Zipse: Magic Wand brings unique resume to Pegasus World Cup

January 14, 2020 11:15am

Last year's inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf, then America's richest turf race, lived up to its billing. Not only did winner Bricks and Mortar go on to one of the best turf seasons seen in the United States in the 21st century, but we shouldn't forget about the second-place finisher that afternoon.

A week from Saturday,
Magic Wand will once again tackle the boys, and this time when she enters the starting gate at Gulfstream Park, she may well be the horse to beat in the second edition of the Pegasus Turf. Beginning as the runner-up in last year's running, the 5-year-old daughter of Galileo had an extraordinary 2019 campaign in her own right.

It was nothing like what Bricks and Mortar did last year, going perfect in six starts, including a win in the Breeders' Cup Turf which likely wrapped up the title as Horse of the Year. Magic Wand was far from a win machine, but what she accomplished was remarkable in its own right.

After beginning in the Pegasus, the Irish-based mare traveled to the Middle East in March for trainer Aidan O'Brien to finish fifth in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1). It was an ambitious beginning of the season for the then 4-year-old filly, but only the beginning to what has to go down as one of the most well-traveled seasons by a thoroughbred racehorse ever.

Owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, Magic Wand followed her sojourn to Dubai with a journey back to America, where finished third in the Man o' War (G1) at Belmont Park. From there she stayed closer to home for her next few starts.

Three straight races in Europe began for her on opening day at Royal Ascot,
where she was runner-up in the Wolferton Stakes. Ten days later she was back on her home turf to run second in the G1 Pretty Polly (G1) at the Curragh.

Another trip to England resulted in an uncharacteristically poor run in the King George V1 & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) won by the great Enable to finish off her European swing.

After shipping across the pond to both Florida and New York earlier in the year, Magic Wand made her third trip back to the United States in 2019 for the Arlington Million (G1). Once again, she could not hold off the irresistible late kick of Bricks and Mortar, but as usual Magic Wand turned in an excellent performance.

It was back to Europe after that for a run in the prestigious Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown. There, she finished a good second to the classy Magical. As busy and well traveled as she had already been to that point, the season was still far from over for Magic Wand. 

Australia was her next continent to tackle, and she took on large fields in some of the biggest races down under. Within a 14-day stretch, Magic Wand finished fourth in the Cox Plate (
G1), faded to 10th in the two-mile Melbourne Cup (G1) and finally registered her first win of the season in the MacKinnon Stakes (G1) at Flemington.

Yet the Australian odyssey was still not the end of the season, or the travel, for Magic Wand. Making her final start of the year, she ran a bang up race when beaten just a head in the Hong Kong Cup (G1) at Sha Tin on December 8.

That makes a total of four continents, six countries and 10 racetracks for Magic Wand last season.

She's not the first high quality horse to have globe-trotted from one big race to another before, but you would be hard pressed to find one who has competed in so many big races as she has. And really, she did compete for a win in most of them.

Despite just one victory, Magic Wand was able to earn just a shade under $3.5 million in 2019. Her lone victory was in a Group 1 race, and she finished second in five such other events around the world.

The globe is a much smaller place than only a few years ago -- a fact being proven by Magic Wand one big race after another, and perhaps again in the Pegasus Turf.


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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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