East Rutherford, NJ — It appeared Lather Up barely broke a sweat as he paced his way into the history books with a 1:46 mile on Saturday evening (July 6) at The Meadowlands en route to his 20th career victory in the $250,000 Graduate final for 4-year-old pacers.
Only Always B Miki, at age five in 2016 at Red Mile, has ever stopped the clock as swiftly. The mile also broke the previous mark of 1:46.4 for a 4-year-old pacer, held jointly by stallion Warrawee Needy in 2013 at The Meadowlands and gelding Dr J Hanover in 2017 at Mohawk.
Steered by Montrell Teague, the son of I’m Gorgeous-Pocket Comb enjoyed the perfect pocket journey behind Indiana champion Always A Prince (Brian Sears). That rival established torrid fractions of :25.3, :52 and 1:19.1 prior to being overhauled by Lather Up.
The winner defeated a hard closing This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) by 2-1/4 lengths and Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) to procure his record-setting triumph. After his early efforts, Always A Prince held gamely for fourth.
Owned by his breeders, Gary and Barbara Iles, Lather Up is conditioned by Clyde Francis. He entered this contest after a costly break at the half-mile pole in the $500,000 Ben Franklin final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 29 caused him to finish ninth.
“I knew we were going to go a crazy mile,” said Montrell Teague. “When I popped the pocket and my horse just sprinted I knew we were in a very good position. He throws in a couple bad races here and there but we showed how good he really is tonight.
“It’s monumental; it’s amazing. Wiggles (2015 Horse of the Year and Teague standout Wiggle It Jiggleit) never did anything like that, but hats off to how good Lather Up really is.”
“George (Teague) has always told me this horse is capable of a (1):46 mile,” said Gary Iles. “He’s been telling me that for the last two years. We have had some bad goes but he has said he really is that good. Of course, now we know he is. I saw those fractions coming up and I saw Montrell and knew where he was sitting and was very confident it was going to be a win.”
Lather Up has now amassed more than $1.18 million from 33 lifetime trips to the gate and sports a record of 8-5-0-1 for the season.
He paid $14 to win as the third choice in the wagering, while This Is The Plan paid $6.40 to place. Backstreet Shadow was $6.60 to show.