Good Magic Odds to Win the 2018 Preakness Stakes with Picks and Predictions
For a while it looked like Justify was going to get a free pass in the Preakness . As time passed, though, the rumor that Good Magic was seriously being considered turned into fact, and the best horse other than the winner in the Kentucky Derby, and the reigning two-year-old champion for that matter, is here to make Justify honest. At his best this colt probably can't beat the heavy favorite, and his connections know it. But he is the second best in this race by a wide margin and could be well positioned to take advantage if things finally become too much for Justify and he shows his first flash of mortality. The race is much, much more interesting with this colt entered.
Last race: After many viewings of this year's Derby, my favorite moment involved this colt. After racing comfortably just off the pace early on, this colt was in second around the last turn and looking good. Entering the stretch the colt was moving forward, and he moved up on Justify as if he intended to challenge him. Justify caught sight of him, and you could almost see the eventual winner scoff. He dismissed the challenge, pulled away, and maintained command down the stretch. I liked the moment in part because it was a clear moment when we saw just how good Justify was. To dismiss a challenge that easily after running blazing fractions on a slow and heavy track was amazing. But I also liked the moment for Good Magic. Horses are herd animals, so dominance is an important factor. After Justify showed his dominance so clearly, many horses would have wilted in defeat. But Good Magic kept on fighting and held off a strong charge from Audible. It showed us again what we already knew - this is a tough and talented colt.
Prior experience: The colt was second in his maiden debut in August at Saratoga. Then he was second again in his stakes debut in the Champagne at Belmont, trailing Derby also-ran Firenze Fire. He didn't break his maiden until his third start, but he picked the right place to do it. In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile he stalked a reasonably aggressive early pace, split horses beautifully on the final turn, and then never looked back as he won by nearly five lengths. It was a stellar showing against a deep and impressive field, and that was enough to win the championship. He didn't run again until the Fountain of Youth in March. He looked exactly like what he was - a colt with a lot of rust to knock off and some catching up to do after a long break. He still finished third but was clearly a work in progress. But it didn't matter for long - next time out in the Blue Grass, his final Derby prep, he was mid-pack early but in the lead through the second turn and in control the rest of the way. It wasn't quite as dominant a performance as in the Juvenile, but it still left no doubt. He was ready for the Derby - as he went on to prove.
Trainer: Chad Brown is the only guy who can claim a current Preakness winning streak - he won the race last year with Cloud Computing to claim his first Triple Crown race. It was far from his first big win, though - he won't turn 40 until December, but he has already won 10 Breeders' Cup races and many other big stakes and has been the Eclipse Award trainer for top trainer the last two years. He's extremely good. That he brought this horse to this race is interesting. Right after the Derby he walked past the broadcast location for NBC and told them as he passed that he had no interest in seeing Justify again and wasn't heading to Baltimore. But then time passed and his mindset shifted. In part, that's because his horse came out of the Derby well and looks like he wants another race. More significantly, though, Brown and the owners don't want to put Good Magic in the Belmont, so if he didn't run here then he wouldn't have a logical spot to run until the end of July - the Jim Dandy or the Haskell. That's a long break for a colt who has already had one of those, and we saw he wasn't at his best right after a break. It would be interesting to know how much of pointing him at this race was because he can win and how much was because it was the best decision logistically, Of course, we'll never get an honest answer.
Jockey: Jose Ortiz has been aboard for all but the colt's first start, and he's back for more. You can't do much better. He's the reigning Eclipse Award winner for top jockey. He led the nation in earnings last year and wins the year before. He won his first Triple Crown race last year in the Belmont with Tapwrit, and there will be many more to come. He has good chemistry with this colt, and he's a real asset in the saddle.
Breeding: Good Magic is a son of Curlin, like Tenfold, who is also in this race. Curlin won this race in 2007 then went on to win most other races that matter for older horses while being Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He's a legend, and that has continued in the breeding shed. His offspring have won the Belmont (Palace Malice in 2013) and the Preakness (Exaggerator in 2016), and there have been many more top horses already. He had endless class and solid stamina on the track, and he passes it along. Good Magic's damsire is forever tied to Curlin. Hard Spun was second in the 2007 Derby just ahead of Curlin and behind Street Sense, and third in the Preakness behind both of those colts. He had some great success sprinting that summer and then closed out his running career again finishing just behind Curlin in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He hasn't been dominant in the breeding shed, but his son Wicked Strong was fourth in the Derby and Belmont in 2014. He offers toughness and speed to complement Curlin's greatness, though.
Odds: Good Magic is the +350 second choice to win the Preakness at Bovada . That has him as the clear second choice - well behind Justify at -250 but miles ahead of third choices Diamond King and Quip at +1600. That's about exactly where he should be. If the field stays where it is now with eight anticipated runners then we should see the colt at somewhere around 5/2 on the morning line with Justify way down at 3/5 or less.
Can Good Magic win the 2018 Preakness Stakes?: Sure. He's a very talented horse in strong form who has looked good working since the Derby. He's not as good as Justify, but that horse has gone through a lot. If he's not at his best then this colt could be well positioned to capitalize. At worst, he's clearly the second best horse and could be well poised to duplicate his runner-up performance from two weeks back. There is no shame in that.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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