Bee A Magician joined elite company during Saturday’s stakes card at Mohawk Racetrack as she became the first mare to win the $680,000 Maple Leaf Trot since the great Peaceful Way accomplished the feat nine years ago.
Brian Sears drove the five-year-old Kadabra mare Bee A Magician to her 40th career win for trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman and owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.
As part of the evening’s retirement tribute to San Pail, the three-time Maple Leaf Trot champion lead the post parade for the 64th edition of the trotting classic.
When the talented field of 10 trotters were released from the gate, JL Cruze (John Campbell), a $45,000 supplemental entry, fired away to a three-length lead past the quarter in :26.4 and into the backstretch. Campbell then rated a second panel, reaching the half in :55.3. Meanwhile, 6-5 favourite Resolve (Ake Svanstedt), another supplemental entry and an elimination winner, followed in second with Bee A Magician third and elimination winner Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) fourth.
With Flanagan Memory (Tim Tetrick) moving out from mid-pack, Resolve pulled the pocket and Bee A Magician followed suit. Resolve confronted JL Cruze as they raced by three-quarters in 1:24.1 and took over command into the stretch with Bee A Magician chasing. Resolve and Bee A Magician battled down the lane, with the mare gaining the upper hand as the wire approached. Bee A Magician prevailed in 1:52.3 by half a length over Resolve while Natural Herbie finished third.
“We were following two of the best horses and the trip worked out great,” said Sears, who won his first Maple Leaf Trot in 2008 with Arch Madness. “Ake’s horse raced super and she beat a stellar field tonight. I’m very proud of her, no doubt about it.”
“It’s a once and a lifetime opportunity [to train a horse like this],” said Norman. “I’m really happy for the owners, they’re a bunch of great guys. She’s just a champion and I’m lucky to have her.”
The career winner of $3.6 million is scheduled to tackle the boys again, representing Canada in the $1 million International Trot on Oct. 10 at Yonkers Raceway in New York City.