Good Magic beat Mother Nature on Friday and solidified his status as the horse to beat in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers next Saturday with a strong workout over Saratoga’s fast main track.
With unsettled weather in the forecast for Friday into Saturday, trainer Chad Brown moved a planned Saturday workout for Good Magic up a day. And before some showers fell late Friday morning, Good Magic got in a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.76 under exercise rider Walter Melasquez.
Good Magic picked up some company in the form of an Eric Guillot-trained horse who broke off at the half-mile pole, but Good Magic was not inhibited as he got his opening three furlongs in 36.17 seconds. Melasquez wasn’t asking for anything from Good Magic as he cruised through the lane in 24.59. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.02 and seven-eighths in 1:28.32.
Brown said the unexpected company “didn’t interfere in our work in any way.”
Good Magic, last year’s champion 2-year-old male, is coming off a three-length victory in the Grade 1 Haskell, which followed a runner-up finish to Justify in the Kentucky Derby and a fourth to him in the Preakness.
“I’m really happy that he’s emerged from the Haskell as well as he did,” Brown said. “As long as a campaign as he’s had, to step up and breeze very well again this morning, he’s just a really solid horse, very dependable.”
Good Magic was one of three Travers horses to breeze Friday morning.
Wonder Gadot, who will become the first filly in 39 years to run in the Travers, went a half-mile in 47.55 seconds at around 5:45 a.m. With exercise rider Chris Garraway up, Wonder Gadot went in quarter-mile splits of 23.76 seconds and 23.79 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.75.
Trainer Mark Casse said the work was a little quicker than he was expecting. It was still somewhat dark when she worked, and Casse said the glare from the infield board made it difficult for him to read his stopwatch as he watched the work.
Casse, who communicates with his riders via two-way radio, said that when he saw the first fraction, he told Garraway, “Whoa, whoa.”
“She would have went a little slower if we weren’t blinded by the light,” Casse said.
Casse said he still hasn’t finalized a rider for Wonder Gadot. John Velazquez has ridden her to victories in the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, but he seems committed to Vino Rosso in the Travers. Casse said that Mike Smith, Tyler Gaffalione, and Florent Geroux are the leading candidates to ride Wonder Gadot, though he likely won’t announce a decision until Monday.
Velazquez on Friday morning was aboard Vino Rosso, who worked a half-mile in 48.57 seconds in company with Tapwrit, the 2017 Belmont Stakes winner.
Vino Rosso got his last quarter in 24.00 seconds alongside Tapwrit but then proceeded to gallop out five furlongs in 1:01.11 and six furlongs in 1:13.94. Pletcher took Vino Rosso out seven furlongs in 1:28.40. Toward the end of the work, the sirens went off, indicating a loose horse on the track.
“We wanted to make sure he galloped out well, and I thought he actually galloped out really well, and Johnny had to rein him in before the seven-eighths when the siren went off,” Pletcher said. “Had the siren not went off, I thought he would have gone even quicker. I thought he showed good energy.”
A field of 10 is shaping up for the Travers. Post positions will be drawn Tuesday evening at a ceremony at the refurbished Adelphi Hotel.
Those expected to enter, with riders, are: Bravazo (Luis Saez), Catholic Boy (Javier Castellano), Good Magic (Jose Ortiz), Gronkowski (Joel Rosario), Hofburg (Irad Ortiz Jr.), King Zachary (Robby Albarado), Meistermind (Manny Franco), Tenfold (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Vino Rosso (Velazquez), Wonder Gadot.
Mr Freeze, the West Virginia Derby winner, will skip the Travers and train up to the Pennsylvania Derby. No decision has been made on where Axelrod, the Indiana Derby winner, will make his next start.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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