Stellar Magic Tops Texcess in San Mateo Mile

California-bred Stellar Magic collared 7-10 favorite Texcess in mid-stretch and rolled to a 1 1/2-length victory in the San Mateo Mile for 3-year-olds at Bay Meadows Saturday.

Ridden from the rail by Dennis Carr, Stellar Magic got rolling near the quarter pole and had the measure of Texcess, who finished nine lengths clear of the show horse, 39-1 King Mobay. The final time was 1:35 2/5.

"When I swung him out at the five-sixteenths pole, he cut and run," Carr said. "He finished full of run today and when I pulled him up it seemed like he didn't even break a sweat. There's a lot of potential here."
A gelding by Western Fame, Stellar Magic is trained by Brian Pitnick, who is also part owner along with K&K Stables of Ken and Kamela Duncan. He went off at odds of 8-1.

"Things don't always go as planned, but we got the ride we wanted and the trip we wanted," said Pitnick. "I told Dennis there was a lot of speed and to let it go, but I was afraid he might be a little rank from the rail. He settled down like we wanted. The key is getting the horse to relax."

The Cal-bred Texcess, a close third to Spanish Chestnut in the San Rafael (gr. II) in his last start at Santa Anita Jan. 15, has a couple of stakes victories to his credit, including the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot in December.

Stellar Magic saved ground while racing in fifth in the seven-horse field through opening splits set by California Choice of :22 3/5 and :45 2/5. By the time Texcess took the lead with Russell Baze aboard after six furlongs in 1:09 3/5, Stellar Magic was in gear, swinging three wide on the turn and overtaking the leader while in full flight for the wire. He edged clear while driving as Texcess shortened stride in deep stretch, perhaps done in by the quick fractions.

"He motored to the lead and I felt like I had a lot of horse left," said Baze. "Then he drifted out to the middle of the track and starting pricking his ears. He lost his concentration and momentum. I tried to keep him to his business. But even if he had kept his concentration it would have been hard to hold off Dennis' horse because he was really rolling."

The San Mateo Mile is a steppingstone to the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), which will be run March 12.  The El Camino Real Derby, a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds, is Northern California's premier Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep. 

"We'll definitely stay here," said Pitnick.  "As long as he's OK we'll run."

Stellar Magic won his first stakes event and third race overall in four starts. He earned $55,000 to increase his purse total to $95,398. Applebite Farms bred Stellar Magic, who was produced by the Something Lucky mare Lucky Starlett. He was a $17,000 Barretts buy in May.

He paid $18, $5.20 and $4.20. Texcess returned $2.40 and $2.20. King Mobay's show was $5.60.

(Chart, Equibase)