When trainer Brian Brown won last year’s Jugette with Color’s A Virgin at his home track, the Delaware County Fairgrounds, he called the victory “beyond a doubt a win I cannot describe or explain.”
So what would it be like for Brown to win his first Little Brown Jug this year with either Lost For Words or Rise Up Now?
“I don’t know to tell you the truth, but I’d sure like to find out,” Brown said.
Lost For Words is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of two first-heat eliminations for today’s $677,000 Little Brown Jug, presented by Fazoli’s, at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Rise Up Now is 10-1 in the second elimination, which features world champion Wiggle It Jiggleit, who is the 4-5 morning-line choice from post five.
Fifteen 3-year-old male pacers entered the race, which this year is the third jewel in the Pacing Triple Crown, and requires a horse to win twice in the same day. The top four finishers in each elimination advance to the $324,960 second heat. If an elimination winner captures the second heat, he will be the Jug winner. Otherwise, the three heat-winners will return for a $135,400 race-off.
The Little Brown Jug will air live from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports network.
Lost For Words posted a win last year on Jug Day in the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers. Now the colt will try for another Jug Day triumph, this time in the big race itself. He enters the Little Brown Jug with four wins in 11 starts this season and a total of 10 top-three finishes.
A son of 2009 Little Brown Jug winner Well Said out of the mare Thou Shalt Not, Lost For Words has earned $336,974 this year for owners Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo and Strollin Stable.
Lost For Words won his first four races this season, with three of the victories coming in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, and heads to the Jug off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 5 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Leaving from post eight in the PaSS final, Lost For Words got the lead in an opening quarter-mile of :25.4 and remained on top through fractions of :54.3 and 1:21.2. He was outkicked in the stretch, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Wakizashi Hanover and a quarter-length in back of My Hero Ron. The winning time was 1:48.1, establishing the record for the fastest mile in PaSS championship history.
“It was his best race this year,” Brown said. “Having the outside and getting to the quarter in :25.4 and still getting home in (1):48.2 with a :27 quarter on the end, that was his biggest race so far. He’s had a few races where he didn’t race good, and that was probably as much me kind of changing his Lasix around. But he shows up every week.”
Rise Up Now, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Northwestern, has won seven of 15 races this year and earned $141,902 for owners Strollin Stable, King McNamara, William Robinson and Country Club Acres. The gelding, who won his first six races of the season, finished sixth in the PaSS final and was fourth in a division of the Liberty Bell Series at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Sept. 13.
“He hasn’t been at his best lately, but he trains here, so maybe the (half-mile track at the fairgrounds) will be a little kinder to him,” Brown said.
Brown, though, does not think his horses have a home-track advantage by being stabled at the fairgrounds.
“I don’t think so because Delaware is such a good track that most horses are going to get around this track pretty good,” Brown said. “They’ve got it so good right now. Our track man, Wayne Byus, between him and Greg Coon, they have this thing unbelievably fast this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jug sets up right that you’ll see the fastest Jug ever.”
Although Brown, an Ohio native who lives in the city of Delaware, is seeking his first Little Brown Jug champion, he was the trainer of 2014 winner Limelight Beach for the early portion of the horse’s career. Brown trained Limelight Beach at age 2 and until July of his 3-year-old campaign, at which time trainer Ron Burke and a group of partners purchased the gelding from a majority of Limelight Beach’s owners, with the exception of the brothers Charles, Robert, Thomas and William Wingfield.
“Sure I would have liked to be the one who trained him and was in the race, but I’ve had no ill feelings from that time up to this day,” Brown said. “The Burkes have been great to me and the Wingfields, they’ve been coming to Delaware for 50 years probably and they got to watch their horse win the race. And it wasn’t like a bad deal for the other owners. The horse made money racing and they sold him for good money. It wasn’t a terrible deal for anybody.”
Below is the field in post order for the $677,000 Little Brown Jug with drivers, trainers and morning line odds.
$108,320 First Elimination
1-Lost For Words-David Miller-Brian Brown-2-1
2-Rockin In Heaven-David Miller-Dr. Ian Moore-4-1
3-Yankee Bounty-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-6-1
4-Dude’s The Man-Corey Callahan-Jessica Okusko-5-2
5-Trading Up-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna-15-1
6-Cooperstown-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15-1
7-Split The House-Tim Tetrick-Chris Oakes-10-1
$108,320 Second Elimination
1-Artspeak-Scott Zeron-Tony Alagna-5-2
2-Paparazzi Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-20-1
3-Rise Up Now-Tim Tetrick-Brian Brown-10-1
4-My Hero Ron-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-4-1
5-Wiggle It Jiggleit-Montrell Teague-Clyde Francis-4-5
6-Arque Hanover-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-15-1
7-Revenge Shark-Brett Miller-Tony Alagna-6-1
8-Blood Brother-David Miller-Jimmy Takter-20-1
Ken Weingartner writes for Harness Racing Communications and the United States Trotting Association.