If the first two starts of her 2015 campaign are any indication, Bee A Magician will be a force to be reckoned with once again. On Saturday night at The Meadowlands, she not only defeated the boys in the $50,000 prep for the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial, she destroyed them.
Escaping at 12-1, despite coming off a track record performance at Yonkers Raceway, Bee A Magician was dismissed by the punters from post position 10. Off the gate, Scott Zeron asked his champion mare for a little speed, but his plan wasn’t to make the lead.
“I figured we would float out there and I would try to set her up second or third over,” said Zeron, “but nobody else really pushed out there, so she brought me to the top rather easily and then we let Yannick [Gingras] go, sat behind him and that was perfect.”
Bee A Magician did lead at the first point of call, which she reached in :27.4, but she would relinquish that lead to Gingras and DWs NY Yank, who briefly went off-stride at the start. The Ron Burke trainee entered tonight riding a four-race win streak and he would lead the field past the half-mile in :55.4.
Meanwhile, the even-money favourite, Meladys Monet was taken back off the speed and would commit first over as the field moved down the backstretch. Hambletonian winner Market Share would ride his cover around the far turn.
Bee A Magician continued to draft in the pocket behind the leader past three-quarters in 1:24.3. But from there, the mare made her move.
“She pulled me out of the pocket,” added Zeron. “She wanted to go and once she made the lead she kicked in even more.”
Bee A Magician opened up daylight in the stretch and was a geared down and ultra-impressive winner in 1:51.3. Wind Of The North rallied well to finish second, with Meladys Monet holding onto third despite a tough first over trip.
In 2013, Bee A Magician completed an undefeated campaign, that included a Hambletonian Oaks win. That campaign led to her being voted the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S. She will look to become the first mare to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in the 17-year history of the race in the $175,000 final on Saturday, May 16.
The magnificent mare is owned by Melvin Hartman, Marvin Katz and David Mc Duffee and trained by Nifty Norman. For Queen Bee, it was her 33rd victory from 49 starts. Her earnings continue to close in on $2.8 million.
The win capped off a big night for Zeron, who won four races on the card.
Earlier on the racing program, the top pacers contested the $27,500 Open Handicap, which was scratched down to a field of six. Newcomer Ellis Park was a 9-5 favourite at post time, but both Dovuto Hanover and Doctor Butch were not far behind in the pari-mutuel wagering.
Doctor Butch was asked for speed off the gate and would be guided to a pocket spot behind Fool Me Once, who would lead the field for the first three-quarters of a mile, establishing fractions of :26.2, :54.2 and 1:21.2. But the lead would not last the length of the stretch as the field closed in, none more so than Doctor Butch. The five-year-old son of Art Major ripped out of the pocket in the stretch and scampered away from the field to win impressively in 1:48.1, establishing a new lifetime mark and sending his lifetime earnings past $900,000. Dovuto Hanover rallied from off the pace to finish second, while Ellis Park, who roughed it first over, held on for third.
Doctor Butch won for the 23rd time in his career for Linda Toscano and Kenneth Jacobs and was driven to victory by his usual partner in the sulky, Tim Tetrick.
In other action, Rock Of The Ages scored a victory over a trio of North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace-eligibles, winning in 1:51 for Brett Miller. Trading Up, Sicily and Jo Pas Well Said, all on the road to the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace, finished behind the 7-1 upset winner.
Tony Alagna had a good night on Saturday at The Meadowlands. In addition to his Trading Up finishing second in his three-year-old debut, he won a pair of races with Shades Of Bay and Odds On Equuleus, both with Zeron in the sulky. The former is a Meadowlands Pace-eligible colt who was making his three-year-old debut. He was victorious in a very sharp 1:50.3.
Edward Teach, another Cup and Pace-eligible colt, scored in a condition event in a lifetime-best 1:51 for the Burke/Gingras connection.
Art History won for the third consecutive time, taking a tough condition event in 1:51.1, capping Zeron’s productive night.
There were two winning tickets in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, so that jackpot pool carried over once again and will feature a $112,844 carryover into Friday night. The last race jackpot also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $87,837 into the Friday program.
The handle of just over $2.8 million was virtually flat compared to this night in 2014, with one less race.
Racing returns on Friday and features the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old trotters and the eagerly anticipated three-year-old debut of Mission Brief. Post time is 7:15 p.m.
(Standardbred Canada With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)