Ariana G heads to Zweig to take on colts
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Ariana G was considered for the Open division of the Hambletonian, but her connections chose instead to race her in an elimination and final format against fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks.
Her competition will indeed be stout in the Zweig Memorial. Among the chief contenders are Devious Man, coming in off a valiant third-placed-second effort in the Hambletonian final; Bill's Man, who wound up fifth-placed-fourth in the Hambo final; Hambo first-heat winner International Moni; and Stanley Dancer Memorial division winner Long Tom.
Ariana G's win in the Oaks pushed her career earning past the $1 million mark for the homebred Muscle Hill filly co-owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She has won 15 of 18 career starts and six of seven this season, her only defeat coming in a third-place finish against colts in the Earl Beal Memorial July 1 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Jimmy Takter trains and Yannick Gingras will drive from post position 5.
Devious Man (post 7) has been a model of consistency throughout his career for owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable. The best in New York last season, he has taken on both state-bred and Grand Circuit assignments with equal success with four wins and four seconds in as many starts this year. He also edged past $1 million in career earnings with his Hambo Day proceeds. Andy Miller will drive the Julie Miller trainee in the Zweig.
With Ariana G out of the mix, everybody in the $135,000 Zweig Filly trot (race 9) moves up one position.
Celebrity Ruth is the top money winner, having collected more than $200,000 this season, largely in the NYSS program for owner White Birch Farm. Trond Smedshammer is the trainer and Jason Bartlett will drive starting from post 2.