by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications
East Rutherford, NJ — Bar Slide (Tim Tetrick) won the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday afternoon (August 7) at the Meadowlands in a time of 1:53.4. Bar Slide is owned by Bluestone Farms and Fredericka Caldwell and trained by Joe Holloway.
Fashion Feline (Brian Sears) was first to make the lead in a furious rush from the gate in a time of :27, with Bar Slide in behind her. They held that order to the :54.4 half before Bar Slide popped off the rail to take the lead at about the five-eighths-mile mark to make the lead before the 1:24.1 three-quarters.
Poof She’s Gone, back in third as the field straightened for home, made a break at the top of stretch, foiling the chances of those behind her. Bar Slide held her ground all the way down the stretch, her stride shortening a bit but holding for the win over Ultimate Cameron (Trevor Ritchie) who was second and Springtime Volo (George Brennan) who was third.
Tetrick said the trip was nearly perfect.
“If Brian would have gotten me to the top of the lane, it would have been better but I took my shot and I got out. They went a pretty big half and I said I was going to try to get as much distance as I can from them. The little mare tries her guts out. I give her a lot of credit. I waited until someone was coming and I was watching Brian’s horse really close and I know she’s fast for three-quarters of a mile but with the ten hole I knew I had to make a move. I was hopeful my mare would get to the wire and she did. The last eighth, my mare was tired and I’m glad I did try to jump two or three up and get ahead of them a little bit because she was tired at the wire, but it doesn’t say that on the paycheck.”
Trainer Joe Holloway said he was looking for the wire to come up for his filly.
“It felt like I was running, that’s how long it took,” said Holloway. Bar Slide came into the Oaks with a 1:52.4 record, faster than any Oaks has gone.
“She was a contender,” added Holloway, “and actually the race she went last week — and I told Tim it turned out that the front end was deadly last week — we were both concerned that she got caught at the wire (she was second), even though she got caught by Poof, who’s a great horse — you don’t make a million dollars by accident.
“I said we have a lot of factors, we can be better and today we had a headwind before the race and the rest was up to him (Tim Tetrick). For the owners, it couldn’t be nicer, for Mitchel (Skolnick) and the Caldwells and for Harold Kelly who works for me. You can’t find a man who likes the game better than Harold.”