11/15/2017 5:04PM

Road to the Derby: Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Debra A. Roma
Good Magic breaks his maiden in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Grade 1, $1,840,000 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile; 1 1/16 miles; Del Mar; Nov. 4, 2017
(20 Derby qualifying points for a win, 8 for second, 4 for third, 2 for fourth)

Winner: Good Magic, by Curlin
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Owner: eFive Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables LLC
Beyer Speed Figure: 100

GOOD MAGIC had touted his ability in the Champagne Stakes and ran the best race of his brief career in this, his first start around two turns and only his third start.

Although this was his first victory, his previous efforts had proven he was among the best of this crop of 2-year-olds, so he was absolutely deserving of the chance of vying for a championship. He certainly benefitted by stretching out around two turns, which bodes well for him next spring. He’s right at the top of Kentucky Derby contenders, along with third-place finisher BOLT D’ORO, who was compromised by a horrible trip when suffering the first loss of his career.

Good Magic was best on the day. He broke well and ended up in an ideal position into the first turn, saving ground behind dueling leaders. He had to wait briefly three furlongs out when THE TABULATOR tried to keep him boxed in, got free soon thereafter, and quickly engaged SOLOMINI, zoomed past him in upper stretch and drew away. He will winter in Florida.

Solomini, who was second, was ridden along in the opening furlong from his inside draw to press the pace outside of U S NAVY FLAG, took the lead midway on the far turn when U S Navy Flag dropped anchor, could not turn back Good Magic in upper stretch, was a bit late to change leads, but held the place. He’s kind of one-paced, but considering the hot pace he attended, this was another solid effort.

Bolt d’Oro, who was third, proved he can handle the Derby’s 1 1/4 miles because it seemed like he ran about that far. He bobbled a bit at the start and, owing to that and his outside post, never could get over before the first turn, forcing him to race about five paths wide around the first turn. He never could get in down the backstretch and was caught five paths wide on the far turn, made a courageous run to enter contention, and kept to his task down the lane. He had no chance the way this race unfolded, yet still battled on while finishing well in front of the rest of the field. He’s the goods.

GIVEMEAMINIT, who was fourth, raced mid-pack, between horses and three paths wide, around the first turn, held his position while racing between runners down the backstretch and into the far turn, was three paths wide on the far turn, finished evenly but never threatened the top three.

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The Tabulator, who finished fifth, broke well and raced just outside Good Magic around the first turn, raced in that stalking position behind the leaders down the backstretch, made a bid three paths wide early on the far turn, was rebuffed by Solomini, had Good Magic zoom past him on the inside, then had little to offer. Considering his trip, this might be an indication that he’s at the outer range of distances he can handle at this time.

HOLLYWOOD STAR, who was sixth, broke slowly from his outside stall but had no speed and was taken in hand and guided to the rail to save ground around the first turn, trailed to the far turn, picked off some rivals around the turn, passed a few more tired rivals but never got involved.

FIRENZE FIRE, who was seventh, raced between horses, in the two path and just inside Givemeaminit, around the first turn, stayed in that spot down the backstretch and into the far turn, was asked to advance, couldn’t accelerated, and failed to change leads in the stretch. As noted in the Champagne analysis, he appears to be a late-running sprinter.

HAZIT, who finished eighth, raced in the clear, about three to four paths wide while mid-pack, around the first turn, went into the far turn four paths wide, came under a ride at that point but had no response. I’d like to see him try the turf; he’s by War Front out of an Indian Charlie mare.

FREE DROP BILLY, who was ninth, broke half a step slowly, saved ground while toward the rear of the pack around the first turn, steadily advanced to an attacking position while inside heading into the far turn, but suddenly came up empty three furlongs out and faded 

U S Navy Flag, who tired to finish 10th, was hustled away from the gate from his rail draw to take the lead, set quick fractions with Solomini hounding him, lost the lead midway on the turn, was exhausted in upper stretch, and was pretty much eased through the final furlong while failing to change leads.

GOLDEN DRAGON, who finished 11th, broke through the gate before the start and was reloaded, raced four to five paths wide around the first turn while just inside of Bolt d’Oro, then started to lose ground down the backstretch despite urging. This was his first start on dirt after four races and two victories on turf.

BAHAMIAN, who finished last of 12, had to check slightly leaving the gate, raced about three paths wide toward the rear of the pack around the first turn, inched a bit closer nearing the far turn but had zero response and failed to change leads.