09/10/2015 2:18PM

Mohawk: Ladies face the boys in Maple Leaf elims

D'One has been very sharp since arriving from Sweden.

It’s been nine years since Peaceful Way became the last female trotter to win the Maple Leaf Trot, but two ladies will be front and center when eliminations for the prestigious event are contested Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack.

Bee A Magician, a 5-year-old mare who was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of two seven-horse eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot. D’One, a 5-year-old mare from Sweden who has defeated Bee A Magician in two North American starts, is the 3-1 second choice in the second elim.

Resolve, who won the Vincennes Invitational on Aug. 8 and two weeks later missed by a head against E L Titan in the Sebastian K Invitational, is the 5-2 favorite in the second division.

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“Probably two of the favorites in the race are girls,” said Herb Liverman, a Montreal native who is among the owners of Bee A Magician. “The other mare seems really terrific, especially on a big track because she’s so good for an eighth-of-a-mile sprint. But there are a lot of good horses in there, like JL Cruze and Flanagan Memory. It’s going to be interesting.”

JL Cruze, a 4-year-old gelding, has won 16 of 19 races this season including the Hambletonian Maturity, Graduate Series championship, and Sun Invitational. He is 5-2 on the morning line in the first elimination. Flanagan Memory, a 5-year-old horse who won the Cashman Memorial on Aug. 8, is 4-1 in the second elimination.

Two previous Maple Leaf winners – Market Share and Intimidate – are also in the second elimination. Market Share is 5-1 and Intimidate is 10-1.

The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the C$680,000 Maple Leaf Trot final on Sept. 19 at Mohawk. The connections of the elim winners get to select their post position for the final.

Saturday’s card at Mohawk also features two eliminations for the C$700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old male trotters plus divisions of the Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old pacers and the Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old pacers. Post time is 7:25 p.m. for the night’s first race.

Bee A Magician has finished no worse than second in any of her 11 races this year, winning eight times and earning $517,645. For her career, the daughter of Kadabra-Beehive has won 39 of 58 races and earned $3.25 million for owners Liverman, Mel Hartman, and David McDuffee. She heads to the Maple Leaf eliminations off a second-place finish to D’One in the Muscle Hill Trot on Aug. 21 at Vernon Downs.

A two-time Ontario Sire Stakes champion, Bee A Magician has won 16 of 18 career races at Mohawk, including this year’s Armbro Flight Stakes for female trotters.

“She’s had a little bit of time off, but it works out good with the eliminations,” said Bee A Magician’s trainer, Richard “Nifty” Norman. “I’m glad we’re having eliminations so she should be good for the following week. She’s in good shape. She’s nice and sound and healthy. I couldn’t be happier with the horse.

“All the best horses are there. I think the divisions probably got split up pretty evenly; there are a couple of real good ones in each division. The point for me is to get into the final and we’ll be better the following week and we’ll see how things go. Some of the other horses haven’t raced in a while either. It will be interesting to see how everybody is.”

The first Maple Leaf Trot was held in 1950. Over the last 37 years, female trotters have won the event four times: Ima Lula (1977), Grades Singing (1986), Franconia (1987), and Peaceful Way (2006).

If successful in their eliminations, Bee A Magician and D’One will get the chance to join that group.

“I didn’t really know D’One until she got here, but she’s definitely a contender,” Norman said. “She can really sprint; that’s her go by the look of it. They drive her that way, so that must be her strong suit.”

Following are the fields in post order for the Maple Leaf Trot eliminations with listed drivers, trainers, and morning line odds.

Elimination One: 1. Whiskey Tax, Sylvain Filion, Tom Durand, 12-1; 2. Magic Tonight, Marcus Johansson, Roger Walmann, 5-1; 3. JL Cruze, John Campbell, Eric Ell, 5-2; 4. E L Titan, Tim Tetrick, Riina Rekila, 3-1; 5. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 8-5; 6. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder, Verlin Yoder, 12-1; 7. Lindy’s Tru Grit, Scott Zeron, Julie Miller, 15-1.

Elimination Two: 1. Flanagan Memory, Randy Waples, Rene Dion, 4-1; 2. Obrigado, Mark MacDonald, Paul Kelley, 7-2; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 5-1; 4. Intimidate, Sylvain Filion, Luc Blais, 10-1; 5. Daylon Magician, Jack Moiseyev, Jack Moiseyev, 8-1; 6. Resolve, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 5-2; 7. D’One, Marcus Johansson, Roger Walmann, 3-1.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com