07/16/2015 9:23AM

Meadowlands: Bee A Magician takes on Market Share in open trot

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Before attention turns to Saturday’s Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace card, racing fans would be wise to focus on Friday night’s all-star showdown between 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and 2012 Hambletonian champion Market Share. The pair faces off in the $26,000 Open Trot that shares the spotlight with four $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Finals on Friday’s 13-race card.

Bee A Magician has been better than ever this year. The 5-year-old mare is six for seven in 2015 including a dominant win over the boys in the Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands in May. She has not raced since a four-length win in the Armbro Flight at Mohawk on June 20, but tuned up for her return with 1:52 4/5 win in a qualifier over Market Share and Mr Picolit last Saturday.

“I am actually a little surprised at how well she has raced this season so far, especially against the males,” said the mare’s trainer Nifty Norman. “She likes to stay close to home and enjoys getting turned out, especially in this hot weather. We have backed off her work load and don’t train her as hard as we used to. She’s put on some weight and is ready to get back to work.”

As dominant as Bee A Magician has been, Market Share is just getting tuned up for a run at the second half of the season. The career earner of $3.68 million has made just three starts this year and none since the May 24 Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

“He was a little sick in the Maxie Lee and his blood just wasn’t where we wanted,” explained Linda Toscano, who became the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian with Market Share in 2012. “The back end of the season is really where the biggest races are for the older trotters so I decided to just back off on him, get him healthy, and point for the later part of the year.”

Toscano said Market Share’s schedule includes all of the major events for the aged trotters, starting with the John Cashman Memorial on Hambletonian Day and the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs on August 21.

Despite the recent injury to Sebastian K, Toscano is expecting Market Share to have his hands full facing a deep and competitive division of aged trotters.

“JL Cruze has been amazing and I truly believe that if Bee A Magician had gone to Europe, she would’ve won the Elitlopp this year,” said Toscano. “It seems like racing older horses is catching on, which is good for the sport and good for our industry, but that means the fields are getting tougher for us.”

Friday’s field also includes another millionaire mare, Classic Martine, and European import Mr Picolit, who makes his second Meadowlands start for Ake Svanstedt.

There is a carryover of $197,368 in the final race Jackpot Super High Five. Handicappers also have another opportunity to tackle the newest bet at the Meadowlands. Race five offers a 20-cent Super High 5 wager with an industry low eight-percent takeout.

Post time is 7:15 p.m.

(edited release-Meadowlands)