Coleman Covets Little Brown Jug
Hosted by the Delaware County Agricultural Society since 1946 and taking place annually on the third Thursday following Labor Day at the County Fairgrounds, the Little Brown Jug is a harness race for three-year old pacing standardbred horses that is considered to be one of the most prestigious races of its kind. The origin of the race goes back more than five decades, later being named in honor of the pacer, Little Brown Jug, winner of nine consecutive races and selected for the USTA Hall of Fame Immortal award in 1975.
This year's Little Brown Jug promises all the fun and excitement that competitors and spectators have come to expect. Canadian standardbred trainer, Cassie Coleman has her eye on the prize, with her record of successes hinting that she stands a good chance of that happening. Chosen as Trainer of the Year in Canada no less than four times, Coleman's filly Idyllic, won the filly companion race of the annual event – the Jugette – on Wednesday, earning her place in harness racing history by breaking the 22-race success of pacing star, See You at Peelers. Referring to Idyllic as a "dream come true", Coleman expressed her delight at the filly's success, noting that she has never missed the top three in her racing starts.
Turning her attention to the Jug, Coleman reiterated her determination to win the event with her entrant Betterthancheddar. Harness racing fans no doubt remember the incident in last year’s event where Coleman's trainee, Kyle Major, broke stride in front of a grandstand packed with spectators and a row of snap-happy photographers who recorded the blunder for posterity. Commentators have noted that this incident appears to have added strength to the Canadian trainer’s determination to win this year. While conceding that the Jug and Jugette may not have the biggest purses in the sport, Coleman revealed that she enjoys the atmosphere created by enthusiastic crowds, usually numbering more than 50,000.
With the Little Brown Jug champion required to win two races on the afternoon to claim the title, the race is one of the few remaining events requiring same-day heats. Betterthancheddar has been tagged as the 3-1 second choice behind Roll With Joe, the $1-million Meadowlands Pace champion. The Canadian hopeful drew the four-hole in the second field of six. Winner of the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, Up The Credit is listed at 4-1 and has post six. The Little Brown Jug's total purse is some $420,000 – certainly a race where prestige trumps purse.