PAfter winning an unprecedented three straight Hambletonian Oaks, how could Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter possibly top it? Her name is Ariana G. The 3-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill might be even better than those three fillies after she left jaws dropped with a 1:51.1 stroll in the $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes final (NJSS) on Friday (June 2) night at The Meadowlands. Long Tom, Every Way Out, and Misqued also won their $100,000 Sire Stakes finals on a warm, late spring evening.
Yannick Gingras moved Ariana G to the lead past an opening quarter mile in :27.3. From there, Gingras was just a passenger through a Sire Stakes record final time that was just two-fifths of a second off the track record.
"She's coming back scary good," said Takter in the winner's circle after the race. "We still have 60 days to Hambletonian Day. Yannick said if he let her go she would have gone 49. Hopefully I haven't peaked her too soon. I would say at this point, she could be the most talented one I have developed."
Two races later, Long Tom officially threw his hat into the Hambletonian picture with an impressive front-end score in 1:52.2 to win the $100,000 trotting colts division. King On The Hill won the place photo over 3-5 favorite What The Hill.
Long Tom was a stakes winner last year at Lexington and is now two-for-two as a sophomore. With stablemate Enterprise, who is three-for-three in 2017, 25-year-old trainer Marcus Melander has a potent 1-2 punch on the road to the first Saturday in August.
"Long Tom got sore after Lexington last year and then grew a lot over the winter," explained Melander, whose uncle Stefan won the Hambletonian in 2001 with Scarlet Knight. "I was only 9-years-old when Scarlet Knight won so I don't remember much, but hopefully I can get another Hambletonian for the family."
Every Way Out completed his sweep of the pacing colts division with a five-length win in 1:52. The If I Can Dream gelding paid $2.10 for the third straight week. Tim Tetrick, who won four of the night's 11 races, piloted the winner for trainer Dylan Davis.
The only Sire Stakes upset came in the 3-year-old pacing filly division when 1-5 favorite Colorful Jasmine faded to finish fourth while 7-2 second choice Misqued held off the late charge of Livinginthedream. Misqued was driven by Steve Smith for trainer John Balzer.
Total handle on the 11-race card was $2,420.245. Racing resumes Saturday night. Post time is 7:15 p.m.
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