“I had a lot of confidence in this mare and it hasn’t really worked out, a lot of bad spots and some mistakes here and there, mostly mine,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick.
“She showed tonight the talent she does have. I was hoping I could follow Takter’s mare (Wild Honey) all the way up there but somehow she got to drop in the three hole.
“I just went up for the lead and after that, it was over. Any time you get to compete in these races (Hambletonian and Oaks) is awesome, let alone win them, and I’ve gotten to drive some great horses that put me in the winner’s circle in those races.
“It’s a wide open race, the way she raced in here tonight, they’re definitely going to be looking for her. She won’t be dismissed quite as much; she’s always had the talent. She just hasn’t always been able to put it together.”
The last two Oaks spots in that race went to fourth place finisher Lady Winona and fifth place Smokinmombo.
In the second elimination, Spirit To Win turned on the afterburners in the last sixteenth of a mile, with driver Brett Miller’s hands in his lap all the way to the finish line in 1:52.2 to win by two lengths.
Spirit To Win is trained by Dustin Jones and owned by Frederick Hertrich III and Noblock Racing Stable.
Spirit To Win flirted with the lead off the starting gate, but Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) got to the quarter first in :28 before Livininthefastlane (Andy Miller) took over that spot with a quick move to the top. They held that spot to the :56.2 half with Rules Of The Road tucked in behind.
Spirit To Win, meanwhile, was working her way to the top on the outside, all the way to the head of the stretch. After idling on the outside alongside leader Livininthefastlane for a few strides at the 1:24.4 three quarters, Brett Miller gave the daughter of Donato Hanover the mildest of urging and off she went to the top for the win.
Livininthefastlane (Andy Miller) was second, Sarcy (Johnny Takter) was third. Also earning spots in the final were fourth place finisher Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) and Speak To Me (Scott Zeron). “After last week (when she beat Mission Brief by a nose in the Del Miller Memorial), I had a lot of confidence in her,” said Brett Miller. “When I landed where I landed (6th at the quarter), honestly, it didn’t bother me. The way she felt, this filly, she acts like one of those horses who gives 100% and won’t stop until she gets by them. There are a lot of nice fillies in here, she’s going to have to show up next week and do her best.”
Both the Hambletonian and Oaks will be shown live on CBS Sports Network from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Post positions will be drawn on Monday afternoon at a press conference at the track. The winners of each elimination will draw for posts 1 through 5.
Lock Down Lindy (Tim Tetrick) locked in her spot in the final of the Oaks with a two length win in the first elimination race.
Content to let Bright Baby Blues (David Miller) and then Gatka Hanover (Yannick Gingras) set the early pace, with Gatka hitting the quarter in :27.2 and the half in :55.1, Lock Down Lindy sprinted to the front of the pack just past the half.
The daughter of Lucky Chucky grabbed the lead with authority and held it through the 1:23.3 three quarters. She trotted strong to the wire with all others giving futile chase, though Wild Honey (Jimmy Takter) put on a rally late in the race to be second, with Bright Baby Blues behind her.