Lock Down Lindy seeks winner’s circle in wide open Hambletonian Oaks

Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ —Tony Alagna says Lock Down Lindy’s performance in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination last weekend was “a chance to show everybody she’s the filly I thought she was last year.” The trainer hopes she shows off again in Saturday’s $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks final for 3-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack.

Lock Down Lindy won her Oaks elimination by two lengths over Wild Honey in a career-best 1:51.4 on Aug. 1. She will start the final from post No. 1, with driver Tim Tetrick, and is 3-1 on the morning line. Wild Honey, with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Jimmy Takter, is the 5-2 favorite from post two.

The Hambletonian Oaks is Race No. 12 on a jammed-packed stakes card, with the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes for 3-year-old trotters as the centerpiece. The two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations are races eight and nine and the $1 million final is race 13.

Post time for the first race is 12 noon. Cable channel CBS Sports Network will air coverage of the Cane Pace, Hambletonian Oaks and Hambletonian from 4 to 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

Lisa photo
Lock Down Lindy won the first of two Hambletonian Oaks eliminations last Saturday in 1:51.4.

Lock Down Lindy last year won two of seven races and earned $72,445. She won her elimination for the Merrie Annabelle Stakes at the Meadowlands and finished third in the final, behind Mission Brief and Jolene Jolene. She also finished third in a division of the Champlain Stakes, but finished her campaign by going off stride twice.

This season, she has won two of 10 races, hit the board a total of seven times, and earned $112,184 for owners Mystical Marker Farms, Crawford Partners, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. She finished second to Barn Doll in the Empire Breeders Championship and third in a division of the Reynolds Memorial. She entered her Hambletonian Oaks elimination off a ninth-place finish in the Zweig Memorial’s filly division, having gone off stride at the start of the race won by Mission Brief.

Lock Down Lindy is a daughter of Lucky Chucky out of the mare Love Lockdown. She was purchased as a yearling for $40,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and her family includes stakes-winners Majestic Son and Misterizi.

“Everybody knows how much I liked this filly last year,” Alagna said. “She just had bad luck at the end of the season.

“We’ve been racing her pretty conservatively. (In the Zweig) she just got off on the wrong foot. I thought she had a really nice shot, not to beat Mission Brief of course, but to get a good piece of the action. She tried to leave from the rail and got tangled up and made a break. (In her Oaks elimination) she had a chance to show everybody she’s the filly I thought she was last year.”

With Mission Brief heading to the Hambletonian, where she will try to become the first filly to win the race since Continentalvictory in 1996, the Oaks trophy appears to be up for grabs.

“It’s pretty wide open,” Alagna said. “We’ll just have to see how it works out. There’s a lot of nice fillies in there. A lot of it will depend on how things go and a trip and who has a good week. We’re just glad to be in it. Hopefully (Lock Down Lindy) will fire right back. That would be nice.”

Takter will send out three Hambletonian Oaks finalists, with Sarcy and Speak To Me joining Wild Honey in the field. Takter has won the Oaks four times, with Lifetime Pursuit last year, Passionate Glide in 2006, Southwind Allaire in 2003, and Gleam in 1994.

Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy, has won 12 of 18 career races, finished second on four occasions, and earned $588,488 for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Jim Fielding. She won last year’s Matron Stakes and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and captured her division of the Standardbred Stakes at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio in 1:55.2, setting the record for the fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old on a half-mile track.

Trainer Julie Miller has two Hambletonian Oaks finalists, Livininthefastlane and Lady Winona.

World Wide Racing Photo
Livininthefastlane has won seven times and earned $379,481 in her career.

Livininthefastlane finished second in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination to Spirit To Win, who died unexpectedly Monday as the result of an accident while preparing to jog. Livininthefastlane is 7-2 on the morning line and will start from post seven with Andy Miller in the sulky. She has won seven of 16 career races, finished among the top three a total of 13 times, and banked $379,481 for owners Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, and Sam Goldband.

“I was really happy,” Julie Miller said after the elimination. “We kind of have some sickness running through our barn and I was a little concerned. She probably wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked to have her, but Andy said she raced to the wire and I would hope she’s over the sickness. She has seven more days to prepare and we’ll just hope everything is right for her.”

Lady Winona, who finished fourth in the elimination won by Lock Down Lindy, is 20-1 with Brian Sears driving from post four. She has won two of 18 career races and earned $81,938 for owner Stroy Inc., which is Natalia Stroy of Moscow.

“She’s a nice complement to my barn,” Miller said. “She’s been doing great on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, so I thought she deserved a chance. I think she’s got good gate speed. I don’t know if she’ll be able to use it in this type of race, they’re probably a step ahead of her. But if she can get a piece of it I’ll be real happy with her.”

Miller also sees a wide-open race.

“Everybody’s been popping up,” she said. “It’s a tossup. It’s going to come down to who’s best that day.”

Following is the field for the Hambletonian Oaks in post order, with drivers, trainers and morning line odds:

$500,000 Hambletonian Oaks-Race 12
1. Lock Down Lindy, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1
2. Wild Honey, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2
3. Bright Baby Blues, David Miller, Bob Stewart, 8-1
4. Lady Winona, Brian Sears, Julie Miller, 20-1
5. Rules Of The Road, Corey Callahan, Janice Connor, 8-1
6. Classical Annie, Aaron Merriman, Jim Arledge Jr., 30-1
7. Livininthefastlane, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 7-2
8. Sarcy, Johnny Takter, Jimmy Takter, 10-1
9. Smokinmombo, Aaron Merriman, Chris Beaver, 12-1
10. Speak To Me, Scott Zeron, Jimmy Takter, 20-1