DEL MAR, Calif. – Chad Brown, celebrated for his accomplishments with turf horses, broke through with his first victory in a Triple Crown race last spring when Cloud Computing delivered in the Preakness Stakes. Now, he can set his sights on the Kentucky Derby.
Good Magic, second in each of his first two starts, put Brown on a path that he hopes will lead to the run for the roses when he made his first victory a most timely one in the $2 million Grade 1 Sentient Jets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday at Del Mar.
Good Magic made an explosive move from fourth to gain the lead at the top of the stretch for jockey Jose Ortiz and poured it on from there to create a final margin of 4 ¼ lengths. That gave Brown his 10th Breeders’ Cup win, his eighth in the last four editions of the event, and his second this year following Rushing Fall’s win in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Solomini held second. Overwhelming favorite Bolt d’Oro, breaking from post 11, endured a difficult trip with jockey Corey Nakatani and did well to rally for third. He had been undefeated through his first three starts.
Nothing went as planned this time. He bobbled when the starting gate snapped open and was hung seven wide into the first turn. He could never quite recover from that adversity. Favorites have prevailed only three times in the last 20 editions of the Juvenile.
Good Magic, a striking chestnut son of Curlin owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, had demonstrated ability but not a finishing kick before his breakthrough afternoon. In fact, Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables admitted Brown needed to sell her on the wisdom of competing in the Juvenile.
“He did have to talk us into it a little bit because the horse, obviously, he came in second in his last start,” she said. “But he said, ‘I think he’s really going to improve. He’s going to like more distance so let’s bring him.’ So we did.”
Good Magic missed by a length to well-regarded Hazit in his Aug. 26 debut at Saratoga Race Course. He fell half a length short to Firenze Fire when he advanced to Grade 1 company in the Oct. 7 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
Good Magic paid $25.00, $9.40 and $5.60. He completed the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in 1:43.34.
Bob Edwards of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds joined Banke in crediting Brown.
“Chad’s been doing a wonderful job with him,” he said. “Every time we talk to him, he keeps getting better and better. And, as Barbara knows, that’s how it happens. He’s growing, getting better and better, showing more and more, stretching out and stretching out. Not that Chad’s ever confident, but he was really confident today. He felt that we had something special.”
Good Magic must overcome a significant body of history to achieve success on the first Saturday in May. Of 33 previous Juvenile victors, only Street Sense (2006) and Nyquist (2015) went on to victory in the Kentucky Derby.
For now, the connections can delight in knowing they have a colt that is most likely the early Kentucky Derby favorite. Banke, often deliberate in her remarks, could not help but cut loose when she thought of the exciting road ahead.
“Yahoo!” she exulted.