Haskell 2018's Good Magic 'ready to go back in the ring again'

July 28, 2018 09:49am

The morning after the Preakness Stakes, Chad Brown turned his attention toward training Good Magic up to Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational. But it wasn’t a given the eventual race favorite would be up for a run at Monmouth Park.

Brown saw Good Magic lose weight, and there was obvious body soreness. Two matchups with Justify will do that to a colt, “especially horses like Good Magic that give it their all — lay everything on the line trying to win,” Brown said.

Just more than two months later, Good Magic was installed as a 6/5 morning line favorite in a Haskell field of seven.

“He needed some recovery time,” Brown said, “and then it’s up to me to observe him and see if he can keep going another round. I did, and the horse responded. He’s trained well and bounced back super considering what he’s been through.

“I think he’s ready to go back in the ring again.”

The son of Curlin, also the reigning 2-year-old champion, is a standout in a field that includes Preakness runner-up Bravazo and Core Beliefs, the last-out winner of the Grade 3 Ohio Derby.

Of course, Justify is missing having retired this week following a 6-for-6 open to his career. One of those wins, in the Kentucky Derby, came by 2 1/2 lengths over Good Magic. The next, in the Preakness, arrived with a sharp early challenge from the e Five Racing and Stonestreet Stables colt in the Pimlico fog.

The trip under jockey Jose Ortiz, who has the return mount in the Haskell, was a source of frustration for Brown.

“I don’t mind being forwardly placed,” the trainer said. “In the Preakness, the real problem was being drawn inside Justify. We just didn’t want to be there — inside that horse — at any point in the race. Unfortunately he ended up there.

“There probably wasn’t much to do from that post other than end up there, other than, in hindsight maybe staying out in the center of the track in the turn wanting Justify to clear my horse.”

Good Magic faded to finish fourth, though only by a length, after sitting just off opening fractions of 23.11, 47.19 and 111.42 in the slop.

That was, however, going 1 3/16 miles. It’s possible the cutback to nine furlongs will help in the Haskell. That’s the same distance over which Good Magic prevailed in Keeneland’s Blue Grass (G2) and just a sixteenth of a mile farther than his breakout score in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Following the Juvenile, a combination of a planned layoff and minor setback led to Good Magic taking four months away from the races. Upon his return, he was a flat third in Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth (G2).

This time, “I don’t think this layoff will bother him at all,” Brown said. “He needed the time just to recharge the batteries a bit. I love the way he’s going.”


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