Good Magic upsets Bolt D’Oro to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Two-year-old beats heavily favored Bolt D’Oro

The 2-year-old picture that looked so clear Saturday morning got very murky by Saturday afternoon when a maiden named Good Magic won the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.

Santa Anita-based Bolt D’Oro looked unbeatable as the prohibitive favorite after having crushed the best horses in the west. But a wide trip from the No. 11 post compromised his effort and he finished third, some 5 ¼ lengths behind the winner. Bob Baffert’s Solomini, who was beaten by Bolt D’Oro by more than seven lengths in their last race, finished second 4 ¼ lengths behind the winner.

So is Good Magic the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby in May? Probably not without a similar effort in his next race, likely next year.

Good Magic, running for trainer Chad Brown and ridden by Jose Ortiz, was second in both his races in New York, losing to Firenze Fire and Hazit, who finished seventh and eighth in this race.


Winning the Juvenile has not been a predictor of Derby success. Only two horses— Street Sense (2007) and Nyquist (2016) — have won both the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The favorite in the Juvenile has won the race only four times in the last 20 years.

Good Magic ran a perfect stalking trip on the rail of this 1 1/16-mile race as Solomini and U S Navy Flag ran out front. Meanwhile, Bolt D’Oro was anywhere from four to six wide entering the stretch, having rallied from eighth to third. Solomini surrendered the lead entering the short Del Mar stretch and Good Magic pulled away as the wire approached. Bolt D’Oro made up distance on Solomini but not enough to grab second.

“I guess he just wasn’t ready to run today,” said Mick Ruis, Bolt D’Oro’s trainer. “He never had a good position because he was so far outside. But we don’t make any excuses. We just got beat by a better horse today.”

Brown would agree with the assessment he had a better horse Saturday.

“I thought he was a winner every step of the way,” Brown said. “I didn’t know who was coming behind him, but I loved the way he was traveling. We took a shot because he was a maiden, but he’s developing rapidly. … It sure is a thrill to have a really good 2-year-old in the barn. They’re so hard to find. This guy here is developing rapidly. He’s not a real big horse, but he’s growing. It was his first time around two turns, and he aced the test.”

Baffert also seemed pleased with his colt’s effort.

“He ran good,” Baffert said “He was on the pace and they went pretty fast. He hooked up there. He’s just learning how to run, so I was happy with his race. He’s a really nice 2-year-old.”

What happens now is that most horses will head to the farm to rest up for Kentucky Derby the prep grind, which starts in earnest in February. The horses will usually divide up geographically until the final major prep, which will likely determine who makes the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby.

Solomini and Bolt D’Oro probably will meet up again at Santa Anita. Good Magic will be tested in New York. And there are horses in Kentucky and Florida that are getting better every week.

One thing is for certain: By the time the first Saturday in May rolls around, the Juvenile will be a fleeting memory.