TAKTER AND GINGRAS GET ONE FOR THE THUMB


  Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter combined to win a fifth straight Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands with Manchego in 1:50. It was a length back to Phaetosive, while Plunge Blue Chip finished third. 

The daughter of Muscle Hill sprinted directly to the lead, and after hitting the quarter in :27.2, was permitted to rate the second panel, trotting to the half in :55.4. 

Pocket-sitting 9-2 third choice Plunge Blue Chip and driver Ake Svanstedt were unwilling to let Manchego march around the track at a pedestrian clip and popped out of the pocket to engage the leader at the five-eighths. 

After making their way around the far turn, the sprint was on. 

Manchego had the edge at the head of the stretch. Plunge Blue Chip was in hot pursuit, along with even-money favorite Phaetosive, who won the week before in her elimination in impressive fashion. 

But after trotting her final quarter in :26.3, there would be no catching Manchego, who lowered her previous lifetime-best by one-and-one-fifth seconds. 

The daughter of Muscle Hill, who paid $4.40 as the 6-5 second choice, upped her lifetime record to 17 wins in 19 starts, good for earnings of $1,236,170 for her owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. 

Takter extended his record for Hambo Oaks wins to eight.