OCEANPORT, N. J. — When a really good and consistent horse has to run two really hard races against the very best competition in a two-week period, it is quite possible, even likely, that horse may never be the same physically. That was trainer Chad Brown's concern the evening of the Preakness.
His champion Good Magic had run a brilliant second in the Kentucky Derby behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Then, Good Magic came back in 14 days, challenged Justify all the way around the track in the Preakness and was still trying hard at the finish before finishing fourth. Both races were on sloppy, tiring tracks.
After Good Magic, running for the first time in 10 weeks, overwhelmed the field in Sunday's $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park, Brown had his answer. With Justify now retired, Good Magic is poised for a great second half of the 3-year-old season. The trainer admittedly wasn't sure after the Preakness.
"You hold your breath when you check a horse when he gets back to the barn after that tough of a race,'' Brown said. "Just two weeks between starts. Two sealed racetracks.
"To put it into perspective, the two racetracks these horses ran on, the horses that ran in both legs, I wouldn't gallop [a horse] on those racetracks, let alone breeze [a timed workout] on them. And we run on them because when you're there that day, what are you going to do, scratch?
"These horses, it's not easy to come out of these races in good condition, and that goes to show the constitution of this horse and the durability. This horse is made of steel, I believe … I'm surprised that this horse ran on those two types of racetracks that hard and is still today doing this.''
Good Magic cost $1 million at a 2016 yearling sale. The colt, who was the 2017 2-year-old champion, is now just shy of $3 million in earnings. He will be the likely favorite in the Aug. 25 Travers at his home base of Saratoga, Brown also left the door open for a Good Magic appearance in the Sept. 22 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
Good Magic, off at 1-2, was always in great position, sitting second behind 45-1 pacesetter Roaming Union. It was just a question of when jockey Jose Ortiz wanted to bust the race open. He chose the three-eighths pole. Bravazo, the 5-1 second choice, was just off Good Magic's flank. And then, in the matter of 10 strides, he wasn't. Good Magic opened up daylight instantly and the race was over on the far turn, the winner cruising home by 3 lengths over Bravazo, who was 6 lengths in front of third-place Lone Sailor. Good Magic ran the mile and an eighth in 1:50.01.
Good Magic is co-owned by Barbara Banke and Bob Edwards. Along with her late husband Jess, Banke owned two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Good Magic is a son of Curlin.
Edwards grew up in Paterson, N.J., and used to come to Monmouth as a kid with his grandfather. He has been in racing only a few years. He is 3-for-3 in the Breeders' Cup and 1-for-1 in the Haskell.