Champion Good Magic (Curlin) makes his highly anticipated 3-year-old debut Saturday in Gulfstream’s GII Fountain of Youth S. Runner-up behind a “TDN Rising Star” performance from Hazit (War Front) in his Aug. 26 unveiling at Saratoga, the $1-million KEESEP buy completed the exacta in the GI Champagne S. at Belmont Oct. 7. The chestnut put it all together when it mattered most, capturing the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by 4 1/4 lengths at Del Mar Nov. 4 and snagging the Eclipse for top juvenile colt.
“The year is filled with promise,” trainer Chad Brown told the Gulfstream notes team. “The horse, knock on wood, is very healthy. His battery is recharged. He’s a fresh horse. We’re excited to get his 3-year-old year kicked off and hopefully one filled with success and no interruptions.”
Last term’s GI Breeders’ Futurity S. hero Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) could only manage ninth behind Good Magic in the Juvenile, but had never finished worse than second in his four starts prior to that. The chestnut flashed that previous form in his sophomore bow Feb. 3 in the GII Holy Bull S., checking in second behind an eye-catching performance from Audible (Into Mischief).
“The biggest thing about his [Holy Bull] performance is that it shows the race in California was just a fluke and he came back to his old form,” Romans said. “You don’t know for sure until you run a horse. I was very pleased with his race. It was a really fast-run race according to all the numbers you look at. His numbers actually moved forward to an all-time top.”
“TDN Rising Star” Strike Power (Speightstown) has shown abundant speed going around one turn and will attempt to stretch his speed in this spot. Romping by eight lengths in his career bow here Dec. 23, the homebred went wire-to-wire in the GIII Swale S. Feb. 3, finishing 2 3/4 lengths clear of Street Sense S. winner Gotta Go (Shanghai Bobby).
Fellow “TDN Rising Star” Marconi (Tapit), a half-brother to GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno), joins Todd Pletcher’s Florida string after making his first three starts at Aqueduct. Donning cap and gown by 5 1/2 lengths at second asking going nine panels in Ozone Park Dec. 15, the $2 million KEESEP purchase broke slow and was a bit green when third in the GIII Withers S. there Feb. 3.
“A mile and a sixteenth might be a little short for him but the race looks like it should have some pace,” said Todd Pletcher.