Different day, same story for Good Magic, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, Thursday morning at Pimlico in Baltimore, Md.. For the third consecutive morning since his arrival from New York on Monday, Good Magic trained over a track that was labeled either muddy or sloppy.
As soon as the Chad Brown-trained Good Magic hit the Pimlico racing surface at 7:30 a.m., the drizzle turned into a steady downpour. Going around the track twice, with exercise rider Walter Malasquez in the saddle, Good Magic looked very comfortable as he navigated the sloppy going.
Back at the barn, Brown's traveling assistant, Baldo Hernandez, wryly noted that the rain abated, almost as soon as Good Magic completed his training.
“Look at it now,” Hernandez said, gesturing to the drizzle that was falling outside the stakes barn as Good Magic was being walked around the shedrow. “It was a good gallop for him.”
Brown is expected to arrive in Baltimore on Friday, perhaps in time for Good Magic's training.
Good Magic's jockey, Jose Ortiz, is expected to arrive late Thursday evening, as he is named to ride in several stakes at Pimlico on Friday, including Indy Union in the Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2).
The 2017 Eclipse Award-winning rider won his first Classic race last year aboard Tapwrit in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Ortiz finished 10th and last aboard longshot Term of Art in last year's Preakness, which marked his first time riding in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Ortiz, 24, said he is optimistic that he and Good Magic can get the better of Justify, the 1-2 morning-line favorite, in the Preakness, even though it's a real possibility that Justify will get the same wet conditions that propelled him to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Derby.
“It's a small field and if we have a clean trip, I'm sure we could turn the tables on [Justify] on Saturday,” Ortiz said by phone from New York on Thursday morning. “We just have to make up 2 1/2 lengths. It's not like he beat us 10 or 20 lengths.
“[A wet track] is not a disadvantage for me or for my horse,” he added. “We ran in the Derby and we were beaten 2 1/2 lengths on a sloppy track. Both horses like it; Justify just had a better day that day.”
As far as race tactics go, Ortiz has a specific plan in mind for e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables' Good Magic, the second choice at odds of 3-1 who will break from Post No. 5.
“Hopefully, someone else goes [to the early lead]. If Justify goes, and I have to be the one putting pressure on him, I will be,” Ortiz said. “I will have to turn it into a match race. It looks like a match race on paper. You can't give Justify an inch.”
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