09/01/2016 9:48PM

Mohawk: Muscle Hill fillies sweep Champlain Stakes

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Ariana G and Dream Together picked up Grand Circuit victories Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

A group of 20 rookie trotting fillies were split into two $110,566 Champlain Stakes division.

Ariana G has quickly stamped herself as arguably the top 2-year-old trotter in the sport and Thursday night she continued her winning ways in her Mohawk debut.

The Jimmy Takter trained filly left from post five with driver Yannick Gingras and after avoiding several early breakers, the daughter of Muscle Hill cleared to the front at the opening-quarter in 29 4/5.

Ariana G coasted through the middle-half by posting fractions of 59 1/5 and 1:27 4/5. In the stretch, the daughter of Muscle Hill glided home effortlessly in 28 for a 1:55 4/5 victory.

Takter’s other starter, That’s All Moni, finished 2-1/4 lengths back in second, while Stuck In My Spanks edged out Magic Presto for third.

Owned and bred by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G is now a perfect five for five following her Champlain victory.

“This is really a special filly, but watching her makes me nervous because I know how talented she is,” said Katz following his filly’s victory. “It’s a thrill and a pleasure to be able to say we bred her and we own her and she is part of our program and system.”

Thursday’s start was the first for Ariana G since capturing the Doherty Memorial on August 6 at The Meadowlands in a stunning 1:53 1/5.

“The first time I saw her she was about three months old and she was a weanling out in the fields of Kentucky,” noted Katz. “We saw her periodically as she grew up.

“She looked like she was talented as she was developing and growing and of course last year her full-sister, All The Time, was a top performer and won the Breeders Crown as a two-year-old, so we knew that we had terrific pedigrees to go with a top individual.”

Ariana G has now earned $270,870 through just five starts for Katz and Libfeld. The Takter trainee paid $2.20 to win.

Katz noted that if Ariana G comes out of the Champlain well, she will be back at Mohawk next week for the Peaceful Way eliminations.

Dream Together extended her win streak to four with a 1:56 2/5 triumph in the first division.

The daughter of Muscle Hill was sent to the front by driver Sylvain Filion and posted an opening-quarter of 28 4/5. Sianna Hanover, the 4/5 favourite, made a second-quarter move to the front from third and led the field through middle-half fractions of 58 2/5 and 1:28.

In the stretch, Dream Together converted off the perfect two-hole trip by edging off the back of Sianna Hanover and rocketing by. The Luc Blais trainee stormed home in 28 1/5 to win by 1-1/4 lengths over Winter Sweet Frost.

Sianna Hanover didn’t have much trot in the lane and faded back to finish third.

A $240,000 purchase at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Dream Together now has four wins in five starts, with her only loss coming in her career debut on July 26.

Following Thursday’s race, Filion noted that Dream Together didn’t exactly bring her ‘A’ game to the Champlain.

“She was very powerful tonight, but my only concern was for some reason she wasn’t trotting the turns very good,” said Filion. “That’s the first tonight that she kind of struggled in the turns, but Luc (Blais) will solve the puzzle.”

Dream Together swept the Pure Ivory Series before picking up a Grand Circuit victory Thursday. The daughter of Muscle Hill now has $89,463 earned for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec and is eligible to next week’s Peaceful Way eliminations.

“I’m looking forward to the next start,” said Filion. “She makes me very happy and excited to be driving her.”

Dream Together paid $5.30 to win.

Grand Circuit action continues Friday night at Mohawk with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Post time is 7:30 p.m.

-edited release (WEG)