From the Sports Editor: Teague seeks win in Little Brown Jug

Long before Wiggle It Jiggleit came along, there was Mr. Wiggles.

George Teague Jr. owned and raced the stallion during his racing career.

The Harrington-based horseman said Mr. Wiggles always gave him everything he had on the track.

“I know he gave a hundred percent,” Teague was quoted in a story early this year. “He was always one of my favorites. Of all the horses I’ve had, he was one of the toughest horses that I put on the racetrack.”

Teague said he sees some of the same personality in Mr. Wiggles’ offspring, Wiggle It Jiggleit.

“He reminds me of his dad,” said Teague. “He appears to be a real serious horse.”

Having already pulled away from the rest of the field for harness-racing stardom this summer, Wiggle It Jiggleit can make a lasting name for himself on Thursday night.

The three-year-old male pacer will go into the 70th running of the Little Brown Jug as the horse to beat in the $677,000 marquee event in Delaware, Ohio.

Wiggle It Jiggleit was the 4-5 favorite in his elimination race, which is scheduled for 4:31 p.m. on Thursday. The finals are slated for 6:13 p.m.

Already this year the Harrington horse has won 16 of 18 races and won $1.43 million. He’ll be driven by Teague’s 24-year-old son, Montrell Teague, and trained by Clyde Francis, Teague’s 58-year-old assistant from Houston.

In 2011, the Teagues brought Custard The Dragon to the Little Brown Jug but didn’t even make it out of the elimination race.

“Custard wasn’t this horse,” the elder Teague was quoted on ESPN.com. “He drew badly and it just wasn’t a good day for him at all. He was beaten when the draw came out. I didn’t feel comfortable with him at all.

“This horse (Wiggle It Jiggleit) is a way better horse than he was. I’m a lot more excited about bringing him. He’s probably about as heavy a favorite that’s ever come into the Jug. We’re loving our chances. If he shows up and races like he’s been, we should be in a real good spot.”

Bittersweet night for Elena

Elena Delle Donne’s MVP season came to a premature end on Monday night but not before the former Delaware basketball star put up one more memorable performance.

The third-year pro erupted for 40 points as her Chicago Sky fell to Indiana, 100-89, in the WNBA Eastern Conference semifinals. The Fever won the best-of-three series, 2-1.

“It’s shocking,” said Delle Donne. “We definitely didn’t expect to be here and talking about exit physicals and exit meetings. I think the last game Indiana got a lot of momentum and they just carried it through and I expect them to carry it through the rest of playoffs. They’re a great team.”

Delle Donne’s 40 points were the third-most in a WNBA playoff game. She was 15-of-22 from the floor, including 5-for-10 from three-point range.

This year she ended up averaging 23.4 points per game, two points off the league scoring record for a season.

“I knew Elena was going to have a good game today,” Indiana’s Tamika Catchings said on Monday night. “You can’t hold someone like that, with all the weapons that she has. We have been blessed with the last couple games that she hasn’t really produced like she did tonight, but tonight was her night.

“Elena got her touches, she got her baskets, but that’s what you expect from the MVP. And she’s a great player all around and definitely a hard match up for all of us.”

Time will tell

After two-plus seasons under coach Dave Brock, the Delaware football team owns a record of just 14-13.

With the Blue Hens (1-2) facing the daunting challenge of taking on North Carolina on Saturday, they’ll likely be just .500 after the game.
But none of this is a complete surprise.

Brock came in saying that Delaware’s roster needed to be rebuilt and he was going to do it with high school players. While that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try to win right away, one of the other obvious possibilities was what’s happening right now.

The Hens have just seven seniors on their roster, only four of whom are on the two-deep depth chart.

After Delaware lost an especially tough one, falling to No. 6 Villanova, 28-21 on Saturday, Brock said he’d hate to see anybody blame the players.

“These kids aren’t responsible for the circumstances that they’re in right now,” he said. “I make the decisions about how we’re going to build this roster. I made the decisions about how we’re going to recruit kids and that we’re going to play a lot of young players and those things.

“These guys are battling like crazy and they’re doing a great job. I tell them all the time, you can’t be results-oriented right now. Do we want a good result? We do. Do we want to play as hard as we can possibly play? We do.

“And I think we did (play hard against Villanova). We didn’t get the result we wanted but we’re not going to be reactionary towards the circumstance. We’ve got to grind away and find a way to be better after practice tomorrow. … If we do that, we’ll have a chance to be the team we want to be — and I think we’ll have a chance to be the team we want to be this year.”

Odds & ends

•Caesar Rodney High hosts Smyrna in an interesting Henlopen Conference volleyball matchup on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Eagles have won the last two meetings with the Riders.

•Cape Henlopen High grad Jacki Coveleski, a senior on Delaware’s undefeated field hockey team, has had her season temporarily put on hold by a left knee injury. Coveleski, who has three goals and four assists this fall, has missed four games but is expected to return.

•Former Dover High football player Tavarus Sample had a 27-yard catch for Slippery Rock in its 75-0 win over Millersville last week. It was the first collegiate catch for the freshman wide receiver.

•Middletown High grad Darius Wade, the starting quarterback as a sophomore at Boston College, is out for the season after breaking his ankle in a loss to Florida State last Friday.

•Rehoboth’s Jeff Bixler is raising money for Special Olympics Delaware by competing in Ironman Maryland on Oct. 3. The 45-year-old’s goal is to bring in $5,000. Donations can be made at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jeffrey-bixler/IMMD2015.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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