Day At The Track

Personal Style wins Hambletonian Oaks

01:50 AM 05 Aug 2012 NZST
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David Miller and Brian Sears Personal Style
David Miller and Brian Sears - A close finish in Oaks
Lisa Photo
Personal Style - Wins the Hambletonian Oaks
Lisa Photo

Personal Style got the breaks on Saturday and captured the $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks as a 55-1 outsider in the wagering. The breaks turned out to be that of 3-5 harness racing favorite Check Me Out who was on the lead as the field turned into the homestretch.

When second choice Maven also lost her stride, it opened up the floodgates for Personal Style and driver Dave Miller to challenge and wear down Win Missy B nearing the wire.

The race took shape unexpectedly right from the start as Check Me Out inherited the pocket when Superstar Hanover broke from her rail position. The Tim Tetrick-driven filly briefly yielded to Win Missy B but reclaimed the top shortly past the :28 opening quarter.

Driver Yannick Gingras went on the offensive almost immediately from third at the quarter but within moments the driver recognized that Check Me Out was not about to yield her advantage. That left Check Me Out in control and Maven caught trying to look for a hole but finding none. The pace was hot however with Check Me Out reaching the half in :55 flat and the three quarters in 1:23 2/5.

That's when the bizarre happened as Check Me Out suddenly lost her stride. The filly, that previously had won 20 of her 23 lifetime starts, drifted to the outside and in the process impeded the progress of Maven. For Maven, who had been parked during the middle half, was forced to check and then broke stride.

That paved the way for Personal Style and Win Missy B to suddenly be dueling for the Hambletonian Oaks first prize.

"I was following second over," said winning driver Dave Miller, "When Maven went offstride she got out of my way and then my filly did the rest."

The stretch drive looked like it lasted forever with both Win Missy B on the inside and Personal Style on the outside locked stride for stride, if not necessarily traveling at their fastest. In the deep stretch Personal Style finally wore down her rival to score by a neck in a 1:53 1/5 mile. The last quarter of :29 4/5 was the slowest of the afternoon program.

Owned by Mel Hartman and Brittany Farms, Personal Style, a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, won for just the third time in 10 trips to post in 2012. A daughter of Yankee Glide, Personal Style paid $116.40 for a $2 win wager.

Richard (Nifty) Norman trained the winner.

Check Me Out eventually recovered from her miscue and closed sharply to finish third but the judges ruled she interfered with Maven and subsequently disqualified her and placed her eighth.

Sassy Syrinx was placed third. Holier Than Thou advanced to fourth, while early breaker Superstar Hanover elevated to the final purse check.

By Jay Bergman for Meadowlands Racetrack/Hambletonian Society 

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