Road to the Kentucky Derby Horse Profile: Good Magic
Chad Brown has trained a ton of turf superstars but that has typecast him as a “turf” trainer. In the past few years, his clients have been buying more horses with dirt pedigrees and Brown is showing that he can win on any surface.
Last year on Travers Stakes (G1) Day, Brown unveiled a $1 million yearling purchase by Curlin. Named GOOD MAGIC, the word was out on him and he went off as the 75-100 favorite. After a few scratches, Good Magic broke from post five in a field of five and chased Hazit around the track to be beaten a length in a race that was very slow early but fast late.
Not deterred by the chance to break his maiden first time out, Brown played his hand like he had a full house and brought Good Magic back in the Champagne Stakes (G1) going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park. Over a weird track that favored outside paths, Good Magic surged to the lead in the deep stretch with new rider Jose Ortiz only to be run down on the outside by Firenze Fire by a half-length.
Brown, poker face intact, then shipped to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), where he would get two turns and the greater possibility of a pace to run at. Dismissed at 11.5-10 odds by the bettors, Good Magic was a full house after all as he blew the race open by more than four lengths and stamped himself as the one to beat in the classics.
Brown planned out Good Magic’s three-year-old season, which did not begin until the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 3. He chased a loose-on-the-lead winner and checked in third as the odds-on favorite. Many were disappointed but it was hard to tell if Brown was upset.
The plan was to skip the Florida Derby (G1) and go to the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland five weeks later. There was a lot of risk in this since the Blue Grass has been attracting huge fields the past few years and, sure enough, Good Magic drew post 10 in a field of 14.
Naturally, he was wide on the first turn and then had to race between horses in the run up the backstretch. Ortiz, showing the ice in his veins that flows through Brown, kept him to task and let him cruise up to the leader around the far turn.
Considering he had a pretty rough trip up until then, exploding in the homestretch and winning by five lengths was out of the question. What Good Magic did was take the lead and maintain his advantage to the wire to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
Based on BRIS Speed ratings, he ran a 105 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile then 98 in both starts this year. The way Brown has managed him, a big improvement should be in the works and if he can get back to his two-year-old top of 105, he is right in it.
The only negative I have with Good Magic is he does not dictate his own circumstances but has to react to the others. The Kentucky Derby usually has a strong, contested pace and he has shown a high cruising speed. Who knows what Brown still has left up his sleeve?