First-crop sires: Good Magic increases Kentucky Derby prep tally to four

January 9th, 2023

Good Magic ranked second on the final 2022 freshman sires’ list, with his progeny amassing about $2.53 million. First-crop champ Bolt d’Oro’s tally was just north of $2.8 million, according to Thoroughbred Daily News.

Considering that Good Magic enhanced his resume at three, it’s arguable that he could outstrip Bolt d’Oro as their offspring mature. The 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) trail will be an early test of that hypothesis, as both stallions have promising colts to fly their respective flags.

Good Magic had two Derby prep winners, Champagne (G1) star Blazing Sevens and Iroquois (G3) hero Curly Jack, as of our last installment on Thanksgiving week. Now the Curlin stallion has doubled that figure. Dubyuhnell captured the Dec. 3 Remsen (G2), and Reincarnate kicked off his sophomore campaign by upsetting the Jan. 8 Sham (G3). Moreover, Good Magic celebrated two other stakes wins in the interim, notably Bat Flip on turf.

Reincarnate shows high speed in Sham

Although Reincarnate was ineligible to score Derby points because trainer Bob Baffert is suspended by Churchill Downs Inc., his front-running display in the Sham remains full of promise. There was no question that he wants to route, having spent his entire career going two turns. Twice second on turf, Reincarnate again played second fiddle in his dirt debut Nov. 4 to stablemate Fort Bragg. He accordingly warranted mentions in the “Knocking on the door” section of two past Good Magic round-ups, before finally wiring a Nov. 25 maiden at Del Mar.

Reincarnate employed the same tactics in the Sham at Santa Anita, but at a much faster tempo versus much better rivals. The gray proved his 16.50-1 odds all wrong by turning back challenges both early and late, grittily seeing off stablemate Newgate by a neck. Baffert’s 3-5 favorite, National Treasure, was third, echoing his result in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

“After looking at that time, that was serious time – they ran really fast,” Baffert said of the mile in 1:35.87.

Jockey Juan Hernandez could tell that Reincarnate was whizzing along, but readily:

Today, he broke really sharp and actually he surprised me. I had come up with a plan to stay behind the speed, make him relax and make one move, but when the gate opened, plans changed. I saw myself in front, so I just let him run. I felt the fractions were like a hard pace, but he was really comfortable.

He’s a really big horse, he has a big stride….He kind of waited for the other horses, but he’s still learning how to run. When he got the lead, he tried to wait for the company, but when he saw the other horse come to me, he saw him and fought back.

He can go as far as you want.”

A $775,000 Keeneland September yearling, Reincarnate is out of the stakes-winning Scat Daddy mare Allanah. She was herself produced by a daughter of Holy Bull. Reincarnate, a gray like Holy Bull, might be channeling that Hall of Famer’s cruising speed – hence his name.

Dubyuhnell relentless in Remsen

Dubyuhnell likewise showed tactical speed in his stakes debut in the Remsen, although as the hunter rather than the hunted. The Danny Gargan pupil attended Arctic Arrogance throughout and ultimately outstayed him in the 1 1/8-mile affair. A half-length on top at the wire, Dubyuhnell clocked 1:50.88 – considerably faster than Julia Shining’s 1:53.05 in the slow-paced Demoiselle (G2). His effort netted a 100 Brisnet Speed rating.

“They were going fast,” Gargan noted. “He was up towards the lead and they went three-quarters in 1:12 and change and that’s running today. The fillies (in the Demoiselle) I think went 1:14 and change. They (the colts) went a mile in 1:37 and change and that’s getting after it. I was impressed with this race.”

Jockey Jose Ortiz believed that Dubyuhnell was idling a bit.

“My horse put his ears up when he put a head in front of his (Arctic Arrogance). It was a little immature on that part. I wish he could run by horses a little bit better, but hopefully he keeps improving by age.”

If there’s one lingering question about Dubyuhnell, it’s that both his wins have come at Aqueduct in the slop. Wintering in Florida, Dubyuhnell could ship back north for the Feb. 4 Withers (G3), over the same 1 1/8-mile distance as the Remsen. The Withers would offer a rematch with Arctic Arrogance, who was rebuffed by Lugan Knight in the Jan. 7 Jerome S.

Curly Jack bounces back from Breeders’ Cup

While Blazing Sevens has been vacationing since his fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Curly Jack already turned the page on his fifth in the championship event at Keeneland. Back at Churchill Downs in the Nov. 26 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), over the same track and trip as his Iroquois coup, Curly Jack placed second in a blanket finish.

The result was a portent of the freshman sire standings since the winner, Instant Coffee, is by Bolt d’Oro. Yet Curly Jack didn’t have the cleanest trip on the fence, forced to wait for room before offering a solid inside rally. As a grinder, Curly Jack might have been closer with more time to unwind.

“Sometimes drawing the rail could be a curse,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “The pace really didn’t develop early on and we were stuck on the inside trying to find room.”

Curly Jack is expected to return in the Feb. 18 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. He’s yet to run particularly fast; his career-best Speed figure remains a 93 from his near-miss in the seven-furlong Ellis Park Juvenile back in August. But the steady, consistent type can keep adding to his resume and bankroll.

Bat Flip connects in Central Park

Bat Flip continues to progress on turf for Todd Pletcher, displaying tactical versatility in all three starts on the surface at Aqueduct. After closing for second to Nagirroc in a turf sprint, he wired a 1 1/16-mile maiden, and in the Nov. 26 Central Park S. at a mile, he stalked. Bat Flip increasingly upped the pressure before kicking clear in 1:34.30.

“It looked like Jose (Ortiz) had his hands full and looked like he had a lot of horse,” Pletcher said. “When he turned for home, you could see he was kind of still holding him together waiting to let him out, so I was glad to see him respond the way it looked like he was going to.”

“He has speed and he can rate, also,” Ortiz said. “He's a manageable horse. He's not a horse that needs the lead.”

Other winners

How Did He Do That added to Good Magic’s stakes haul in the Nov. 22 Zia Park Juvenile, where he forced the pace and drew off to complete six furlongs in 1:08.81. But the Steve Asmussen trainee was subsequently fifth in a pair of stakes at Oaklawn Park, the Dec. 9 Advent S. and Jan. 1 Smarty Jones S. He might need to revert to the New Mexico circuit to collect more black-type.

At Gulfstream Park, Devil’s Cay was a debut fourth Nov. 19 behind Lord Miles, who went on to finish a hard-charging third in the Mucho Macho Man S. Devil’s Cay dropped in class for a $50,000 tag in a Dec. 22 maiden/optional claimer, stepped up to a mile, and promptly romped by four on the front end. Trained by David Fawkes for e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, he withstood early pressure and drew off to clock 1:38.20 and notch a 90 Speed rating. Devil’s Cay was claimed by owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Luis Ramirez. He could be worth watching, as his dam is a half to graded winners Red Ruby and Mo Tom as well as multiple Grade 1-placed stakes scorer Beautician.

Also at Gulfstream, Miss New York won a 1 1/16-mile maiden Nov. 26 in stalk-and-pounce fashion on the Tapeta, in her second stateside start for Jorge Delgado. The Amo Racing runner was previously based in England, as mentioned in the Oct. 6 update. Miss New York, a daughter of Grade 2 winner Luna Vega (by Malibu Moon), has since finished a close third in a Gulfstream turf allowance Dec. 16.

In Saudi Arabia, Almurtajiz won convincingly going about seven furlongs on debut Nov. 25. Tackling the pacesetter turning into the stretch, he opened up by 6 1/2 lengths.

Almurtajiz picked up Olivier Peslier for his next start in a local Group 3, the Dec. 16 Ministry of National Guard Cup, over a metric mile. Perhaps he could have moved sooner, since this time, the leader Commissioner King was long gone. But again Almurtajiz made a sustained move. Moreover, he showed a commendable attitude to reduce the margin to four lengths at the wire, while himself 4 3/4 lengths clear of third, as the replay illustrates.

Almurtajiz could be on the trail for the Feb. 25 Saudi Derby (G3) on Saudi Cup Day.

Knocking on the door

Escape Artist was just outdueled in his debut, a one-mile turf maiden, on opening day at Santa Anita. Trained by Michael McCarthy, the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners runner is nominated to the Feb. 11 El Camino Real Derby.

Escapologist got up for third in a 1 1/8-mile maiden on the Nov. 26 “Stars of Tomorrow II” card at Churchill Downs. The Ken McPeek pupil is currently training at Oaklawn.

Magic Petition placed twice in potentially good maidens at Meydan, finishing third to Royal Dubai and an eye-catching second to Morning. He flopped when trying turf Jan. 6, but is eligible to break through eventually for Ahmad bin Harmash on the dirt.