July 25, 2024

Good Magic’s Travers challengers include Gronkowski, Wonder Gadot

Good Magic romps in the Haskell with fellow classic-placed Bravazo in second (Photo by Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Good Magic will be the horse to beat in Saturday’s 149th running of the $1.25 million Travers (G1) at Saratoga. A convincing winner of the Haskell Invitational (G1), the Chad Brown-trained colt has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite among 11 rivals in the 1 ¼-mile “Mid-Summer Derby.”

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His main challengers include Gronkowski, a fast-closing second when making his U.S. debut in the Belmont Stakes (G1); and Wonder Gadot, who enters on the upswing following commanding wins over Canadian-bred males in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales and will try to become the first filly Travers winner since 1915.

Campaigned by Stonestreet Stables and E Five Racing Thoroughbreds, Good Magic was named champion two-year-old male after breaking his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). The chestnut son of Curlin earned his next win in the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland and followed with a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). After a fourth in the Preakness (G1), Good Magic returned from a freshening with a superb three-length score in the July 29 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, netting a 103 BRIS Speed rating, and Jose Ortiz will retain the mount.

Gronkowski comes next on the morning line at 4-1. A winner in four straight starts prior to being transferred to Brown in America, the Kentucky-bred son of Lonhro was last in the early stages of the Belmont Stakes before launching a visually-impressive move on the far turn and into the stretch, passing all rivals but Triple Crown winner Justify to be a clear second. Joel Rosario replaces Jose Ortiz in the saddle.

Wonder Gadot placed in her first six starts this year, including a half-length second to divisional leader Monomoy Girl in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), but has really discovered her best stride in the last two starts. After rolling to a 4 ¾-length win in the Queen’s Plate on an all-weather track, she led wire to wire in a 5 ¾-length decision in the Prince of Wales on dirt. Trained by Mark Casse, the Medaglia d’Oro filly picks up the services of leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. and is listed as the 5-1 third choice.

Catholic Boy, winner of the Belmont Derby (G1) and Pennine Ridge (G3) on turf in his last two outings, will switch back to dirt for Jonathan Thomas. Javier Castellano retains the mount on the front-running son of More Than Ready and Catholic Boy is the early 8-1 co-fourth choice with Tenfold, who earned his first stakes win in the July 28 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides Tenfold for Steve Asmussen.

Preakness and Haskell runner-up Bravazo has been pegged at 12-1 along with Group 2 scorer Mendelssohn, who ships in from Ireland for Aidan O’Brien. Luis Saez guides Grade 2 winner Bravazo for D. Wayne Lukas. Regular rider Ryan Moore will be in to ride Mendelssohn.

Grade 2 winner and Jim Dandy third-placer Vino Rosso promises to be running late. Completing the field are expected longshots King Zachary, Meistermind and Trigger Warning.