The wonder filly set a stakes, track and Canadian record while winning the $385,000 Elegantimage final at Mohawk.
by Dave Briggs and Mark McKelvie / WEG standardbred communications
Al Libfeld calls Ariana G a “once in a lifetime” horse.
“She’s definitely our most exciting horse ever,” said Libfeld, who bred and owns the exceptional daughter of Muscle Hill—Cantab It All with his partner Marvin Katz. “She’s special. We can only dream of this type of thing. It’s unbelievable.”
Saturday at Mohawk, Ariana G lowered the stakes, track and Canadian record with a flashy 1:51.4 score in the $385,000 Elegantimage Final for three-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening at Mohawk, part of the Canadian Trotting Classic and Maple Leaf Trot undercard.
Ariana G, trained by Jimmy Takter, is the second of five foals out of Cantab It All. Her older full-sister All The Time made just shy of $1 million. Libfeld said other promising young horses out of Cantab It all are coming.
“She has a weanling, full-sister, that’s absolutely gorgeous,” Libfeld said. “She has a two-year-old (Fleet Admiral) that developed colic on the Thursday before the sale, so we retained him. He got a late start, but he qualified in :56 at Lexington and we’re pretty excited about him. Then we have a yearling that got kicked in the head, but he’s recovering. He’s a Trixton yearling. She’s not in foal, but we’re hoping for fillies only because we haven’t had the best of luck with the colts.”
The weanling is named Selena G — to add another pop star to the family. Ariana G is named for Ariana Grande. Libfeld said the plan is to keep Selena G.
“It’s a great family that delivers unbelievable performance. The cross works so well with Muscle Hill. We can’t get enough of him,” he said.
As for Ariana G, the 1-9 heavy favourite and driver Yannick Gingras got away third as Sweet of My Heart and Dream Together took turns leading the field into the backstretch. Sweet of My Heart was the earlier leader past the :26.4 opening panel. Dream Together was then pulled from the pocket and marched to the front.
Before the mid-way point, Ariana G was on the move from third then past the :55.3 half she brushed to the lead and that is where she remained. The homebred filly breezed by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.3 as Dream Together was pulled from the pocket. The 8-1 second choice couldn’t catch Ariana G as she opened up by four and one-quarter lengths before crossing the wire. Dream Together stayed for second and Magic Presto was third.
Katz told WEG’s Chad Rozema that Ariana G may race next year as a four-year-old.
“Actually, I spoke with Jimmy about it last week. Our plan is to bring her back next year, which is unusual. We typically won’t do that, but she’s so talented and we enjoy racing her so much. I think it’s great for the sport and great for her. Perhaps, we’ll think about Europe or something like that, but the plan right now is to bring her back next year,” Katz said.
When it comes time for Ariana G to retire and become a broodmare, Gingras said he will always remember the Takter trainee for her versatility.
“She can do anything you want her to do and she is so smart,” said her reinsman. “It also makes my job real easy. She has high speed like the top fillies I have driven. She is so easy to drive. Every time I get on the racetrack I know I’ll see how the race plays out.”
Ariana G, who has finished top three in all but one of her 22 lifetime starts, notched her ninth victory of the season and 18th lifetime. With the win, Ariana G lifts her career earnings to $1,641,772, who following the race were presented with a Breeder of the Year Award from Equestrian Canada.
Ariana G paid $2.10 and 2.10, combining with Dream Together ($3.40) for a $4.40 (4-3) exacta. A 4-3-7 (Magic Presto) trifecta was worth $7.60, while a $1 superfecta [4-3-7-9 (Dream Baby Dream)] returned $18.70. There was no show wagering.