by Ken Weingartner
Several months ago it might have seemed a long shot to see Bee A Magician in the Breeders Crown, but now that she’s there she is one of the favorites.
Bee A Magician, who didn’t race competitively for nearly five months because of a tendon injury, is the 2-1 second choice in Friday’s (Oct. 28) $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Trot at the Meadowlands. Hannelore Hanover, who has won 15 of 18 races this season, is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
The Meadowlands hosts the four Breeders Crown Open events on Friday and championships for 2- and 3-year-olds on Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Friday and 6:35 p.m. Saturday.
This will be Bee A Magician’s fifth appearance in a Breeders Crown final. She won trophies at ages 3 and 4, finished third at 2, and was fourth last year when she tried her luck against the boys in the Open Trot.
Bee A Magician heads to this year’s Mare Trot off a win in the $250,000 Yonkers Invitational Trot on Oct. 15. The race was contested at 1-1/4 miles. It was Bee A Magician’s first start since winning an Open Handicap at Yonkers on May 21.
“We only really went to Yonkers to give her a race,” trainer Nifty Norman said about Bee A Magician, who is four-for-four this year and has won 45 of 69 career races, good for $3.94 million in purses. “That it turned out to be a $250,000 race and you end up winning it was all a bonus. It worked out great.”
Norman had no expectations when Bee A Magician returned to action.
“Her second qualifier was very good and she does amazing things all the time, but you can’t be confident after being off for five months,” Norman said. “It was always going to be as much time as she needed (to come back). We were never going to rush her. We never really had a goal. The Breeders Crown was always a long shot. But then the leg really did well. Everything was one day at a time, and it still is.”
Bee A Magician stayed in shape by swimming while healing from her injury. Norman said the 6-year-old mare never suffered any setbacks during her recovery.
“She never lost any muscle,” Norman said. “She’s just an amazing athlete. She looked good the whole time. That was a big help. We ultra-sounded the leg every month and you could see it gradually getting better. She never took a backward step. Sometimes, they take a step back, but she looked better every day.
“Hopefully we’re out of the woods. Tendons are always a pain to fix. Not many horses do that, have a tendon and come back and be just as good at that level. That’s her.”
Bee A Magician was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. She is owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. If she wins the Mare Trot she will join Peace Corps, Grades Singing, and Mack Lobell as the only trotters with at least three trophies in the series.
Friday’s Mare Trot features a field of eight horses, but includes defending champion D’One and two-time Breeders Crown winner Shake It Cerry.
D’One, a star in Sweden trained by Roger Walmann, returned to the U.S. in mid-September. She has prepped for the Breeders Crown with two qualifiers, but has not raced competitively, in part because the Allerage Mare Trot earlier this month failed to attract enough horses.
“It’s a pretty even field, really,” Norman said about the Mare Trot. “Hannelore Hanover is probably still the horse to beat. Shake It Cerry is a champion. D’One, she hasn’t raced, but is probably one of those horses that a qualifier might be enough to get her there. She’s a great horse. It’s not a big field, but it’s a plenty good field.”
For Friday’s complete Meadowlands/Breeders Crown card, click here.
For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands/Breeders Crown card, click here.
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