The sensational Bee A Magician puts her perfect 7-for-7 record this season on the line in a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks elimination on Saturday night at The Meadowlands Racetrack.
Bee A Magician, the leader in the 3-year-old trotting filly division, has her eyes squarely on the big prize: the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 3.
To get there, she must first pass Saturday’s elimination test. The Oaks drew 14 entrants. They were evenly divided into a pair of eliminations with the top five from each advancing to the final on the undercard for the $1.2 million Hambletonian.
In addition to the Oaks eliminations, the 13-race card starting at 7:15 p.m. also includes a pair of $50,000 eliminations for the U.S. Pacing Championship, two $25,000 Opens for 3-year-old trotters pointing to the Hambletonian and the prep races for the Thomas D’Altrui SBOA Miss New Jersey and the Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic.
And bring an appetite. There will be free admission, and all the grilled corn you can eat, on Corntastic Night with competitions for husking, carrying and eating corn.
Bee A Magician has the rail with Ron Pierce set to drive in the first Oaks elimination, her return to action following a world record victory in the Delvin Miller Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands.
She trotted the mile in 1:51, fastest ever by a 3-year-old trotting filly. The overpowering score sparked speculation she might tackle the boys in the Hambletonian.
After weighing the pros and cons, trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and the ownership team of Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee opted for the Oaks.
“We just feel that going two heats against the boys might be too much,” Norman said. “All the owners are on board with it.”
Norman still marvels at Bee A Magician’s record-setting win.
“The last performance was obviously her best,” he said. “Even I was surprised. She’s a good horse but that was phenomenal. I don’t think it’s a one-time thing. I think we’ll see more of that. She acted like she was a little short after that mile and I think she might actually improve off that.”
Bee A Magician is currently ranked #2 behind Meadowlands Pace winner Captaintreacherous in the latest Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll.
Hartman and Norman are looking for an Oaks double. They captured the race last year with Personal Style in a $116.40 upset. The price will obviously be much lower if Bee A Magician comes through for them. She is the 3-5 favorite in her elimination.
The other contenders in the first Oaks elimination, in post position order, are: Fashion Athena, Miss Steele, Ma Chere Hall, Frau Blucher, Handover Belle and Déjà Vu Too.
To Dream On, last season’s Dan Patch Award winner as the division champion, tops the second Oaks elimination as the 5/2 choice.
That full field, in post position order: Time To Kill, Southwind Cocoa, Raring To Go S, To Dream On, Coffeecake Hanover, Mistery Woman and Classic Martine.
The top Free-For-All Pacers are back in action for the U.S. Pacing Championship eliminations with the top five returning for the $213,650 final on Hambletonian Day.
Bolt The Duer and Sweet Lou, the second and the third place finishers in the Big M’s William Haughton Memorial final, square off again in the first elimination.
The second elimination is loaded, with a lineup that includes: Haughton winner Pet Rock, world-record holder Warrawee Needy and Foiled Again, the richest pacer ever with $5.1 million in the bank.
The U.S. Pacing Championship is another key event in the inaugural TVG Free-For-All Series that culminates with a $500,000 final at The New Meadowlands Racetrack on Nov. 30.
The 3-year-old Open Trots give Hambletonian hopefuls one last chance to compete over the track before the main event next weekend. Corky, the new leader in Ken Warkentin’s “Road to the Hambletonian” rankings, gets his final Hambo tune-up in the first Open.
Hambletonian Day is closing day, and the zenith of the Championship Meet. Fans can follow the next two action-filled weekends at meadowlandsracetrack.com and on Twitter at #Hambo13.
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