HARRISBURG PA -- Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, veteran breeders and racehorse owners who were responsible for the production of two of the top trotting fillies of 2016 – Ariana G and All The Time – were the unanimous choice for Breeders of the Year by the Breeders/Broodmares committee of USHWA. The committee was also undivided in naming the top broodmares of the year: for the trotters, Cantab It All – owned by Libfeld/Katz and the dam of Ariana G and All The Time, and for the pacers, Artstopper, the dam of Always B Miki, who lowered the sport’s all-time speed record to 1:46.
The 25+ year partnership of Ontarians Katz and Libfeld certainly had one of its greatest seasons in 2016, owning both diamondgaited fillies and also sending out Breeders Crown champion Bar Hopping and the multiple-stakes winner Idyllic Beach, voted Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. “Idyllic” was joined as divisional champion on the trotting side by Ariana G, who dominated the baby trotting misses through the major portion of the stakes calendar. Ariana G’s older sister by a year, All The Time, made a remarkable recovery from emergency colic surgery after her Hambletonian Oaks victory to return to the races and win a Breeders Crown elimination.
The dam of these two talented trotting distaffs is Cantab It All, a White Birch Farm-bred daughter of Cantab Hall-Better Odds-Pine Chip, who herself took a mark of 1:53 and earned over $280,000 on the racetrack. Her first two foals, both by top racehorse turned top sire Muscle Hill, are All The Time and Ariana G, and one can only imagine the potential of, and interest in, the next foals in the Cantab It All “production line.”
Artstopper, who was unraced, has certainly made up for lost time in the broodmare shed for the Roll The Dice Stable of Delaware’s Joe Hurley. Before “Miki” came along, she had produced Yagonnakissmeornot, a $1.45M-winning daughter of The Panderosa who has raced the best of her class for several seasons – and has given Artstopper the rare distinction of having both a son and daughter who have beaten 1:50.
But 2016 was the year of Always B Miki, Harness Horse of the Year, reducer of record speed with a 1:46 mile at the famed Red Mile in Lexington on October 9. A son of Always A Virgin who like his sister Yagonnakissmeornot can trace their topline pedigree back to the hugely-influential Western Hanover, Always B Miki clashed with 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in an epic series of duels in the free-for-all pacing ranks, with Miki winning four, including the season-ending Breeders Crown, and Wiggle winning three. (These two pacing giants brought extra attention to Indiana, where they were both sired, and to Hurley’s Delaware, where they are both owned.)
Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, along with Cantab It All, Artstopper and their connections, will all be feted at the “Night Of Champions,” the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators’ website, www.ushwa.org – including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing.