O'Brien's Turf Festival Runners Hit the Track

Magician wins the Breeders' Cup Turf!
Photo: Don August
Representatives from Ballydoyle were very pleased with the condition of the Irish-based powerhouse stable’s three expected Saturday afternoon runners after clearing quarantine on Friday morning.  Led by Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf winner and Grade I Arlington Million favorite Magician, the other two expected to be well supported at the windows are Adelaide in the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat and Eye of The Storm in the Listed $400,000 American St. Leger.  All three charges hit the track at 7:30 a.m. without issue.

“Perfect.  Everything has gone well for Magician – as well as the rest of the horses,” reported Pat Keating, trainer Aiden O’Brien’s traveling head lad.  “He shipped in well and has done what we’ve asked him to do.  We’re very happy with him this morning.  All we need is a bit of luck tomorrow with all of them.  He seems to be the same as last year when he shipped (to America).”

Magician enters the Million off a subpar effort in the Group I King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot over 1½ miles.  Shortening up to the 1¼ miles of the Million, the son of Galileo returns to the distance at which he finished excellent seconds in two Group I races this year – the Tattersalls Gold  Cup at The Curragh on May 25 and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting on June 18.  Owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, he made a positive impression in his first survey of the course.

Walking directly astern Magician as he made his way to the Arlington International Racecourse main track Friday morning was lightly raced Adelaide. Strikingly similar in appearance to his older stablemate, Adelaide has never worse than second in five career starts and exits a neck loss in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational on July 5.  That effort came on a mere 15 days of rest after a runner-up finish in the Group II King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot over a grueling 1½ miles.  Under the allowance conditions, Adelaide carries 119 pounds – including jockey Ryan Moore – four pounds under the less heralded trio of stakes winners Global View, General Jack and Divine Oath.

“Adelaide is acting the same as last time in New York,” Keating remarked.  “He and (Magician) look like twins.  Both are very quiet horses; very straight-forward.”  Owned by Smith, et al, Adelaide is the 8-5 morning line favorite and is expected to keep that title.

Third of the traveling triad was the monocular Eye of The Storm.  A chestnut son of Galileo also to be ridden by Moore, Eye of The Storm was born without his left eye – but such has not stopped him from winning four of his 11 starts.  A winner last out in the Group III Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown, the 4-year-old colt with a 6-1 morning line will be tough to beat at the 1 11/16-miles distance of the American St. Leger.

“He always looks around and takes everything in,” Keating said.  “I think he has a good chance.  I think all three have big chances.”


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