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Ariana G heads to Zweig to take on colts

August 16, 2017

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Ariana G, fresh off a lifetime-best 1:51.1 win in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, has been entered to race against colts in the Open event of the $320,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial on Friday night at Vernon Downs.

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.

Competition will come from a pair of Ake Svanstedt fillies who each won a division of the Duenna stakes at the Meadowlands. Evelyn (post 3) will get Andy Miller, who drove her to the Duenna success back in the sulky for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E LLC, Borje Nasstrom and Silva Stable 45, while Ice Attraction leaves from post 7 for the trainer and his partners Doug Sipple, Mal and Janet Borroughs and Little E.
There are also consolations for both the colt and filly Zweig and three divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing colts along with the accompanying Excelsior A & B races on an all-stakes card. (Vernon Downs)
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