08/05/2017 5:48PM

Meadowlands: Ariana G in a league of her own in Hambletonian Oaks

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Nikki Sherman
Ariana G's only loss this year was against male rivals in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial final at Pocono

Ariana G overcame an extended journey to the front and thundered away from her rivals in the lane to win the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands in 1:51 2/5.

For Ariana G's driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter, it was the fourth consecutive year they had won the Hambletonian Oaks together, and Takter broke a tie for the most Hambletonian Oaks titles in history by picking up his seventh.  He had previously shared the record with Jan Johnson.  Ariana G also joined her full sister All The Time, last year's Oaks winner, as a champion in the event.

It was a wild rush for the early lead with several horses vying for the front in the first turn.  Fine Tuned Lady (Corey Callahan) eventually got it, clicking off an opening quarter in 27 2/5 before giving way to Feed Your Head (Tim Tetrick).  Ariana G had briefly dropped in fifth, but then came up on the outside in the second quarter, and she would get to the lead right at the 54 4/5 half.

Dream Together (Dan Dube) would try Ariana G first-over on the final turn, but she dropped back as Ariana G began to pull away past the 1:23 1/5 three-quarters.  The domination continued through the stretch as Ariana G poured it on to score by about five lengths over Magic Presto (Brian Sears).  Dream Together was third, followed by Dream Baby Dream (Rod Allen).

"She did a tremendous mile," said Takter.  "It was a tough opening, and she kind of rolled all the way to the front.  It was a high pace, but she fought well.  She's just in a class all her own."

There had been a great deal of pre-race speculation about Ariana G racing in the Hambletonian instead of the Oaks, but Takter indicated there were no regrets.

"No, it's too hard," he said of racing males in the Hambletonian's same-day two-heat format.

Ariana G is a daughter of Muscle Hill owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who also campaigned All The Time.  The winner of the Breeders Crown, Peaceful Way, and Jim Doherty Memorial last year and New Jersey Sire Stakes final and Del Miller Memorial this year, Ariana G has won 15 of her 18 career starts and has earned $1,208,058.  Ariana G, who was sent off at 1-5, paid $2.40 to win.