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Friday, November 11, 2016

TVG Finals on center stage at Big M

by James Witherite, Meadowlands racing media

East Rutherford, N.J. – While Always B Miki’s curtain call in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Pace is rightfully bound to garner great attention on Saturday (November 12) evening’s 12-race card at The Meadowlands, the showdown between Hannelore Hanover and Bee a Magician in the $200,000 TVG Mares Trot just two races earlier has all the makings of a race for the ages.

In the Mares Trot, carded as race 4, quadruple millionaire Bee a Magician looks to avenge her defeat to Hannelore Hanover in the Breeders Crown. The 6-year-old daughter of Kadabra, who has earned more than any other trotter on North American soil in harness racing history, has drawn widest in the field of seven, with regular driver Brian Sears once again at the lines for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman. A 45-time winner in her career, Bee a Magician has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line second choice.

Her main adversary, Hannelore Hanover, is the 7-5 early favorite after wins in the Breeders Crown, Centaur Trotting Classic, Muscle Hill, and Fresh Yankee as part of a season in which she made over a million dollars. Yannick Gingras will drive the 4-year-old Swan for All mare for Ron Burke. Among the others to square off are Jimmy Takter trainee Shake It Cerry (David Miller, 5-1, post one) and 2015 Breeders Crown champion D’One (Tim Tetrick, 6-1, post six).

Always B Miki leads a field of seven in the Free-For-All Pace, carded as the night’s sixth event. The fastest pacer of all time—by virtue of his 1:46 mile at the Red Mile in October—has been installed the 1-5 morning line favorite in his career finale, and David Miller will once again drive the Takter trainee from post three. US Pacing Championship winner Shamballa (Scott Zeron, post seven) is the 6-1 second choice.

In the $200,000 Mares Pace, the eighth event of the evening, Lady Shadow has been installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite from post three in the field of nine. Gingras once again drives the 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play for trainer Ron Adams after they teamed up for a resounding 1:49.4 win in the Breeders Crown. In fact, the race shapes up as a reprise of the distaff Crown, with the top six finishers all returning.

Save for the Mares Trot, the most compelling matchup of the night may well come in the $400,000 Free-For-All Trot, carded as race 10. Three-year-old Breeders Crown champion Bar Hopping rises to challenge older foes, to include International Trot winner Resolve and Crawford Farms Trot winner Obrigado in the field of eight. Bar Hopping returns to the Big M after victory in the Erskine at Hoosier last week, and Tetrick retains the drive on the Takter trainee. The son of Muscle Hill starts from post three as the 4-1 morning-line second choice, while Resolve has been installed the 7-5 favorite for trainer-driver Åke Svanstedt from post 6.

From a wagering standpoint, a combined $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools are included on the menu, as well as a pair of 20¢ Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers. First post is slated for 7:15 p.m. Eastern.