Good Magic: The Heart of the Matter


Don Henley’s 1990 song “The Heart of the Matter” begins with the following lyrics:

“I got the call today, I didn’t want to hear.  But I knew that it would come.”

Today, when I opened Racing Twitter on my phone, I saw that Good Magic is going to be given some time to find himself at Stonestreet Farm following his disappointing effort in the Travers, where he finished 9th of 10.  So I didn’t actually get a call that I didn’t want to hear.  More like a tweet that I didn’t want to read.  But the point is the same.  And I knew it was coming.  I don’t think we’ll see Good Magic race again.  I hope I’m wrong.  But I’m usually not about stuff like this.  I think that’s it.

For those of you who are new to LoneSpeed and my various social media posts, a little background, if I may.  Good Magic first appeared on my radar last fall when he ran 2nd in the Champagne.  I then played him in the Breeders’ Cup, made a bunch of money, and made another bet with a friend that he would win at least two legs of the Triple Crown.  So I have long been a fan of the horse.  And Good Magic will forever hold a place in heart, mind, bank account, and all the rest.  I went out on a limb and predicted that he would win the Kentucky Derby, and he would have were it not for that pesky Bob Baffert.  Good Magic may have taken the Preakness, too.  But in spite of his honest efforts in the Triple Crown, I came away with the nagging feeling that Good Magic is best at shorter distances than he found in the Derby and Preakness.  And maybe the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile would be the right goal for him.  And when he failed to fire in the Travers, I wondered out loud if his human connections would shift gears and aim for that race.

And then I thought about it some more.  And I wondered if, unlike Justify, Good Magic stood to gain anything for his owners by racing again.  For instance, what if he ran in the BC Dirt Mile and lost?  Then what?  The Clark Handicap?  The Pegasus next year?  Good Magic is a Breeders’ Cup and dual-Grade 1 winner.  And if his owners think, like I do, that 10 furlongs is just beyond his best distance, why keep him in training given what he has already accomplished?

My point is that Good Magic’s value likely peaked after the Haskell.  Now we get into having to face older horses.  I suppose it’s possible he’ll be given the rest of the year off and will come back next year, but I don’t see it happening.  If I’m wrong, and Good Magic does indeed race in the Breeders’ Cup this year as his owner suggested was possible, then I hope it’s the Dirt Mile.  He’d have a better shot there than in the Classic.

If I’m right, and Good Magic’s days on the track are in fact over, then I want to tell him that I will forever appreciate what he did for me.  One of my favorite moments at the racetrack was watching him draw off in the BC Juvenile.  He made me feel smart.  And for the moment, rich. So whatever is best for him is OK in my book.

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