Sunday, May 19, 2024

Jiggy Jog S picked up right where she left off.

The 2023 Breeders Crown and FanDuel winner, who finished off last year with a four-race win streak, extended her success to five victories in a row Saturday night at The Meadowlands by taking the first major event on The Big M’s bloated stakes calendar, the $145,150 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for open trotters.

“[Meadowlands President and Chief Executive Officer] Jeff [Gural] was down in the paddock earlier and told me how horrible I’ve been doing, so I had to pick my game up,” said winning driver Dexter Dunn with a laugh. “But you sit behind a horse like Jiggy Jog and they make you look good.”

There wasn’t much in the way of action during the opening half, as Hillexotic, Asteroid, Dover In Motion and Jiggy Jog S lined up 1-2-3-4 past the quarter in :27.3 and half in :55.3.

Just after the half, Dover In Motion was moved to the outside by Dave Miller. Dunn put Jiggy Jog S right behind that one as the duo quickly made up ground on the leader, with Dover In Motion almost on even terms with Hillexotic at three-quarters, which went in 1:23.3.

Jiggy was now ready to jog.

With a little more than an eighth-of-a-mile to go, Dunn tipped the Ake Svanstedt trainee off her live cover and trotted past Dover In Motion in a thoroughly flawless performance, hitting the finish 2 lengths in front of a fast-closing Asteroid (another Svanstedt student). Dover In Motion settled for third. The final time of 1:50 equaled Jiggy Jog S’s lifetime best.

“We floated out of there, got a good spot and got a great helmet from Davey [Miller] and when I tipped her off cover there, she showed the speed that we know she’s got,” said Dunn.

A 5-year-old daughter of Walner-Hot Mess Hanover, Jiggy Jog S returned $3.80 to her backers as the 4-5 favorite. She now has 19 wins from 36 career starts, good for earnings of $2,236,677 for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc, Steve H Stewart, John E Lengacher and Hickory Hollow Stables.

After going eight-for-11 a year ago with three seconds, Dunn had a bold statement about how good Jiggy Jog S could be in 2024.

“I think she’s better, a little bit better [this year],” said Dunn. “She’s gotten bigger. She’s filled out a lot. She’s really grown since last year and she was pretty fresh out there tonight. I think she was happy to be back at the races.”

KARL CRUISES AGAIN: Karl continued his march toward Hambletonian Day with another win, taking the second of three $30,000 legs of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters in 1:52.2.

The son of Tactical Landing-Avalicious once again raced from off the pace, and once again had little trouble winning for the second time in as many 2024 starts. His final quarter of :26.2 completed a 4-length win over Tony Adams S. He paid $2.10 as the 1-9 public choice.

1:48 IS GREAT: Only minutes after Legendary Hanover established an industry-fastest 2024-mile time of 1:48.3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, the remarkable Oakwood Ardan IR ($2.40 to win as the 1-5 favorite), a 5-year-old gelded son of Sweet Lou-Trend Setter, won the TrackMaster Series final (for horses with a rating of 89.5 or less) in 1:48 to set a new North American season’s best for trainer Robert Cleary, his seventh win in eight starts since his arrival from Great Britain last fall.

Just six races later, Maximus Miki equaled the 1:48 clocking after racing parked for the final half-mile in an iron-tough $46,500 Open for pacers. ‘Miki’, a 5-year-old gelded son of Always B Miki-Beach Gal who is trained by Tom Cancelliere, returned $11.80 as the 9-2 fourth choice.

Both 1:48 performers were driven by Andy McCarthy.

CLOSE FINISH: Ian McIntosh took down the first prize of $2,500 in The Big M’s free handicapping contest that offered $10,000 in total prizes.

McIntosh finished with a bankroll of $147.80, just nosing out second-place finisher Kaia Savage, who totaled $145.40 to walk away with $2,000.

A LITTLE MORE: After totaling seven winners combined last Saturday, the McCarthy brothers were at it, rolling another seven on the program. On Saturday, it was Todd taking four and Andy three. One week ago, it was the other way around. … All-source handle on the 14-race program totaled $3,584,315, the 33rd time from 39 cards this year when wagering went past the $3-million mark. … Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m.

PHOTO: Jiggy Jog S and driver Dexter Dunn won the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at The Meadowlands Saturday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)