PLAINS TWP. – Let the debate begin.
Who is the best 3-year-old horse is harness racing? Don’t expect the connections for Bee A Magician or Captaintreacherous to weigh in, either.
Both put on impressive performances Saturday night in their respective Breeders Crown races, adding to already-stacked resumes.
Bee A Magician, undefeated in 2013, took the lead around the first turn and never relinquished it, romping to the title in the 3-Year-Old Filly Trot at Pocono Downs.
It was a little closer for 2012 Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. The horse had to withstand another epic battle with Sunshine Beach as the two went neck and neck to the wire where the Captain held on for a half-length win in the 3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings Pace final.
As for which of the two deserves the honor of Horse of the Year, no one was willing to touch the topic with a 10-foot pole.
“I don’t know, I don’t vote,” said Bee A Magician trainer R. Nifty Morgan.
Captain trainer Tony Alagna took a similar road.
“Every time this horse races, I think it’s his finest moment and he goes out and gives me another moment,” he said. “As for the Horse of the Year, I’m going to let the horse speak for himself. It’s tough as a voter to decide which is the better horse. I know we will lose votes because we didn’t go to the Jug, but I won’t apologize for that. I think the run he went on after that speaks for itself. I couldn’t be happier with this horse.”
For one night, though, there was no debate which one took top honors. Each was equally impressive.
While Bee A Magician rolled, it was closer for Captaintreacherous – thanks to a similar foe in Sunshine Beach.
Actually, it was almost a mirror image to the Battle of the Brandywine race where Sunshine Beach handed the Captain his lone loss of 2013.
Sunfire Blue Chip, a 12-1 longshot, jumped to the lead out of the gate – only to see Tim Tetrick guide Captaintreacherous to the lead around the first turn. The battle began to develop on the backstretch where Sunshine Beach made the first-over move and continued to close heading into the final turn.
There, it was a back-and-forth battle before the Captain came away with the slimmest, half-length victory in 1 minute, 49.2 seconds.
“I’d like to win by five, but he just doesn’t do that, and thank God, I put a lot of confidence in him,” Tetrick said. “They like to get to him, and it’s really hard to get by him, that’s for sure. Sunshine Beach is a great horse, you know, it’s too bad he found Captaintreacherous’ year. You know there’s a reason that Beach is a great horse too, but you know today, we got the best of him.”
His resume is impressive. A winner in 12 of his 13 starts in 2013 and earning nearly $2 million this year alone, the Captain has won 20 of his 23 career races.
The future, right now, is unknown.
“We’ll just see how he ends up the year,” Tetrick said. “But it’s a big step for 3-year-olds to try and go against the 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds, but if there is a horse that can do it, it’s him.”
The possible question for Bee A Magician is a step up to race against the boys.
“I might have to because there’s not that many races for 4-year-old mares,” Morgan said. “We’re going to bring her back for sure. We’ll race the usually races, whatever is available for a 4-year-old.”
It was a similar trip to Captaintreacherous where Bee A Magician, going off at 1-9, took the lead on the front end. But there was no one to really push the filly. Frau Blucher, which finished second, tried to make a move on the back and a first-over try by Bouncing Bax never really materialized into a serious threat.
“When it was 55.2, it was a little more than I would like to be going,” driver Brian Sears said. “I didn’t want to push her a little bit, but she does go over the ground so easy that you don’t know how fast she is going.”
Bee A Magician is a perfect 15-for-15 in 2013, earning close to $1.5 million this season. For her career, she has won 25 of 28 races.
“I couldn’t expect going 15-for-15,” Morgan said. “She’s just a fantastic horse.”