A small mare with a very light way of going, Ariel was nonetheless as tough as nails. 28 of her races were at 4-mile heats, and she won 18 of them. She never failed to finish a race, was never known to be lame, and retired sound at the age of eight. It was estimated that she had raced about 345 miles during her career.
Following a match against the famous mare Flirtilla when Ariel was only a three-year-old (Ariel lost), Ariel was purchased from Mr. Lynch by either W. R. Johnson or William "Racing Billy" Wynn. Her exact ownership is difficult to determine due to the custom of the time, which required that horses be nominated to races by members of the local jockey clubs sponsoring the races in question. The nominator did not have to own the horse he nominated, and Ariel was apparently frequently "borrowed" for racing purposes in this fashion.