are really enjoying the competition and the speed these days.

“The racing is faster and it’s not as casual as it used to be,” he said. “Many people have a lot invested and tracks are faster than before because the surfaces are better. A racing bike can cost $6,000. They can save seconds and that’s the difference where you finish in a race.”

Already, Wiggle It Jiggleit has won more than $2 million this year and there’s more possibly in store.

On Monday, Nov. 23, Wiggle It Jiggleit will be back at Dover Downs for the eliminations of the Progress Pace.

The following Monday, the best of the eliminations will be back for the $300,000-plus final.

“This is one of the few times you can’t miss it,” said Mr. Bachrad.

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Mr. Bachrad, by the way, was absent for good reason on Thursday night.

He was inducted into the Norristown (Pennsylvania) High School Hall of Fame in recognition of his contribution to harness racing writing and publicity.

He was a member of the class of 1953 — one that turned out numerous Olympic athletes.

Among the most recognizable of Norristown High graduates is baseball great Tommy Lasorda.

On Thursday, he was joined by a space shuttle scientist, clergyman and naval officer.

Mr. Bachrad has been associated with track publicity for the better part of five decades, serving at Brandywine, Garden State and Dover Downs.

He has been at Dover since 1996 when the casinos’ launch gave racing a big boost.

Thursday was only the second racing day he’s missed at the track during that time.

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Pumpkins didn’t fly in Dover this year, as hoped.

But that doesn’t mean that people who are out of their gourds for this Sussex County fun haven’t had a chance to see them fly elsewhere.

Licensed competitions, officially sanctioned by the Sussex-based World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association, have been held in Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

The 2015 Delaware edition, originally scheduled for the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, was canceled because of an insurance issue. It was the second consecutive year the event hasn’t happened in Delaware since it was first conceived in the 1990s in Sussex County.

Chunks are being surveyed, recorded and posted.

So far, America Chunker is the leader, firing a pumpkin from an air cannon a distance of 4,536.57 feet at the Extreme Chunkin in Loudon, New Hampshire.

The same air cannon holds the world record of 4,694.68 feet, set in 2013 in Bridgeville.

In second place on the 2015 chart is Big Ten Inch 10 with a launch of 4,440.5 feet in Colorado.

If you didn’t get to travel to one of the events this year, you might be able to quench your thirst with a beer and remote control on Nov. 28 when the Science channel airs another Punkin Chunkin special. The network will reveal fans’ favorite three teams.

Check www.punkinchunkin.com for more.

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Around the newspaper operation, we’re seeing the pace picking up in advance of Thanksgiving. It’s just 11 days away.

Another big Thanksgiving edition stuffed with holiday shopping guides is in the works.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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