Tuesday, February 11, 2014
“Magician” Rules O’Brien Night; Almost Raced in Hambo
By Joe Scarpa
One down, one to go for Bee A Magician.
The brilliant trotting mare won an O'Brien Award last night as Canada's 2013 Horse of the Year. Fifteen days later, she is expected to be named U.S. Horse of the Year at the Dan Patch Awards ceremonies at Dover Downs. Bee A Magician also took home an O'Brien Award as the top 3-year-old trotting filly at last night's ceremonies in Prince Edward Island.
Accepting the Horse of the Year Award co-owner Herb Liverman revealed that Bee A Magician came closer to racing in the Hambletonian than most thought. He said that she had a problem with a sore foot around the time of the race and that was the primary reason her connections decided to go instead in the Hambletonian Oaks.
"There was a lot of discussion about going in the race and one of the questions was ‘is she 100%?' and I said that if I had to answer that right away the answer was no," said trainer Nifty Norman. "Her feet were stringing her. So Herb said, ‘that's good enough for me. Unless you're 100 % confident then we won't go.’ We just decided to not even enter the Hambletonian."
Most believe that Bee A Magician is so good that she would have beaten males in the Hambletonian, but Norman wasn't ready to go that far.
"Personally, I was never in favor of going in the Hambletonian because I was worried it would hurt her for the rest of the year," he said. "With the way things turned out I'm glad we didn't go. Royalty For Life was at the top of his game that day and I doubt if we would have beaten him anyway."
Norman said that his star mare has had a good winter so far and looks "unbelievable." He is eyeing the May 19 Miss Versatility in Canada for her 4-year-old debut and will likely follow that up with an appearance in the Armbro Flight, also at Mohawk.