Funny thing about horse racing. It’s the one sport where no one can talk to the athletes and find out what they’re thinking. (Anyone who mentions Mr. Ed here gets hit with a rolled-up newspaper, if I can find one).
So we make do with jockeys and trainers, and we often talk about them as winners of the sport’s most prestigious race.
The jockey? Ok. He’s along for the ride. The trainer? His work is done before the horse is stuffed into the starting gate.
The 144th Run for the Roses is Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Your favorite in Wednesday’s morning line: Justify, at 13-4. Four others come in at less than 10-1 odds, including Good Magic (9-1).
Good Magic’s trainer, Chad Brown, could use a little hocus-pocus.
At 39, he has saddled a few entrants in the Derby. In 2016, he had two. Shagaf might still be running (technically, he didn’t finish) and My Man Sam came in 11th. Practical Joke ran fifth last year.
So even though Brown has won the Eclipse Award the last two years, and after saddling Cloud Computing last year in a winning effort at the Preakness, he’s still longing for that Derby victory. He says that Good Magic may be his best chance yet.
Good Magic has started five times, with two wins, two seconds and a third. Brown has confidence that everything is coming together at the right time.
“He’s giving me all of the right body language that I’ve seen from other horses going into big races over the years,” Brown told the Associated Press. “In a way, you try to treat this race like any other big race and that’s what we’re doing, and he’s giving us all of the right signs.”
All of those dreams and aspirations boil down now to what Good Magic can do in two magical minutes on Saturday.
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