Multiple Grade 1 winner Good Magic, the probable favorite for next Saturday's Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers, turned in a scintillating five-furlong breeze in 1:00.44 Friday morning in preparation for the Mid-Summer Derby at Saratoga Race Course.
The Curlin colt is looking to become the first juvenile champion since Street Sense (2006) to win the 1 ¼ mile Travers, and the first Haskell winner since Point Given in 2001 to take the Spa's marquee race. In all, six Haskell winners have completed the double since 1960.
“He worked great,” said two-time defending Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown of Good Magic, who is owned by e Five Racing and Stonestreet Farm. “He couldn't have done any better. I would have preferred to work him Saturday, but I left Friday as an option based on the schedule he's been on. I just wanted to work him one of those two days.”
Good Magic officially worked alone, but was joined briefly by an unraced 2-year-old in his journey around the track after the renovation break. Good Magic's time was the fastest of 17 at the distance.
“It didn't bother me,” said Brown. “It was only for a very short time.”
Brown, who worked a phalanx of stakes hopefuls, said Travers contender Gronkowski would have his final prep for the race on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather.
“He's on a different schedule,” said Brown of Gronkowski, who in his first American start was runner-up to Triple Crown winner Justify in the Belmont Stakes. “I have to do what's best for my horse. I'm flexible. I have a lot of options.”
Making their final Travers Day preps on Friday for Brown as well were Lewis Bay, who was caught going a half-mile in 49.09 for the Grade 1 Ketel One Ballerina and Grade 3 Shuvee runner-up Wow Cat, who went a half in 48.44 for the Grade 1 Personal Ensign.
“They both worked well,” said Brown, who also sent out Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame winner Raging Bull (49.77) and Grade 1 Longines Test winner Separationofpowers (50.20), among others. “I couldn't be happier with what's going on.”
Gary Barber's Wonder Gadot completed her major Grade 1 Travers preparations with a four-furlong bullet work early Friday morning as she tries to become the first filly to win the Mid-Summer Derby since 1915.
With exercise rider Chris Galloway aboard, the Mark Casse trainee worked solo over the main track before 6 a.m., breezing in a swift 47.60 seconds, the fastest of 67 at the distance. Wonder Gadot covered the first quarter-mile in 23.81 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.66, according to NYRA clockers.
“She goes in 47 and three[-fifths] like most horses go in 51. She's truly amazing.” said Casse. “She's sharp. She has a high level of energy all the time. By the time she's finished cooling out this morning, she'll be jumping around and trying to kick people.
“Now, you want to have an easy week and hope everything goes smoothly,” he added. “This is our lives: you get them to a point where they're ready and now you're sitting and waiting.”
The work was her second at Saratoga since winning the Prince of Wales by 5 ¾ lengths over males on July 24 at Fort Erie, the second leg of Canada's Triple Crown. The 3-year-old Ontario-bred filly by Medaglia d'Oro won the first leg with similar ease, taking the 1 ¼-mile Queen's Plate by 4 ¾ lengths on June 30 over Woodbine's Tapeta course.
Last year, Wonder Gadot won the Grade 3 Mazarine and Grade 2 Demoiselle, and hasn't finished worse than third in eight starts in 2018, including a runner-up finish to Monomoy Girl in the Kentucky Oaks on May 4. Wonder Gadot will enter the 1 ¼-mile Travers with a record of 5-4-3 from 13 career starts for more than $1.3 million in earnings.
Casse said an announcement regarding the jockey assignment is expected on Monday and mentioned Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Florent Geroux, and Tyler Gaffalione as possibilities. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode Wonder Gadot to victory in the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales, has the call aboard Vino Rosso in the Travers.
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