Good Magic Favored in Open Blue Grass Stakes Field of 14
The spring meet opens at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky this Friday, and on Saturday, April 6, the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (G1) is set. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Good Magic (2-1) is the favorite, and he enters off a 3rd place finish last time out in the Fountain of Youth (G2). Good Magic will break from the No. 11 post in the 94th running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.
Trainer Chad Brown was not too excited about the post draw position, and Good Magic may need a top-4 finish to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass awards 100-40-20-10 points to the top-4 finishers, and Good Magic is currently on the bubble for a Derby slot with 34 points in the Kentucky Derby points standings.
“The post is slightly disappointing, but he’s training very well,” Brown said Tuesday after the draw.
Good Magic can’t be considered a good bet at 2-1 odds, as the Fountain of Youth was a weak field and race this year, and the winner Promises Fulfilled came back and finished last in the Florida Derby last weekend. Still, Keeneland oddsmaker Mike Battaglia made Good Magic the favorite, and the son of Curlin will need to run a solid race.
“Maybe not an easy pick to win, because he still has to show something, but I’ve got a lot of respect for Chad Brown,” Battaglia said. “I just don’t think he had him cranked up to go in his first race back. I think he’s going to show big improvement here.”
Keeneland Betting Guide and Stakes Schedule
Good Magic, a son of Curlin out of Glinda the Good, was a $1 million purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and comes with the expectations to match the price tag.
“You don’t make very many seven-figure purchases, but he was very, very special,” said Mike Ryan, bloodstock adviser to owners Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, who represented Good Magic’s connections at the draw Tuesday.
Dale Romans’ Free Drop Billy, who hit the board in his last two outings at the Gotham Stakes and the Holy Bull, is looking for his first win of 2018 and comes in as second choice at 5-1 out of post No. 10.
“He’s training great,” Romans said. “He came back and ran well first time out — topped all his numbers. In New York, he just got in trouble all the way around in a mile race. We still need a few points, though. We need to come over here and run big.”
Last year, 40 points was enough to gain entry to the Kentucky Derby, and both Good Magic (34) and Free Drop Billy (24) likely need a top-4 and top-3 finish respectively to make the Derby field. Tiz Mischief (6) needs to win or place to enter the Derby fray while Flameaway (30) is also seeking a victory or top-4 finish in the Blue Grass.
Already sitting nicely positioned for the Derby, Quip (50 points) comes into the Blue Grass off a win in the Tampa Bay Derby his last time out on March 3 and is the co-third choice at 6-1 in post No. 5. Flameaway (6-1) is near the far outside in post No. 12, and he finished second to Quip at Tampa and won the Sam F. Davis on Feb. 3.
Keeneland Betting Guide Todd Pletcher, the trainer who won the Derby last year with Always Dreaming, brings in Marconi, a 15-1 shot and English jockey Ryan Moore in an attempt to a qualify a fourth horse from his stable for the Derby. Pletcher already has Florida Derby winner Audible, Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy and Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon with enough points to earn a Derby spot.
“It’s a really good betting race,” Battaglia said. “Any time you have 14 horses, it’s a good betting race. You’ve got a solid favorite in Good Magic, but 2-1 is not a big, heavy favorite. … I think overall, it’s a very good, quality field.”