08/02/2015 12:01AM

Meadowlands: Lock Down Lindy, Spirit To Win step up in Hambo Oaks elims

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Spirit To Win captured her Hambo Oaks elimination.

The Hambletonian Oaks lured 16 hopefuls with no true leader of the pack coming into Saturday’s eliminations at the Meadowlands. When the dust settled at the end of the night, two fillies—Lock Down Lindy and Spirit To Win—emerged as the leading ladies and likely favorites for the $500,000 final on August 8.

On a night that was hardly kind to early speed, both elims saw horses win from off the pace. Lock Down Lindy watched as Gatka Hanover moved to the front by the opening quarter in 27 2/5 and remained patient on the rim at the half in 55 1/5. The Tony Alagna trainee then uncorked a huge turn of speed to blow by the leader just past three quarters in 1:23 2/5 and open up a sizable lead.

Up by open lengths in the lane, Lock Down Lindy cruised under the line a safe two-length winner over Wild Honey, who tucked early and found room in the stretch to finish willingly. The time for the mile was a lifetime best 1:51 4/5.

“It’s like Timmy (Tetrick, driver) said, we’ve been really conservative with her; maybe a little too conservative with her,” said Alagna. “I’ve always been high on this filly. She deserved a breakout mile and maybe this was it.”

Bright Baby Blues sat the pocket and finished third. Lady Winona finished with good trot for fourth and Smokinmombo followed the winner as well as she could and held sway for the fifth and last spot in the Oaks final from the first division.

In the second elimination, Livininthefastlane was able to wrestle away the lead from Rules Of The Road at the opening quarter in 28 seconds and attempted to take the field down the road. With Andy Miller in the bike, the filly posted comfortable fractions of 56 2/5 and 1:24 4/5 before Spirit To Win came to call.

Spirit To Win aborted an early leave attempt and found a seat in sixth before setting to the rim at the half. She picked up nearly four lengths in that third quarter to come up to near striking position and simply kept coming in the lane, blowing by Livininthefastlane to win by two lengths in 1:52 2/5.

“When she has a target, she’ll just go,” said trainer R. Dustin Jones about the first-over trip. “She’s one tough filly.”

Driver Brett Miller sang a similar tune in the winner’s circle.

“The way she felt, this filly, she acts like one of those horses who gives 100 percent and won’t stop until she gets by them,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of nice fillies in here, she’s going to have to show up next week and do her best.”

Joining the top two in the final were Sarcy, Rules Of The Road and Speak To Me.

The winners of each elimination will get to draw for posts 1-5 at Monday’s post-position draw.

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