CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — While the harness racing industry’s attention has been focused on trotting filly Bee A Magician’s undefeated sophomore season and record setting miles, trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman has been quietly campaigning a number of other Ontario-sired youngsters hoping for Super Final success at Mohawk Racetrack on Saturday night.
In addition to his stable standout, Norman will start two-year-old trotting filly Toughs Legacy, two-year-old trotting colt Great White Way, three-year-old trotting filly Choir Robe and three-year-old pacing colt Mach It So in their respective $200,000 Super Final divisions.
Toughs Legacy heads into the freshman filly contest off a confidence building four length victory at Grand River Raceway on Sept. 20 and Norman likes what he has seen from the Kadabra daughter in recent weeks.
“We kind of liked her all along, but she seemed to have a few issues getting away from the gate,” explains the New Jersey resident. “She put it all together at Grand River, so hopefully she’s coming around at the right time.
“She got a good draw and she’s got a good driver,” he adds. “It would be nice to get a top three finish.”
Sylvain Filion will pick up the drive aboard Toughs Legacy, steering the filly from Post 2 in the second race. The first time the Milton resident sat behind the youngster he engineered a third-place result in the Aug. 5 Mid-Summer Consolation at Mohawk.
Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL own the filly, who is the first and only foal from their $236,320 winning mare One Tough Girl.
Hartman, Liverman and McDuffee also share ownership of Bee A Magician and will be keeping their fingers crossed that she can extend her flawless record to 13 sophomore victories on Saturday. Regular reinsman Rick Zeron of Oakville will steer Bee A Magician from Post 6 in the three-year-old trotting filly Super Final and Norman says the winner of $1.7 million seems to be ready for her last Ontario Sires Stakes appearance.
“We trained her here this morning and she trained very, very good. She seems nice and sound and healthy,” says the horseman. “I’m very happy with the way she looks and feels.”
Bee A Magician has vanquished every foe she has encountered this season, whether Ontario-sired or American-bred, and set world and Ontario Sires Stakes records in the process. Norman has remained pragmatic through the hype that has spiraled around his star trotter and is simply focused on the task of having her ready for Saturday night.
“Every horse gets beat sooner or later and so will she, so I don’t even think about it,” he explains, “One race at a time.”
Choir Robe will also carry the Norman stable colours in the sophomore trotting filly showdown. Another daughter of Kadabra owned by Hartman, Liverman and McDuffee, Choir Robe has been a consistent cheque earner all season, but she has her work cut out for her from Post 10 on Saturday.
“With the 10-hole it will be hard for her to even get a cheque,” says Norman. “She’ll have to get a little lucky from there.”
Two races later Norman will send freshman trotting colt Great White Way into the fray riding a two race win streak. The Deweycheatumnhowe colt posted a 1:57.3 win in a two-year-old event at Mohawk on Sept. 9 and then secured a berth in the Super Final with a 1:58 win over the Campbellville oval in the last Gold Series event.
“Like Toughs Legacy, he seems to be putting things together at the right time of the year,” says Norman.
“I like his draw,” the trainer continues. “I think he’s a horse that’s probably better coming from off a helmet.”
Guelph resident Doug McNair will be back in the race bike behind Great White Way, piloting the colt after his third lifetime win from Post 6. Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, PA own the first foal from their $508,792 winner Stage Show.
Completing Norman’s Super Final contingent is three-year-old pacing gelding Mach It So, who finished atop the division standings with a perfect record of four wins in four Gold Series starts. The Mach Three son and Cambridge resident Billy Davis Jr. will benefit from Post 1 in the tenth race, the last of the eight Super Finals.
“You’re always apprehensive about the draw. I was worried either he or Bee A Magician were going to get a 10,” admits Norman. “But I like his draw, obviously.”
Norman says the gelding, owned by Bamond Racing LLC of Brick, NJ, came down with a virus while he was in Ohio for the Sept. 19 Little Brown Jug. After a round of antibiotics, four days of rest and few of light jogging, the gelding is slated for a light training mile on Thursday morning, which the trainer hopes will set him up for a fifth Gold Series win.
“As long as he’s on his game, I think he’ll be tough,” says Norman. “He’s been able to beat those horses before.
“You’re always a little uncertain, but I kind of think he’ll bounce back just fine.”
The first Super Final goes postward as Race 2 on Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday evening program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. After a trotting under saddle exhibition Bee A Magician will parade onto the track for Race 3 and the remaining $200,000 battles will take place in Races 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
For complete entries please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.
by Sandra Snyder for OSS