07/29/2017 10:13AM

Meadowlands: Treviso puts her perfect record on the line vs Ariana G in Oaks

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Curtis Salonick
Treviso is perfect in five starts this year.

While Treviso has been somewhat under the radar on the Hambletonian Oaks trail, she remains the lone filly of the 18 entered in Saturday’s eliminations at The Meadowlands to have an unblemished record in 2017.

Carded as races six and seven, the top five in each $40,438 elimination will advance to the $500,000 final, the filly companion event to the $1,000,000 Hambletonian on August 5.

Treviso enters Saturday with five wins in as many starts in 2017 and 10 victories in 16 career tries for trainer/driver Charlie Norris and owners Klis Brothers Stable and Carrie Norris. The 54-year-old horsemen has kept his prized filly facing Pennsylvania-sired foes in an effort to maintain her confidence before moving to the big track at The Meadowlands.

“If you can win in PA you can win anywhere,” said Norris. “She showed it last year. She won everything at Lexington and was second in her elimination for the Breeders Crown, but she just wasn’t sharp for the final.

“I just basically wanted to keep her confidence up and keep her on track,” he continued. “Racing at The Meadowlands can take its toll on a horse after a while. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s been my experience.”

Treviso has certainly seen her share of easy races this year. In three of her five wins she was more than two lengths clear of the leader at the wire and her total margin of victory for her handful of wins stands at 9-3/4 lengths. The residue of easy wins is often a slow final time and Treviso’s top mark of 1:54 in 2017 pales in comparison to divisional leader Ariana G at 1:51 1/5.

“There is no question in my mind,” uttered Norris when asked if Treviso could trot with Ariana G. “She hasn’t had to do it this year, but in three out of the five starts I didn’t even pull the ear plugs. I don’t know how much faster she’ll trot but everyone is beatable. If you keep taking them to the track, they’ll get beat.”

Norris won’t have to wait for the Hambletonian Oaks final to face-off against Ariana G. Treviso drew post seven while Ariana G starts from post four with Yannick Gingras in the bike for the first elimination.

Ariana G has won four of five starts in 2017 with her only loss coming in the Earl Beal Memorial Final after starting from post eight against male competition. Now just shy of $1 million in career earnings, she won nine of 11 starts last year while capturing Dan Patch honors as the top 2-year-old trotting filly.

Nearly matching Ariana G’s top speed in the first elimination field is Glitzey Gal, who won in 1:51 2/5 and will start from post one with driver David Miller at the controls. Unfortunately the ‘Nifty’ Norman trainee is coming off a break in her division of the Del Miller.

Although the second Oaks split lacks a clear standout, pari-mutuelly bettors may flock to a different Norman-trained sophomore in Magic Presto, who will be driven by Brian Sears from post two. Magic Presto was a locked-in second behind Ariana G in the Del Miller at The Meadowlands on July 15 and seems to be rounding into top form just in time for the big dance.

Magic Presto is joined by a trio of fillies with a mark between 1:52 and 1:53 this year. They include That’s All Moni (post 3, Tim Tetrick), Overdraft Volo (post 5, Andy Miller) and Feed Your Head (post 7, Yannick Gingras).

While the outcomes of both eliminations remain unknown, the one certainty on Saturday could be the position of Treviso as the field for the first elimination heads down the backstretch.

“Obviously my filly has a lot of gate speed and she likes to be close to the lead. At times she can be a little aggressive, but she’ll give it her all,” said Norris, who actually trains Treviso from off the pace and feels she has more dimensions than she has displayed on the track.

Will Treviso still be undefeated in 2017 as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday or will we be celebrating another spectacular performance by Ariana G?

For Norris, he has done what he can and the horse will have to do the rest.

“I’ve pointed her towards this race and I think so far I’ve managed her well. That was my goal, so I can’t ask for anything more,” said the trainer.