Saturday, May 27, 2023

Having made breaks in two of her three career parimutuel starts, it’s safe to say that the Nancy Takter-trained Another Like Me still has a lot to learn if she’s going to make an appearance in the Hambletonian Oaks on the first Saturday in August.

On Friday night at The Meadowlands, school was in session, and the daughter of Muscle Hill-Stubborn Belle graduated first in the class.

“She’s a super nice filly,” said Takter. “She covers the ground well and has got a great set of lungs on her. But she does need a bit more maturity.”

Another Like Me went off stride in her most recent try at Pocono Downs when she saw the paddock gate on the far turn and wanted to call it a night, so Takter made an equipment change for Friday’s $14,500 conditioned event for 3-year-filly trotters.

“We put some blinkers on her and she was more focused,” said Takter. “She was well in hand tonight.”

Another Like Me raced in the pocket behind 7-2 second choice A Good Chardonnay before ripping out of that spot on the far turn on the way to an easy 1¼-length win in a lifetime-best 1:54. Baby Take A Vow was second with The Empress Ice third.

As the 4-5 favorite, Another Like Me, who’s now two-for-four in her career, returned $3.80 to win with Yannick Gingras doing the driving.

“The Hambletonian Oaks?” said Takter. “It’s definitely a spot where you might see her. But she is playing catch up a bit.”

FERRARI FABULOUS: After failing at odds of 1-5 and 1-2, respectively, in his last two starts, Ari Ferrari J still had the confidence of the betting public in a non-winners of two for trotters, scoring as the 1-20 public choice in a lifetime-best 1:53.4.

“He’s a big strong horse who’s easy to drive,” said winning pilot Gingras. “This was a good prep for next week’s (New Jersey) Sire Stakes final.”

Ari Ferrari J, a 3-year-old colt by Walner-Dream Child who raced on the Grand Circuit all year long during 2022, lifted his lifetime earnings past the $240,000 mark while recording his second win from 16 lifetime outings for trainer Tony Alagna.

A LITTLE MORE: Gingras and Dave Miller led the driver colony with three winners apiece on the night. … Alagna was the top trainer with three walks down victory lane. … All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,257,753. … Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. with a pair of $240,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for 3-year-olds the featured events. Two Pistol Annie (filly pace) and Meadowlands Pace hopeful Voukefalas (colt and gelding pace) will both be seeking a sweep of their respective series after winning each of the opening two legs.

PHOTO: Another Like Me and driver Yannick Gingras take the third race at The Meadowlands Friday night. (Credit: Lisa Photo)