Good Magic returned to his championship form with a flourish in easily outclassing six rivals to capture Sunday’s $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational before a crowd of 37,186 at Monmouth Park.
The 2-year-old Juvenile Champion, idle since a fourth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes 10 weeks ago, lived up to his 1-2 favoritism by scoring a three-length victory over Bravazo. It was another six lengths back in third to Lone Sailor.
The Haskell is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Good Magic receiving an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 3. Good Magic is the defending champion of the Breeders’ Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile.
The victory in the Grade 1 Haskell capped banner days for jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown on the 14-race card. Ortiz won four stakes races and Brown won four races overall, with the pair combining to each capture their first Haskell Invitational.
The stakes-filled program saw a total handle of $13,395,279, an increase of five percent over 2017. On-track handle for the day was $1,965,660. Attendance also showed a five percent increase over Haskell Day a year ago.
Good Magic, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, sat a stalking second for the opening six furlongs of the mile and an eighth race before Ortiz asked him to assert himself. The son of Curlin-Glinda the Good, a $1 million yearling purchase, did just that.
“When I asked him to run I pushed the button and he was there for me,” said Ortiz. “It was a really easy trip. He made it easy for me.”
Longshot Roaming Union set the early fractions, taking the seven-horse field to the opening six furlongs before giving way. He was always in the sights of Good Magic, who left the field in his wake when he made his winning move.
Time for the nine furlongs over a fast track was 1:50.01.
“I am so proud of this horse,” said Brown. “He put everything together today. He showed his ability, his agility and his class today. It’s not easy to win these races.”
Brown, the two-time defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer, said winning Monmouth Park’s signature race was especially meaningful to him.
“Winning the Haskell here means a lot,” he said. “To finally win this race is special. I got my start here. I took my trainer’s test here the day after the Breeders’ Cup in 2007. I came back a year later and had horses here. Last year we ran two horses in the (Haskell) and one was the favorite (Timeline) and didn’t win, so it means a lot. You have to come with the right horse and this is a really good horse.”
Owned by e Five Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, Good Magic increased his career earnings to $2,945,000. He has a 3-3-1 line from eight career starts, with the Preakness his only off-the-board finish.
“All the credit to Chad for having him ready to come into a huge race like the Haskell off a 10-week layoff,” said Ortiz. “He had him ready, 110 percent ready to go.”
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Bravazo, the Preakness runner-up, stayed close to Good Magic throughout the race but was no match for Brown’s charge in the stretch.
“My horse ran great. I did everything I could to get him up,” said Luis Saez, Bravazo’s jockey. “I switched to the left to see if I could get more out of him. I just lost to a better horse today.”
Good Magic returned $3.00 to win. The exacta with Bravazo returned $9.40.