Ariana G Dominant in Hambletonian Maturity
By Lou Monaco, for Hambletonian Society
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ariana G, the 1-5 favorite driven by Yannick Gingras, led wire-to-wire before drawing clear late to a 2¾-length victory in the 27th edition of the $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Ariana G completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 2:05 and cruised to her third win in five starts this season, posting her 24th victory in 31 career starts.
Coming off a world-record 1:50 2/5 score in the Graduate Series final just a week ago, Ariana G also joins 2016 winner and Gingras-driven Hannelore Hanover (who won earlier on the Saturday card in the Miss Versatility), 1964 winner Elma and 1963 winner Spry Rodney as mare winners of the Maturity and also hits the record books as the first mare to complete the Hambletonian Oaks-Maturity double.
As the prohibitive favorite, Ariana G returned $2.60 to win.
“I was so happy with her performance. I was a little nervous with her nine post. She cut it close a bit down the stretch, but she is just an amazing horse,” said trainer Jimmy Takter, who took home his first Maturity win. “We should not compare great horse with others. She has been so good. She is just a perfect horse.”
Takter said Ariana G will next race on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 4) in the John Cashman Memorial.
Bill’s Man, driven by Corey Callahan, was second, with Top Flight Angel and Andy Miller grabbing the show dough.