Bee A Magician shook off the cobwebs after a five-month layoff and stormed home in deep stretch to gun down arch-rival Shake It Cerry in her 2016 debut as a six-year-old on Friday (April 22) to win the featured $25,000 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadowlands.
Shake It Cerry, sent off as the 4-5 favourite, made the early lead and was permitted to cut tepid fractions of :28.1 and :57.2 as the field raced single-file past the half-mile marker.
Gural Hanover vacated the three-hole at the five-eighths and came after the leader as Bee A Magician got into the outer flow, gradually making up ground to get into striking position.
At the head of the stretch, after three-quarters went in 1:25.2, Gural Hanover, the 7-1 fourth choice, came alongside Shake It Cerry, who appeared vulnerable despite the easy fractions.
In mid-stretch, driver Brian Sears tipped Bee A Magician off cover and rolled to an easy three-quarter length score in 1:52. Gural Hanover outlasted Shake It Cerry for second.
The Kadabra mare returned $5.60 to win as the 9-5 second choice, winning for the 42nd time in 66 starts for trainer Richard 'Nifty' Norman and owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.
Look for Bee A Magician in the May 8 Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff at the Big M, along with JL Cruze, Gural Hanover and Shake It Cerry, who will also be in the Mother’s Day event, with the winner earning a berth in the May 29 Elitlopp in Sweden.
Katie Said went an ideal second-over trip and stormed home to take the $25,000 Open Handicap Pace for fillies and mares. The Jimmy Takter trainee got a perfect steer from Brett Miller to win by one and three-quarter lengths over Divine Caroline. Table Talk, the even-money favourite, was third.
The winner paid $9.60. Katie Said, a daughter of Well Said, is owned by Black Horse Racing and went the mile in 1:50.4.
The 12th race 20-cent Jackpot Super High Five once again was not hit, upping the carryover to $189,475.79 for the next program.
All-source wagering on the 12-race program was $2,415,266.
(With files from Meadowlands Racetrack)