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Lightly raced Good Magic on Derby trail

By Staff | Feb 23, 2018

Good Magic was a non-winner when he was entered in last November’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile at Del Mar in California.

No maiden had ever won the Juvenile. Though he had been second in a Maiden Special Weight race at Saratoga, and then second again in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, Good Magic went to Breeder’s Cup Juvenile anyway.

Not overlooked by the betting public, Good Magic went off at 11-1 odds, mainly because of the presence of unbeaten Bolt d’Oro.

With jockey Jose Ortiz placing him almost perfectly behind two others, Good Magic wasn’t in any trouble as the leaders moved toward the last 80 yards before the stretch. Near the end of the final bend, he rolled past the leader and assumed a two-length lead.

Coming through the Del Mar stretch, he moved steadily ahead of all the competition, including Bolt d’Oro, whose trip was marred by wide paths on both turns. Bolt d’Oro did finally finish in third.

Even with only three races in 2017, Good Magic was selected as the Eclipse Award champion two-year-old.

He’ll begin a calculated plan in early March that’s expected to land him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. On March 3, Good Magic will make his 2018 debut in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Still growing and adding weight and muscle, the smooth-striding son of Curlin now trains at Palm Meadows in south Florida. Curlin was two-time Horse of the Year and won in the Triple Crown series.

Weightier and larger in size than his chestnut son, Curlin’s robust image leaves justified room for the idea that Good Magic will only get bigger as he ages through this spring and summer.

A long white blaze graces Good Magic’s forehead and enhances his subdued chestnut coat.

Now owned in part by Barbara Banke and Stonestreet Stables, Good Magic was auctioned at the September 2016 Keeneland Yearling Sales, going for a $1 million gavel price.

Some of his relatives include great-grandfathers Mr. Prospector and Danzig, and grandfathers Smart Strike and Hard Spun.

Besides Good Magic, there’s a real chance Curlin will be the sire of others entered in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

It’s still a long trail to Louisville fraught with potential injury or sickness, but for Good Magic, the path leads to Hallandale’s Gulfstream Park and the Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 3.

It will be only the fourth race of his career, and he won’t have raced since early last November, but he’s the winter book favorite for the Kentucky Derby – and he improved markedly from race to race last year.