Day At The Track


08:21 PM 09 Mar 2005 NZDT
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Magician, the 2000 Older Trotter of the Year and the all-time leading money winner at the Meadowlands, has been retired.

The 10-Year-Old bay gelding will lead post parade and be feted in the Meadowlands winner's circle on Sunday, April 10, the day of the Su Mac Lad Final, a stakes which he won three times.

Magician retires with $3,579,103 in earnings for eighth place on the all-time earnings list.

Driven in many of his races by David Miller, he was trained by Earl Cruise and owned by the late Bill Augenstein.

The son of Royal Prestige banked an unprecedented $1.84 million of his career total at the Meadowlands and won every major stakes on the track's schedule for free for all trotters.

He captured the Su Mac Lad Trot an unprecedented three straight years (2000, 2001 and 2002), the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in 2000 and 2001 and the Nat Ray in 1999.

Magician's crowning achievement was his victory in the $1 million Breeders Crown Trot over Moni Maker on July 29, 2000.

It was the first million-dollar win for Miller and Cruise and the first time a Breeders Crown event carried such a purse.

Magician, who was foaled March 19, 1995 in Georgetown, Kentucky, suffered a torn suspensory in his last start, a second place finish on December 26, 2003 at the Meadowlands, which snapped a six-race winning streak.

"He had his engine at the end," Cruise said.

"It was the suspensory that was the problem. Winning the 2000 Breeders Crown was probably the biggest thrill I had with him. He was not a difficult horse to train. As a matter of fact, he may have been the easiest horse I ever trained.

“He had a flawless gait and was an easygoing type. I really enjoyed Magician and I know 'Augie' (Bill Augenstein) loved that horse."

David Miller was in the sulky for most of Magician's 49 lifetime victories.

"He was probably the best horse I've ever driven," Miller said.

"He was flawless, awesome. Earl (Cruise) did a good job with him. He was at the top of his game for three or four years. Longevity might have been his best quality. He was the horse who got me known nationally. He was my stepping-stone.

"It's nice for him to be recognised and remembered," Miller continued. "He was a joy to watch. He had a suspensory problem later in his career. At the end, he was on a good roll. I know I drove him the last time he won."

Magician was a shining light for owner Bill Augenstein, who passed away on April 18, 2004, at the age of 51, from an apparent heart attack at his home on Long Island.

Augenstein was the owner and president of Royal Pet Supplies, which has distribution centers in Brentwood, New York, and Pompano Beach, Florida.

Mike Zabinsky, who worked with Augenstein for 25 years and shared his affection for horse racing, is overseeing the estate.

"Bill never wanted to embarrass the horse and would never race him if not in the open class," Zabinsky said.

"He was meant to retire to Leslie's farm; it was Bill's wish."

Augenstein's estate has transferred ownership of the gelding to Leslie McLaren of Blairwood Farm in Columbus, New Jersey. McLaren has cared for Magician in between racing seasons since 1999 and tended to him during his recovery from injury.

Founded in 1987, Blairwood is home to turnouts, retirees and broodmares. McLaren operates the business with the help of her brother, Everett and mother, Eva, who is now retired after 20 years working in the mutuels department at the Meadowlands.

"I'm totally thrilled that his racing career is over," McLaren said.

"From here on out, he'll have a home right here at Blairwood Farms. I love this horse, and I only want the best for him. I don't think racing anymore, or trying to get him back to racing, was in his best interests. He's healthy, doing good and happy. He loves it here."


Year, Starts, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Earnings, Record, Track

2003, 19, 7, 3, 2, $446,078, 8, 1.53.3, Mohawk

2002, 12, 4, 1, 5, $257,875, 7, 1.53.4, Meadowlands

2001, 19, 10, 3, 1, $979,375, 6, 1.52.2, Meadowlands

2000, 17, 11, 2, 2, $1,200,190, 5, 1.52.3, Woodbine

1999, 19, 5, 2, 2, $407,212, 4, 1.52.4, Meadowlands

1998, 18, 10, 3, 2, $274,978, 3, 1.56, Syracuse

1997, 7, 2, 0, 0, $13,395, 2, 2.02.4Q, Vernon Downs

Total, 111, 49, 14, 14, $3,579,103, 6, 1.52.2,

Courtesy Of The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

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