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Ariana G Caps Big Night For Katz, Libfeld

Published: September 1, 2017 9:10 pm ET

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Returning to the scene of her 2016 Peaceful Stakes victory on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack, Ariana G overcame a trailing tier start to win the $166,872 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and cap off a big night of Grand Circuit action for owners and breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.

Katz and Libfeld were also part of the ownership group on two-year-old trotting colt You Know You Do, who won a $93,880 division of the Champlain Stakes, and the duo bred the other Champlain winner Night Rhythm with Sam Goldband.

Driven by Yannick Gingras in the Simcoe, their champion trotting filly Ariana G got away third from post 11 and swept past early leavers Feed Your Head (Louis-Philippe Roy) and Dream Together (Sylvain Filion) following a :27.1 first quarter. The Jimmy Takter trainee advanced to the lead on the way to the half in :56.1 and raced by three-quarters in 1:25.1 while keeping first-over challenger Southwind Tesla (Phil Hudon) at bay to win by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:53.1, a Canadian season's record for trotting fillies. Ariana G's stablemate Feed Your Head edged out Southwind Tesla for the runner-up role.

"She's easy going and it doesn't matter to her, anything you want to do, she's a professional and she showed it again tonight," said Gingras of Ariana G's first trailing tier start. "She felt really good. Down the stretch, I was just taking it easy on her. The [ear] plugs were still in and [I was] just measuring them off and trying to save some for the future."

The homebred Muscle Hill-Cantab It All filly, who is undefeated in four races on Canadian soil, earned her 16th career win from 20 starts and boosted her bankroll over $1.43 million.

Ariana G paid $2.90 to win.

Peter Haughton champion You Know You Do added another Grand Circuit stakes victory to his resume with a 1:55.1 Canadian season's record mile in rein to Gingras.

Trotting out from post five, You Know You Do worked his way to the lead through a :29 opening quarter. The 4-5 favourite then headed to the half in :58.2 and took off, widening his lead to four lengths by three-quarters in 1:27. You Know You Do wrapped up his blowout win with his rivals chasing six and three-quarter lengths behind. Alarm Detector (Trevor Henry) came on from the backfield to secure second-place honours and Embolden (Rick Zeron) finished third.

Takter trains the Muscle Hill-You Want Me colt, who was a $350,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase by Howard Taylor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Order By Stable of Boras, Sweden, Bud Hatfield of Columbus, Ohio, and the Toronto-based Mkatz Alibfeld Sgoldband partnership. He was bred by Valley High Stable of Freehold, New Jersey.

"He was exceptional tonight. This is a really top-end colt and we're thrilled and proud of him," said co-owner Marvin Katz, who noted the colt was recommended to him and his partners by Perry Soderberg.

You Know You Do is now four-for-six with almost $254,000 banked in purse earnings.

He paid $3.60 to win.

The Frank Antonacci stable swept the top two spots in the second division, with Night Rhythm and Kinda Lucky Lindy swarming race leader Cruising In Style in the final eighth of the mile ending in a photo finish.

Cruising In Style (Anthony MacDonald) was first off the gate and had a five-length advantage on his foes after early pocket rider Sweet Talkin Hall (James MacDonald) broke stride past the :29 quarter mark. Cruising In Style continued to lead the field through middle splits of :58.4 and 1:27.3 with Levitation (Doug McNair) in pursuit, but drifting across the track in the stretch. However, the Antonacci colts kicked into action down the lane. Night Rhythm closed inside for driver Scott Zeron while Kinda Lucky Lindy trotted up on the outside for Rick Zeron, with the former nosing out the latter in the win photo while Cruising In Style settled for third a half-length back.

Night Rhythm's 1:57.2 victory was his first win in three starts after picking up a pair of cheques in the Pennsylvania Stallion Series stateside. He is owned by Lindy Farms Of Conn of Enfield, Connecticut and Robert Rudolph of Vineland, New Jersey.

"I think they chose to race him in the Stallion Series just to keep him brave, not to chase a lot of hard speed," said Scott Zeron. "They did the right thing, it panned out today. I had to nurse him a little bit in the last turn, but it turned into a sprint down the lane.

"All the respect to the horse that finished second of Frank's. He's just as nice of a horse too. It's exciting heading forward and they're both really nice horses."

Bred by Libfeld, Katz and Goldband, the Muscle Hill-Tail Of Night colt was a $160,000 yearling purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale.

"I am really excited about Night Rhythm and I want to congratulate Frank Antonacci and the Antonacci family," said Katz. "I'm thrilled for them. We bred that horse and it's just a testament to the program that Al and I built over all these years and the great people that help us."

Night Rhythm paid $6.30 to win.

Friday's program also featured Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots for two-year-old pacing fillies. The three $19,500 divisions were won by the Jack Darling homebred Neon Moon (Sportswriter-Beach Of A Time) in 1:54.1, equalling her lifetime mark with Jody Jamieson driving; Shower Play (Shadow Play-Alice Emil) in a career-best 1:53 for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer/co-owner Rene Dion; and Azure Seelster (Shadow Play-Winbak Alice) in 1:54.4 with Louis-Philippe Roy aboard for trainer Jacques Dupont.

For complete recaps and replays of the Grassroots divisions, click here.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Mohawk Racetrack.

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