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Some History Behind Delaware's Little Brown Jug and Jugette

Updated on October 26, 2011
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Barbara Anne Helberg is a Fiction freelancer, Internet writer, WordPress blogger, former Journalist, and a Famous Writers School graduate.

A harness racing horse warms up for the mile.
A harness racing horse warms up for the mile. | Source

Triple Tough

For all of the 66 years that the Little Brown Jug of harness racing has been held, it has been the mainstay event during the Delaware County Fairgrounds annual fair. Harness racing is a fairgrounds event, although its first competitions began on the country roads where farmers raced their fastest steeds against their neighbors' speediest, or in one-on-one cart racing.

Since its inauguration in 1955, the Cane Pace has been the first race anchor of the Standardbred pacing division's Triple Crown. Delaware, Ohio's Little Brown Jug has alternated through the years with the Messenger Stakes as the second, or third, race of the triple series for three-year-old colt pacers.

Three-year-old colt trotters began their triple event in 1955, and that series is most often identified with the middle race, the Hambletonian, which has been raced individually since 1926. Trotters begin their triple quest with the Yonkers Trot (inaugurated in 1955), and end their Triple Crown races with the Kentucky Futurity, first held in 1893.

Little Brown Jug began life as a farm hand, but was soon observed to pace with a lively gait and was sent to the harness races. Hambletonian ("10") was the pride and joy of William Rysdyk, Orange County, New York. Messenger, an imported Thoroughbred tracing to one of three foundation Thoroughbreds, the Darley Arabian, also became the standard bearer of the trotter by producing Hambletonian.


Jugette Winners

In 1971, Jefferson Time, driven by Ben Webster, won the first Jugette race in time of 2:00.1. From then to the present, the Jugette (for three-year-old filly pacers), has produced three fillies who raced the Jugette mile in two minutes, or over.

This season's winner, Idyllic, paced the mile in 1:54, demonstrating the increasing speed with which females hit the wire since the inception of the Jugette. Idyllic won the event September 21 for trainer Casie Coleman, who scored a second straight Jugette victory. She also won in 2010 with Western Silk.

Idyllic won her elimination heat in 1:53.1 with driver David Miller by 10-1/4 lengths, but had to gut it out with Rocklamation in the final and slipped over the rain-soaked track to edge her foe by a neck.

Idyllic's owners, Ross and Marg Warriner, celebrated an idyllic 50th wedding anniversary as their filly took the Jugette and Betterthancheddar, one of their colts, finished third in the Little Brown Jug the next day.

Idyllic overcame a spring illness involving colitis, an inflammation of the membranes that line the large intestine, and colic. These are serious illnesses in horses. Aggressive treatments, IVs, and antibiotics later, Idyllic returned to training near the end of May. In winning the Jugette, she improved her record from 12 starts in 2011 to a respectable 5-3-4.

The Jugette purse boosted Idyllic's career earnings to $1,266,207, quite a stretch from her yearling purchase price of $11,000.

A county fair Unicorn Hitch competes.
A county fair Unicorn Hitch competes. | Source

An Ohio First

The 2011 Little Brown Jug presented area Delaware fans with their first ever local victor. Big Bad John took three heats to gain the winners' blanket on September 22.

Delaware trainer Ron Potter, Jugette/Jug-winning driver David Miller, a Columbus, Ohio, native, and owner Ed Telle of Winchester Baye Acres near Powell, Ohio, all combined to celebrate an all-Ohio Little Brown Jug triumph with Big Bad John.

As a two-year-old, Big Bad John was a world record pacer on a half-mile track. This season he led his all-Ohio connections to one of the world's most famous winner's circles in front of the home-town fans.


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    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @femmeflashpoint...Thanks for stopping by and sharing your interest!

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      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago


      Interesting history on this event, that I was aware of.

      Great job in putting the article together, and next time I'm home, if there's an event at Ellis Park on the Wabash, I'll do my best to attend. :)

    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @writer20...Thanks for stopping by; it's always a pleasure to hear from friends on Hubpages.

      And I appreciate the compliment!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Great hub, I enjoyed reading .