Following a pair of runner-up finishes in his first two starts, Good Magic stepped forward with a magnificent performance in $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar. The Chad Brown-trained Curlin colt stalked the pace to the completion of the far turn and rolled home much the best to record his first win by a 4 1/4-length decision.
The chestnut two-year-old completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.34. He’s campaigned by E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables.
Bolt d’Oro became the latest heavy favorite to falter on a longshot-themed Breeders’ Cup Saturday program. The overwhelming 3-5 choice among 12 runners, the previously unbeaten colt dropped too far off the pace before offering a belated run for third, a length behind the forwardly-placed Solomini in second.
Good Magic left the starting gate as the 11-1 sixth choice. He was exiting a half-length second in the October 7 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park.
Multiple Group 1 winner U S Navy Flag sped forward from his rail post to set the pace in his first dirt start, establishing splits in :22.83 and :46.75 before throwing in the towel on the far turn. The Tabulator was applying pressure from the start and Good Magic settled a couple of paths off the rail during the early stages, a few lengths behind the early leaders in perfect position.
Solomini advanced to take the lead on the far turn but Good Magic was also in full flight, with Ortiz angling his mount outward rounding the bend. Good Magic surged forward to take the lead entering the stretch and quickly drew clear; the only question was how far he was going to win by in midstretch.
“I thought he was a winner every step of the way,” Brown said. “I didn’t know who was coming behind him, but I loved the way he was traveling. We took a shot because he was a maiden, but he’s developing rapidly. I am so proud of this horse and my staff.”
“It went the way Chad drew it up for me,” Ortiz added. “He said, ‘Break good and leave. When you making your move, be ready to be outside.” Because he didn’t like the way the track was playing inside. I waited and went to the outside. I had the opportunity to go inside but I stuck with the plan to go outside.”
Solomini, who checked in a non-threatening second to Bolt d’Oro in the September 30 FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita, saved the place by a length over Bolt d’Oro. It was another 8 1/4 lengths back to the 63-1 Givemeamint in fourth. The Tabulator, Hollywood Star, Firenze Fire, Hazit, Free Drop Billy, U S Navy Flag, Golden Dragon and Bahamian came next under the wire.
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Good Magic commanded a $1 million sales tag at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale. He hails from the multiple stakes-winning Hard Spun mare Glinda the Good, a half-sister to five stakes winner, and Good Magic’s third maternal dam produced multiple Grade 1 winner Magical Maiden.
“It sure is a thrill to have a really good 2-year-old in the barn,” Brown said. “They’re so hard to find. This guy here is developing rapidly. He’s not a real big horse, but he’s growing. It was his first time around two turns and he aced the test.”
Good Magic established himself as a formidable Kentucky Derby prospect entering the winter.
BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE QUOTES
Winning trainer Chad Brown (Good Magic)
“I thought he was a winner every step of the way. I didn’t know who was coming behind him, but I loved the way he was traveling. We took a shot because he was a maiden, but he’s developing rapidly. I am so proud of this horse and proud of my staff. I feel so grateful that the two great owners who are partners in this horse gave me a chance with him. This is a shining example of the program Stonestreet has. He’s a homebred, then he was broke and trained on their farm in Ocala, and right on through to a Breeders’ Cup race. That’s doing it from start to finish. To allow me to be a part of their team now and train a horse like this is quite an honor. It sure is a thrill to have a really good 2-year-old in the barn. They’re so hard to find. This guy here is developing rapidly. He’s not a real big horse, but he’s growing. It was his first time around two turns, and he aced the test.”
Winning jockey Jose Ortiz (Good Magic)
“It went the way (trainer) Chad (Brown) drew it up for me. He said, ‘Break good and leave. When you make your move, be ready to be on the outside.’ Because he didn’t like the way the track was playing inside. I waited and went to the outside. I had the opportunity to go inside but I stuck with the plan to go outside.”
Second-place trainer Bob Baffert (Solomini)
“He ran good. He was on the pace and they went pretty fast. He hooked up there. He’s just learning how to run, so I was happy with his race. He’s a really nice 2-year-old.”
Second-place jockey Flavien Prat (Solomini)
“He ran a good race. He’s improving all the time He’s kind of one-paced and doesn’t have that turn of foot when the horse came to him. I rode him all the way and he ran a good race. He’s going to improve race after race.”
Third-place trainer Mick Ruis (Bolt d’Oro, beaten favorite)
“I guess he just wasn’t ready to run today. He never had a good position because he was so far outside. But, we don’t make any excuses. We just got beat by a better horse today.”
Third-place jockey Corey Nakatani (Bolt d’Oro, beaten favorite)
“We were a little bit wide but it’s horse racing and it is part of what is going to happen. I was trying to get tucked in but with all the traffic, he seemed to be spinning his wheels a little bit. The track also seemed a little cuppy. He ran good. He’s a 2-year-old and they are expected to run well every time.”
Trainer Aidan O’Brien (U S Navy Flag, 10th)
“He will be a fast horse next year. He is a sprinter and he didn’t get the trip today.”