Good Magic, Solomini and Bolt d’Oro were the first three under the finish line in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar, with nearly a 10-length gap back to the rest of the field, and the trio will enter next year as top-ranked contenders for the Kentucky Derby.
The 1 1/16-mile Juvenile served as a qualifier, with the top four earning points on a 20-8-4-2 scale toward a berth in a 20-horse starting gate, in the 2018 “American Road to the Kentucky Derby” series.
Good Magic opened his racing career with a pair of close seconds, including the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park, and broke his maiden stretching out to two turns in the Juvenile. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Jose Ortiz, the chestnut colt settled into a favorable stalking position up close before offering his move nearing the completion of the far turn, accelerating boldly to a clear lead and rolling home to a 4 ¼-length decision.
The first Breeders’ Cup race winner for two-time Horse of the Year and top sire Curlin, who was represented by 2016 Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, Good Magic received an excellent 105 BRIS Speed rating. He’s bred to relish longer distances and possesses good tactical speed.
Owned by E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, Good Magic established himself as an exciting Kentucky Derby prospect.
Solomini will also try to give Curlin his first Kentucky Derby winner. A debut maiden winner at Del Mar in early September, the chestnut colt didn’t receive the best trip checking in a non-threatening second to Bolt d’Oro in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) the second-time out. He took a nice step forward in the Juvenile for Zayat Stables, chasing the pace from the start and launching an early bid to the lead rounding the far turn.
Trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, Solomini dug in gamely when Good Magic slingshot to the lead and wound up a length better than Bolt d’Oro in third, earning his first triple-digit BRIS Speed (100) for the runner-up finish. He’s regally bred for Triple Crown races being out of an unraced Storm Cat mare who counts champion Midshipman and Frosted’s dam as half-siblings.
After breaking slowly and traveling extremely wide on both turns from post 11, Bolt d’Oro delivered an admirable run for third as the 3-5 Juvenile favorite. It marked the first setback for the early Kentucky Derby favorite but the Medaglia d’Oro colt remains a leading candidate for champion 2-year-old male honors based upon impressive Grade 1 wins in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner at Santa Anita, netting a 105 BRIS Speed number in the latter.
A powerfully built colt for co-owner and trainer Mick Ruis, Bolt d’Oro appears well-suited for extended distances next spring and could still be the lowest-priced individual entrant in the first pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on November 23-26. Slow starts are the main concern presently because Bolt d’Oro also didn’t break well in the Del Mar Futurity, but Ruis will have a couple of races next spring to prepare his pupil for Churchill Downs.
This year’s Breeders' Cup Juvenile has a chance to make a serious impact upon the Kentucky Derby.