By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ariana G rebounded from her only loss of the season – a tough-trip third against colts in the Beal – with a typically powerful performance in winning the first of two $125,250 divisions of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands Saturday night.
The daughter of Muscle Hill brushed to command at the three-eighths and appeared on her way to an easy win until a first-over challenge from Dream Baby Dream came as the field made its way around the far turn.
Dream Baby Dream was right at the 1-9 favorite’s throat at the eighth pole when Ariana G then found more and went on to a 1½-length score in 1:51.4. Magic Presto outkicked Dream Baby Dream for second.
“She was excellent,” said Marvin Katz, who owns the filly along with Al Libfeld. “I spoke to (winning driver) Yannick (Gingras) and he didn’t even pop the ear plugs. She was strong all the way to the wire and we are just thrilled with her.”
Does this filly have another date with the boys in the Aug. 5 Hambletonian? “I don’t know,” said Katz. “Historically, it’s not a good thing to do for fillies. I will say this: I’m not being overconfident, but I’m certain she can race with them.”
Ariana G, who is trained by Jimmy Takter, upped her lifetime mark to 13 wins in 16 starts, and returned $2.20 to win to her backers.
In the other Miller division, Overdraft Volo sat a perfect pocket trip and rolled by the pace-setting Feed Your Head to record a three quarters of a length win in a lifetime-best 1:52.2 for Team Miller, driver Andy and trainer Julie.
“I got away from the gate good and slid out (of the pocket) halfway down the lane and she did the rest,” said Andy Miller of the daughter of Yankee Glide, who won for the sixth time in 13 lifetime starts for owners the Pinske Stables and Kentuckiana Racing Stable.
That’s All Moni (the slight favorite) and Glitzey Gal, both sent to the gate at even-money, were too far back to menace after racing third- and fourth-over, respectively, as Feed Your Head was setting fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24. Glitzey Gal broke at the head of the stretch. Checkmate Time finished third.
Overdraft Volo returned $16.20 to win as the 7-1 third choice in the wagering.