Bee A Magician to race at 4 & 5!
We are talking today with Richard 'Nifty' Norman, renowned trainer of world class trotters and pacers. But for this interview the focus will be on world record holder filly trotter, Bee A Magician and the news that she will not only race again next year at age 4, but also at age 5!
Bee A Magician is currently undefeated this year with 13 straight victories. Among her sophomore triumphs are the Hambletonian Oaks, Casual Breeze, Elegant Image, Del Miler Memorial, and Simcoe Stakes, including a world record time of 1:51 in the Del Miller. We caught up with Nifty at his home as he prepares Bee A Magician for the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs. Conducting the interview for Harnesslink.com is Brian McEvoy.
Hlink: Congratulations on an outstanding victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final. What are your thoughts on the race and how did she come out of the race?
RN: She came out of the race in great shape. She had a long trip back but she is doing fine.
Hlink: Was there any thoughts to racing her in the Kentucky Futurity?
RN: No, no, two heats and 6 days out to the Breeders elims are killers. Everyone has realized they should fix that thing and screwed it up, but it is too late now.
Hlink: Let's go back to the beginning last year. Tell us about your first impressions of Bee A Magician.
RN: She grew up on the farm where I was stabled. I didn't even have to get out of the car. You could see that she was big and athletic. The best looking filly I have ever seen. I also knew the mother, Beehive, and that she also trained right at the farm. I knew she was a tough mare to train and they had a little trouble breaking her in. They couldn't get a cart on her. She was a great looking mare and I got to know her at the farm, also.
Hlink: You have many other horses with the three outstanding owners, Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. Tell us about your relationship with them?
RN: They are all outstanding guys. They go to the sales every year and try to buy the best horses they can. They are very supportive. They always look for the positive and not the negative. When the horses are not good enough, they get rid of them. I am so fortunate enough to have such good owners.
Hlink: How did Bee A Magician change from a 2-year-old to a 3-year-old?
RN: She became bigger and stronger. The big thing I noticed was her change in personality. She became very focused on race day. She knew what was going on better than I did. When she got to the track she gets her game face on and goes to work. She is like a professional sports athlete, ready to go to work.
Hlink: You decided to not race her against the boys in the Hambo. Any regrets on that decision?
RN: No regrets, I have total respect for Royalty For Life. I think he is a very good horse. We would have had to tangle with him. We have had a wonderful season, so far. I think she could beat the boys. She is an exceptional filly and we are going to give her the opportunity to beat them next year.
Hlink: What do you think her best race was this year? Was it the Del Miller where she set the world record, the Oaks, or some other race?
RN: Obviously the 1:51 mile was unbelievable. It was scary how easily she won that race. Just a couple of weeks back she raced in the Simcoe. The horse in the lead had kicked away by 4 to 5 lengths. She had to make up 9 or 10 lengths. She kept on motoring and ended up winning by 2 lengths going away. It was an unbelievable race to watch.
Hlink: Rick Zeron has been with you driving the horse for most of her races this year and last year. He is quoted as saying, "She is best 3-year-old filly ever. Tell us about your relationship with Rick and his part of the success of Bee A Magician.
RN: Rick is a great horseman. He has been around a lot. I have great respect for his opinion. We decided we would use a Canadian guy in Canada and an American guy in America. It will be the same next year. We will probably use Rick or his son (Scott Zeron) in Canada and an American guy in America.
Hlink: You have stated you are racing her in two more events this year, the Breeders Crown, and the Moni Maker.
RN: Depending how she comes out of the Breeders Crown, she will go to Moni Maker. We will keep her going. There are not too many $200,000 dollar races for her next year. We will give her a long rest after that. We might give her 2 to 3 months rest after that.
Hlink: In last year’s Breeders Crown you finished 3rd. You were 9th, 13 lengths back at the half. Tell us about that race.
RN: She got away too far back. Woodbine is a terrible track to try and make ground up on. She actually raced a tremendous race to finish third. If you watched the replay she was unbelievable. It was just one of those things. The horse in front of her made a break on one of the turns. It was tough, but she raced very well. The Breeders Crown is the icing on the cake and hopefully we can pull it off this year.
Hlink: Who do you consider your biggest threat in the Breeders Crown? Pocono Downs is a speed favoring track. Will you change your tactics and race near or on the lead?
RN: It is probably Frau Blucher or Jimmy Taker's filly who won again the other day. There are a bunch of fillies that are very good. You need to draw very good at Pocono. You got to change your tactics. You got to be close to the front. She can leave the gate. Depending on the draw, we will be racing close to the front. You don't have any chose there.
Hlink: You stated earlier that you will race Bee A Magician at age 4. What is the game plan for next year?
RN: We are going to race her next year. There are not a lot of races for her next year. We will probably have to stake her to some races against the colts. We will probably have her not start till May or June. The more interesting year will be her 5 year old year. We are considering taking her to Europe to race.
By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com