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Teague team hopes to show strength in Levy Series

Monday, March 22, 2010  By: Ellen Harvey

Freehold, NJ --- The George Teague Jr. Stable is packing a big punch in the older pacing division. With five possible entrants in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, starting Saturday (March 27) at Yonkers Raceway, there’s strength in numbers.

In addition to Badlands Nitro, making a return to the races from a brief stallion career (see related story below), Teague expects to send out 4-year-olds Chasin Racin (3, 1:51f, $520,209) and Mr Wiggles (3, 1:49.1f, $1.04 million), 6-year-old Southwind Lynx (3, 1:48.3, $1.49 million) and 7-year-old Western Ace (4, 1:48.4, $1.79 million).

Southwind Lynx, the 2007 Meadowlands Pace and Art Rooney Pace winner, is pointed for the Levy after a few weeks racing in the upper level classes at Dover Downs, near Teague’s stable in Harrington, Delaware. He had an abbreviated stallion career in 2009.

“He’s coming back good,” Teague said. “He’s started four times; he got two wins and two seconds. For a horse that has been off for a year and a half like him, he’s come back real good. It’s still going to take a little bit to get in the best of form but he’s come back real well.”

Savvy veteran Western Ace is expected to make his 112th lifetime start in the Levy. Western Ace won the 2005 Woodrow Wilson and 2005 Matron Stakes; he was second in the 2006 Confederation Cup and Adios. This year, he has two wins in eight starts and $57,375 in earnings. He has been driven by Teague’s 19-year-old son, Montrell, in his six most recent races.

“He’s had a real good season starting up this year,” Teague said. “He’s raced at Dover in the Preferred Handicap. He’s won in 1:51.3 and finished third in his last start there (timed in 1:51). He raced real well, just got locked in. He’s done good.”

Last year’s Hoosier Cup winner Mr Wiggles will head to the Levy off two qualifying wins, the most recent in 1:54.1 with Montrell Teague driving. Mr Wiggles was second in both the Adios and Breeders Crown in 2009.

“He qualified good,” Teague said. “He came :27.3 at the end of (his March 17 qualifying win) and looked good doing it. The weather kind of hindered us getting back, like everyone on the East Coast. I had planned to start them all in the Levy, but I wanted a couple starts in some overnights before I went against that caliber of horse. He gained a few pounds, which is always good because the racing will take it off them, so you try to pack on as much weight as you can.”

Chasin Racin has also posted two wins in qualifiers this year. Last season, he started the campaign with a win in the Matt’s Scooter Series final and was second to Mr Wiggles in the Hoosier Cup. He also was second in the Battle of the Brandywine on his way to $496,293 in purses. He raced from February into late November, but failed to pick up a check in four of his final five starts.

“He was getting tired; that’s a lot of racing,” Teague said. “He was cranked up and going in February. That’s a long season and he was just getting tired towards the end of the year, all the traveling, racing and everything else.

“We turned him out for about a month; he got a little bit of green grass. Considering the weather and the mud, we hoped to get him back (to the races) a little quicker, but circumstances are what they are with all the rain we’ve had – and snow. He looks good, but I’m sure when he gets under the gun, he’ll trim up a little. He looks real racy right now and he’s a big horse. He’s a real tall horse and he’s filled out well. He’s always had a positive attitude. He’s sharp coming back, anyway.”

Teague has not yet settled on drivers for his team of pacers. Montrell Teague, who has 17 wins in 109 drives this year, has driven Western Ace, Mr Wiggles and Chasin Racin in recent weeks, so he may get a call off the bench from his father.

“He’s doing the horses and going to school (at Delaware Tech) part time, but it makes for a busy schedule,” Teague said. “He might be the one I consider; he’s done a real good job. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the driver situation up there, but he’s done a real good job.”

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