Innate talent offset Magic Star‘s relative lack of experience in Saturday’s $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream Park, as the 4-year-old landed the 1 1/16-mile turf prize for fillies and mares in her third career start.
Settled in sixth early by Irad Ortiz Jr. as longshot Piece by Peace set a pace of :23.40, :46.72, and 1:10.09, Magic Star made a five-wide bid entering the stretch and gradually came on to win by a half-length from Munchkin Money.
“She was right there for me the whole way. Turning for home I had two horses in front of me so I just had to kind of wait a few jumps to tip her out, and as soon as I tipped her out she just kicked on,” Ortiz said. “She doesn’t have too much speed, so the plan was to let her be where she’s comfortable and then go from there. She was ready today. She’s a nice filly, and she’s still learning.”
Owned by Don Alberto Stable and trained by Chad Brown, Magic Star paid $7.20 after completing the course in 1:39.67 on firm ground. Andina Del Sur was a half-length farther behind Munchkin Money in third, and was followed by 2-1 favorite Sweet Bye and Bye, Maroubra, Piece by Peace, and Malkia.
Winning her debut by 2 1/4 lengths on the Travers Day undercard at Saratoga last August, Magic Star was favored again to take a first-level allowance two months later at Belmont Park, but made little impact when sixth as an even-money favorite. This return to form boosted her career earnings to $140,970.
By Scat Daddy, Magic Star is out of Matron (G1) winner Meadow Breeze, a Meadowlake half-sister to Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Overanalyze. She brought $500,000 at Keeneland September.
Magic Star was bred in Kentucky by Betz, D. J. Stables, CoCo, Burns & Magers.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. continued his hot streak in Gulfstream stakes when the 7-year-old veteran Tusk upset the $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3) at odds of 8-1, two starts after being claimed for $32,000 by Joseph for owner Gelfenstein Farm.
Fourth while hugging the rail down the backside, Tusk moved into the two path after getting by a tiring rival approaching the turn for home and then quickly moved past brief leader Gidu, from whom he would go on to win smartly by two lengths in a time of 1:32.83. Tusk paid $19.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione rode two of Joseph’s three stakes winners at Gulfstream last Saturday, and was aboard Tusk in this mile test.
“He carried me the whole way around there,” said Gaffalione. “Coming into the stretch there was a spot that opened up…I had enough horse at that point, so when I chirped at him he exploded through there and he finished the job.”
Gidu finished second, one length ahead of Maraud, who was followed by 17-10 favorite A Thread of Blue, Exulting, Empire of War, Sand Dancer, Big Agenda, and Gemonteer.
A gelded son of Tapit, Tusk placed in the 2016 El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate before descending into the claiming ranks. Most recently claimed from a victory at Belmont Park on Oct. 20, Tusk entered the Tropical Turf off a solid third in the Claiming Crown Emerald at Gulfstream on Dec. 7. His record now stands at 37-8-7-6, $441,347.
Bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, Tusk is out of the French stakes winner It’s Midnight, by Shamardal.