Sixteen down, one to go. Bee A Magician will try to complete a perfect season Saturday night when she faces nine foes in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Ranked No. 1 in the sport's current Top 10 poll, Bee A Magician is 16-for-16 this year, with $1.42 million in earnings. She will start the Moni Maker from post eight for trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and driver Brian Sears. "I am feeling a bit of pressure, yeah," Norman said. "I wasn't feeling any until now, because you're so close. We're a few days away from it being over. "But it's exciting. The other thing is you could be not racing. Two weeks from now when she's not racing and she's out in the paddock I'm going to miss her, that's for sure." Bee A Magician will try to join Muscle Hill, Syrinx Hanover and A Worthy Lad as the only trotters to go undefeated at age 3 and earn year-end honors dating back to 1975. Muscle Hill, a colt, won all 12 of his races in 2009 and was named Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. Syrinx Hanover, a filly, went 12-for-12 in 2001 and was named Trotter of the Year in the U.S. (losing Horse of the Year to filly pacer Bunny Lake). A Worthy Lad, a colt, was perfect in 13 starts in 1990 and received the O'Brien Award as Canada's best 3-year-old male trotter. "It's just a dream," said Mel Hartman, who owns Bee A Magician with David McDuffee and Herb Liverman. "At times she's done it so easy it's scary. I've had some great horses, but if you have a horse that's being considered for Horse of the Year they have to be super special. I would say she's super special. It's been a hell of a ride." Bee A Magician's wins this year include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, in a stakes-record 1:51.4, and the $500,000 Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record 1:52.4. She also captured the Elegantimage Stakes, the Delvin Miller Memorial in a world-record 1:51, and the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. For her career, Bee A Magician has won 26 of 29 races and earned $2.18 million. Her earnings are the record for any filly, trotter or pacer, at ages 2 and 3 combined. She is coming off a victory in the American-National Stakes on Nov. 9 at Balmoral Park in Chicago. "She's had three weeks since her last race, so she's not right on top of her game, I wouldn't say," Norman said. "But we trained today (Tuesday) so she's going to be very close." There is no precipitation in the forecast for Saturday, but it will be cold. The high temperature is projected at 38 degrees and the low at 32. "I'm nervous racing this late in the year," Hartman said. "My experience is that fillies and mares are not too crazy about racing in the cold. It seems harder on them than the (male) horses. I just hope we haven't made a mistake." The Moni Maker field includes Sheena's Shadow, Handover Belle, Ma Chere Hall, Andie Sophia, Little Bitty Lies, Southwind Cocoa and Time To Kill lining up inside Bee A Magician, with Mistery Woman and Deja Vu Too to her outside on the starting gate. "I didn't expect anything like this," Norman said about Bee A Magician's campaign. "You don't expect that from any horse. It is a long year; the horse has been in work since February and we're almost to December. It's 10 months of hard work and a lot of starts. "It's just tough for them to keep going and be good the whole time. It's amazing that she has been, really. That's why it's such a big achievement, I guess. "She's a great horse. I hope she finishes it off." by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications
Drop The Ball and driver Corey Callahan showed true grit in being parked out the entire mile and still coming on at the finish to win the $217,000 Lady Liberty Pace for older mares in 1:49. Two-time Older Mare of the Year, Anndrovette, started off the fourth race for driver Tim Tetrick, going right to the lead with Krispy Apple (Brian Sears) on their back to the opening quarter mile in :26.1. Meanwhile Callahan and Drop the Ball were in fourth on the outside and slowly grinding their way towards the leaders. At the half in :53.3, Anndrovette was still firmly in command but Drop The Ball had all but collared her and would not give up. The same took place at the three-quarters in 1:21, but Drop The Ball was still there on the outside and actually had the lead by a nose. And as they came down the stretch, racing neck and neck, head and head to the wire, Callahan was able to urge Drop The Ball on at the finish to win by three-quarters of a length as Anndrovette tired at the very end. Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras) was third. Trained by Ross Croghan and owned by the Let It Ride Stable, Dana Parham and the Robert Cooper Stables of Florida, it was the third win this year for Drop The Ball, a daughter of Western Terror, who paid $10.80 to win. “It really was some effort. She deserved the win today,” said Callahan, “Anndrovette is such a tough competitor and she’s kind of been getting the upper hand on Drop the Ball so it’s nice for her to go ahead and get a win today and get her picture taken.” Steve Wolf
Tim Tetrick will try to do what no driver has done in 25 years – win the Hambletonian in consecutive years. John Campbell, who has won a record six Hambletonians, was the last driver to accomplish the feat. He won in 1987 with Mack Lobell and in 1988 with Armbro Goal. Billy Haughton, who won with Steve Lobell in 1976 and Green Speed in 1977, is the only other driver to pull off wins in back-to-back Hambletonians in the last 70 years. Two other drivers won in consecutive years, Henry Thomas in 1937-38 and Ben White in 1942-43. Ron Pierce is trying to become the sixth driver with at least four Hambletonian wins. Pierce, who drives Spider Blue Chip in the Hambo, would join Campbell, White, Haughton, Stanley Dancer and Mike Lachance on the list. He also would give trainer Chuck Sylvester his fifth trophy, which would tie the record for most wins among trainers. The last trainer to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years was Per Eriksson in 1991 with Giant Victory and 1992 with Alf Palema. Linda Toscano, who won last year’s Hambo with Market Share, is without a starter in this year’s event. She will send Market Share into the John Cashman Jr. Memorial (see note below). This year’s Hambletonian features five trainers who have hoisted the trophy previously. They are Sylvester, Jimmy Takter, Noel Daley, Greg Peck and Ray Schnittker. The Hambletonian returns to the format it used from 1991 through 1996 with the eliminations and final on the same day and a horse only needing to win the final to be declared the champion. Elim winners, though, came back to win the final in five of those six years. The only exception was Alf Palema in 1992; he was second in his elimination. Market Share, last year’s Hambletonian winner, is back on Hambo Day in the $318,350 John Cashman Jr. Memorial (formerly Nat Ray Invitational) for older trotters. The 4-year-old is undefeated in three races this season and is coming off a victory in the Maple Leaf Trot. Market Share, who is the 6-5 morning line favorite, will try to become the first Hambletonian champ to win this event since Mack Lobell in 1988. Of course, as DRF Harness’ Derick Giwner pointed out earlier this week, only one other Hambo winner has competed in the race since then: gelding Vivid Photo. This year’s Cashman has six former Hambletonian finalists in the field, with Guccio, Uncle Peter, Hot Shot Blue Chip, Luckycharm Hanover and Wishing Stone joining Market Share. Only two horses in 32 years have won the Maple Leaf Trot and Nat Ray in the same year: San Pail (2011) and Rotation (2003). Five horses share the all-time record of 1:50.1 for trotting on a mile track. Two of those horses accomplished the feat in the Nat Ray: Chapter Seven in 2012 and Lucky Jim in 2009. While on the subject of fast times, Warrawee Needy, who earlier this year equaled the time for the fastest race mile in history (1:46.4) is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $213,650 U.S. Pacing Championship for older male pacers. Sweet Lou, who in 2011 became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in history, and Bolt The Duer, the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track, are 3-1 and 4-1, respectively. Father Patrick and Nuncio, who have traded head victories the last two times out, are the top choices in the $280,500 Peter Haughton Memorial. Father Patrick, from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, is 6-5 on the morning line and Nuncio is 8-5. Jim Oscarsson, who trained last year’s Peter Haughton winner Aperfectyankee, trains Nuncio. Aperfectyankee will appear later on the card in the Hambletonian, along with Takter’s Corky, Dontyouforgetit and High Bridge. Corky was second in last year’s Peter Haughton. Takter sends four 2-year-old filly trotters into the $321,700 Merrie Annabelle final. Lifetime Pursuit, who is 3-for-3 this season for the Takter Stable, is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Another Takter trainee, Shake It Cerry, is 2-for-2 and a half-sister to Hambletonian starter Dontyouforgetit. She is the 5-2 second choice. Anndrovette, the two-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $217,100 Lady Liberty. Anndrovette, coming off a half-length victory over Drop The Ball in the Roses Are Red Stakes, set the pace in last year’s Lady Liberty before finishing third as Put On A Show set the record for fastest time ever for a female pacer (1:47.3). Drop The Ball is second choice at 5-2. The $55,000 Ima Lula Series final for older female trotters features five of last year’s Hambletonian Oaks competitors: winner Personal Style, runner-up Win Missy B, Real Babe, Maven and Check Me Out. Maven, who has won five of six races this season, is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post nine. Two-time divisional champ Check Me Out, who was the favorite in last year’s Oaks but went off stride on the final turn and was subsequently disqualified from third to eighth, is 5-2. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
The North American breed has had a huge influence on harness racing in New Zealand in recent decades - but going by last Saturday's big Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands the Kiwis are also playing a major role in the sport in the United States.
Harness racing driver Jody Jamieson found room late in the stretch with Put On A Show and burst along the pylons for a world-record 1:47.3 victory in the $253,700 Lady Liberty for older female pacers Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Lower fees help boost nominations to Meadowlands Racetrack's summer stakes events for harness racing 2-year-old horses by over 35 percent in 2012.
Those lucky enough to have won harness racing's Meadowlands Pace or the Hambletonian, among the most prestigious Standardbred races in the world, carry with them a cherished memory for a lifetime.
This Week: The Grand Circuit is off this week. Harness racing will resume the week of August 14 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, and Harrah's Chester in Pennsylvania.
San Pail Conquers Nat Ray Invitational; Trained and co-owned by Rod Hughes of Dunsford and driven by Randy Waples of Milton, San Pail set a new lifetime mark in the harness racing $300,000 Nat Ray Invitational Saturday afternoon at The Meadowlands.
Champion Canadian mare Dreamfair Eternal racked up her 50th career win when claiming the $245,000 Lady Liberty Free-For-All for harness racing pacing mares at the Meadowlands today (Saturday August 6). The 2010 Canadian Horse Of the Year and O'Brien winner stopped the clock in 1:49.2.
The $248,000 Lady Liberty Final was won at the sizzling three-quarters by On The Glass, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. The 1:49 victory was never in question down the stretch as favorite Dreamfair Eternal got a late start kicking it in and could not dismiss the only late charger, Tug River Princess, who got second.
NBC, whose sports division was recognized this year with nine Emmy Awards, the most of any network, will provide high-definition live coverage of this year's harness racing Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Saturday afternoon, Aug. 7.
Southwind Tempo [$2.20, $2.10, $2.10] held off her stable mate Tug River Princess at the wire to win the $246,000 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares Friday night at the Meadowlands. Southwind Tempo, driven by Tim Tetrick, assumed command from Tug River Princess before the half and rebuffed a bid by A and G's Confusion on the far turn.
Hana Hanover may not be a household name in harness racing, but she will move one step closer to millionaire status with a victory in the $246,000 Lady Liberty on Friday night at the Meadowlands. "She's probably not the most glitzy horse going, but she's got a big heart and always gives it her all," said her trainer, Mark Steacy.
Rick has chosen the rich Lady Liberty Stakes as his race-of-the-day at The Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday night. The Stakes, which is the fifth event is worth almost $247,000. Rick likes the numbers 7-1-6-3 in this event. Click below to find out who they are. He's also included two 5-1 bonus longshots in races six and eight.
Life Of Luxury (6m Live Or Die-Lavish Franco) eclipsed the most important kiwi-bred wins in America of recent years when she took out the $250,000 Lady Liberty Mares' Final at The Meadowlands, New Jersey, on Friday night in 1:51.