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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Meet Your Horse of the Year

Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) shown here winning the
Hambletonian Oaks in August was the winner of the Moni
Maker at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment last
night (Mark Hall Photo - Courtesy of the USTA)
Bee A Magician completed a 17 for 17 season by winning the final stakes event for 3 year old trotting fillies of the season in the Moni Maker at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment with her one length victory in 1:53.3 will be named the 2013 Horse of the Year thanks to the sixth place finish of Captaintreacherous in the TVG FFA Series Final.

The race for Horse of the Year Honors has been neck to neck in recent weeks with Bee A Magician in front in the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown poll but it became clear that for Captaintreacherous to take the top honor it would have required either a victory by the 3yo Pacer of the Year in the TVG Final or a defeat by Bee A Magician and a top three finish in the TVG Final by the Captain.  With neither occuring, it is obvious that Bee A Magician will be the top horse of the 2013 season.

To say Bee A Magician was overpowering in the Moni Maker would be an understatement, getting the lead before the half and cruising the balance of the way with Sears never touching her in the stretch thanks to a :29.2 third quarter breather.

Of course, Horse of the Year honors were pretty much decided once the results went official one race earlier when Captaintreacherous finished sixth in the TVG FFA Final in a race won by Foiled Again who has obviously overcome his dislike of the Meadowlands oval by winning the final in 1:49.2 by a neck to become harness racing's richest horse earning over $6 million in his career which will continue next year at the age of 10.  I know some people will say there is no comparison because of the money earned but this 9 year old gelded son of Dragon Again clearly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Rambling Willie as both were war horses who have continued to take on the best the sport has to offer in their later years of racing (of course, it is hard to compare horses which raced 30 years apart).

While I must confess I thought the lighter racing schedule may have helped Captaintreacherous, the 3yo son of Somebeachsomewhere was like a typical three year old going against the older contingent.  While he came home in a respectable :27.2 final quarter and finished only two lengths behind Foiled Again, it was clear early in the race that victory was not to be.  Yes, he was parked through two stations in the race but he was following live horses so the impact was not that great.  The problem was the Captain clearly didn't like racing from behind as he typically races on the front end but an attempt to race on the front end against this field would have resulted in him being ground up and spit out (though of course, it is conjecture).

Considering it was his first start against older horses, the Captain didn't race badly; he just needs to learn how to race off the pace and possibly look for a trip.  Speed may win it as a two and three year old, but the ability to have a multidimensional attack is what is important as you move into the FFA ranks.  I look forward to seeing the Captain as a four year old to see if he is able to learn and execute that style of racing.

Some people are starting to suggest Captaintreacherous may lose out the Pacer of the Year award to Foiled Again.  If you look at the pure percentage of races won, the Captain still gets the Pacer of the Year award but when you are dealing with an aged horse in the running, there is a certain intangible which comes into play.  One thing for sure, it becomes a lot more closer contest.  As for me, If I had a vote, I'm not sure who I would vote for.  It would require a careful review of both of their seasons.

With all the interest in Bee A Magician and Captaintreacherous, we would be remiss if we didn't mention Market Share winning the TVG FFA Final for trotters by 3/4 a length in 1:51.  The race was a wire to wire victory with a late scare in the final strides by Uncle Peter and Guccio.   Market Share will be returning for his 5 year old season with eyes on the Elitlopp, possibly taking on a longer European Campaign.

The total handle for the 13 race card was $3.49 million dollars.  It will be curious to find out how much was bet on track and what the attendance was last night.  Considering it was harness racing on Thanksgiving Day weeekend, the handle is certainly impressive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Foiled Again is so marvelous to watch. When it looks like he'll be caught in the stretch, he can fight off the challengers.

Yet, he also lost quite a few races this year. Golden Receiver has about the same win percentage and I don't hear anyone suggesting he's due Pacer of the Year.

Foiled Again is the Pacer of the 2000s, but the awards are for performance this year.

Captaintreacherous has earned Pacer of the Year.