07/29/2017 10:05PM

Meadowlands: Ariana G, Magic Presto deliver as expected in Hambletonian Oaks eliminations

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Will it be the Hambletonian or the Oaks for Ariana G after her impressive elimination victory?

Ariana G would lead a field of 10 into the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks should the connections of the leading sophomore trotting filly in North America choose to go that route. That became apparent after the Muscle Hill-sired miss dominated eight rivals in the first of two $40,438 eliminations for the prestigious contest at the Meadowlands on Saturday.

With Yannick Gingras in the bike, Ariana G was relaxed off the early pace as Ice Attraction sprinted out to the early lead in 27 2/5. Driver Ake Svanstedt appeared ready to yield command when Glitzey Gal went by at the 55 1/5 half, but once that filly broke he regained the controlling position. Fine Tuned Lady and Corey Callahan were left without cover and provided it for the 1-20 favored Ariana G past three-quarters in 1:23 3/5.

In the stretch Gingras patiently came wide and disposed of the leaders, drawing clear in 1:51 3/5. Dream Together lagged off her cover on the final turn but kicked into gear late for Dan Dube to finish second, while Sunshine Delight squeezed through inside for third. Fine Tuned Lady and Dream Baby Dream completed the qualifiers from the first elimination.

"It's not my decision," said Gingras in the winner's circle in regard to whether the connections choose to enter Ariana G in the Hambletonian or Hambletonian Oaks. "Either way I will drive her."

Trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld will make that call.

Favored Magic Presto brushed to the front well before the half in the second $40,438 Hambo Oaks elimination and cruised to a 1:52 1/5 score for Brian Sears. The daughter of Kadabra, trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman, allowed Feed Your Head to reach the lead early in 28 2/5 from Hillarmbro before commencing his move. Once in control, Magic Presto rated comfortable fractions of 56 and 1:24 1/5, with longshot Hillarmbro making a bid on the final turn.

Sears turned the filly loose in the stretch, and she held second choice Feed Your Head at bay, with Southwind Avanti closing for third and Overdraft Volo and Caviart Wonder completing the qualifiers.  Sent off at 4-5, Magic Presto returned $3.60.

"She was looking at everything tonight. Usually she's not like that," said Sears in post-race comments about the filly.

Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee and Little E LLC., own Magic Presto, a winner in eight of 16 career starts.

What The Hill captured the $49,580 Reynolds Memorial for sophomore trotters in 1:52 1/5 for driver David Miller and trainer Ron Burke. The Hambletonian eligible defeated Yes Mickey and favored Bill's Man.