Good Magic's trainer, Chad Brown, was very unhappy with the ride that jockey Jose Ortiz gave the colt in Saturday's 143rd Preakness Stakes. Good Magic finished fourth.
Ortiz, who earlier this week said he wanted to press the pace, took the horse to the lead. Brown, who didn't arrive until Friday, must not have heard about that.
"I did not want the horse on the lead," Brown said after the race. "I'm disappointed with the trip. The post didn't help. We were inside [Justify] the whole way. Unfortunately, our horse took the worst of it being on the fence and getting pressed the whole way."
Good Magic was in the No. 5 post and Justify in No. 7.
"You guys asked me all week what I wanted to do — sit off the pace and follow [Justify] around the track," Brown continued. "And he's following us around."
Ortiz didn't blame the ride but the horse.
"I tried to take back a little but the pace wasn't too fast. He was relaxed but Mike was just sitting chilly on his horse," Ortiz said of Mike Smith, Justify's jockey. "We were going very easy. I made my run the same time he did, but I didn't have the horse underneath me."
Ritvo assesses year at Santa Anita
It was exactly a year ago when it became public that the Stronach Group was sending its fix-it guy, Tim Ritvo, to Santa Anita to try to improve the race track. There has been a learning curve, but Ritvo said Saturday on Preakness Day that he's good with the progress.
"We're bullish on Santa Anita," he said. "It should be the gem of the West Coast."
"It's like an old ocean liner. I think we're trying to turn the ship around and get it going and we're in the process of turning it around.."
Unlike his revitalization jobs at Gulfstream in Florida and Laurel in Maryland, Ritvo has found he needs the cooperation of others, some of which can seem entrenched.
"I'm getting a lot better vibes," Ritvo said. "The TOC [Thoroughbred Owners of California] is cooperating a little bit. I'm learning about the racing commission in a highly regulatory environment. There are a bunch of different industry interests. I think we're moving in the right direction."
When he arrived at Santa Anita, he identified short fields as the top thing he needed to fix. He's seeing positive signs in that area.
"Even now, after the Santa Anita Derby, field size has been good," he said. "[Saturday's] card is excellent. It's one of the only cards in the country that's on the grass. We saw a big increase [Friday] and we'll probably see a good bump [Saturday]."
Another Baffert win
Ax Man, at one point thought to be a Kentucky Derby possibility, had no trouble putting away a reduced field of six competitors to win the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico. The Bob Baffert trainee took the early lead and cruised around the track in the 1 1/16 mile race to win by an unhurried 6 3/4 lengths.