Don Alberto Stable’s Magic Star made up for a lack of experience with an abundance of talent Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the 4-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy made a victorious stakes debut in the $150,000 Marshua’s River (G3).
The Marshua’s River, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for older fillies and mares, co-headlined Saturday’s program with the $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3), a mile turf stakes for 4-year-olds and up.
Making just her third career start, Magic Star ($7.20) circled the field on the turn into the homestretch and continued on through the stretch to prevail by a half-length under Irad Ortiz Jr.
The Chad Brown trainee won at first asking last August at Saratoga, where she overcame a rough start and rallied from 10th to win going away by 2 ¼ lengths. The chestnut filly, who brought a winning bid of $500,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale, was unable to close into a moderate pace in her October return to action at Belmont, finishing sixth in an optional claiming allowance.
Saturday, Magic Star benefited from a strong early pace set by Piece by Peace, who registered fractions of 23.40 and 46.72 seconds for the first half mile while closely stalked by 2-1 favorite Sweet Bye and Bye with multiple-stakes winner Andina Del Sur not far behind. Sweet Bye and Bye and Andina Del Sur moved in tandem to show the way into the stretch as Magic Star loomed boldly on the far outside. The Brown trainee raced somewhat greenly in the stretch but went on to earn graded-stakes credentials. Munchkin Monday, who trailed the field early, made a strong inside run to finish second a half-length ahead of Andina Del Sur.
Magic Star ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf in 1:39.67.
“She was right there for me the whole way. Turning for home I had two horses in front of me so I just had to kind of wait a few jumps to tip her out, and as soon as I tipped her out she just kicked on,” Ortiz said. “She doesn’t have too much speed, so the plan was to let her be where she’s comfortable and then go from there. She was ready today. She’s a nice filly, and she’s still learning.”