No one could have predicted how extraordinarily well Good Magic's name would suit him.
With every stage in the development of this handsome chestnut son of Curlin , the colt has steadily brought to fruition the vision the late Kendall Jackson vintner Jess Jackson had in 2004 for a new Kentucky breeding operation that became Stonestreet Farm.
"What this colt has become mirrors everything Stonestreet does in the wine business," said John Moynihan, longtime bloodstock agent for Stonestreet. "It is all about the best of practices. Everything they created in the wine business is best of practices. They give the winemakers the most amazing resources to make the most amazing wine. That was always Jess's philosophy and it has always been Barbara's philosophy.
"Now at the farm we are using that same philosophy to produce the best racehorses. To have it work out to the degree it has worked out with Good Magic makes you proud, when you see all you've been working toward really work."
The path leading Stonestreet to the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) began at the 2004 Keeneland November breeding stock sale where Jackson acquired 81 mares for more than $18.5 million. Many of these mares were resold within a couple of years, but one mare the farm kept was Magical Flash. A pretty yet smallish daughter of Miswaki, Magical Flash had already produced three black-type runners, including stakes winners Bright Magic (by Prized) and Hot War (In Excess) when Jackson bought her for $140,000 through agent Narvick International. The mare's pedigree got another important update in 2006 when her daughter Take the Ribbon finished second in the Garden City Breeders' Cup Stakes (G1T) and in 2007 won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G3T).
As a member of Stonestreet's inaugural broodmare band, Magical Flash continued to shine by producing three more black-type winners—Flash Mash (Smarty Jones ), Glinda the Good (Hard Spun ), and Flash Forward (Curlin ).
Glinda the Good is the only one among these three that Stonestreet also raced. The filly was offered at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, but was bought back after attracting a final bid of $200,000.
"Glinda was in the first crop by Hard Spun , who we bred to because we had so much respect for him," Moynihan recalled. "Curlin had raced against him so many times, and it was impressive to see a son of Danzig perform that well at the highest level on the dirt. He is a horse we bred to every year at stud."
Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who Stonestreet now stands at Hill 'n' Dale Farms, was campaigned by Stonestreet in partnership with Midnight Cry Stables through 2008, and also with George Bolton, and Padua Stables in 2007. The son of Smart Strike faced Fox Hill Farms' Hard Spun five times in 2007 and outperformed his rival as the winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1), and finished ahead of Hard Spun in the Belmont Stakes (G1) as runner-up to winner Rags to Riches. Hard Spun got the better of Curlin in the Kentucky Derby and Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), in which Hard Spun finished second and Curlin was third in both races.
Glinda the Good inherited plenty of ability from her sire and dam. She won two black-type stakes in 2012 and placed in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at 2. She retired with a 4-2-1 record out of 11 starts and earnings of $226,758.
The young mare got off to a solid start with a winning son of Ghostzapper , named Goodzapper, who sold for $250,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale to Reeves Thoroughbred Racing.
It was Glinda the Good's second foal by Curlin, however, who energized imaginations and set tongues wagging.
"Good Magic is one of the best physicals by Curlin we've ever raised, and is one of the best-looking horses Curlin has ever had," Moynihan said.
As it does with most of the yearlings it breeds, Stonestreet entered Good Magic in the Keeneland September sale with high expectations, and their team was not disappointed. The colt sold for $1 million to Bob Edwards' e Five Racing, but farm owner Barbara Banke didn't cut Good Magic loose entirely and negotiated to retain a half interest.
"Especially with colts, if there's one we have an affinity for, then we approach past partners and new partners and let the consignor know that we would like to retain a leg or two legs in the horse. That is the way this deal came around," Moynihan said.
The expectations surrounding Good Magic never waned throughout his breaking and training, and after he had been shipped to trainer Chad Brown, everyone was predicting he'd win first time out. The colt went off as the 4-5 favorite in his first start in an Aug. 26 maiden special weight at Saratoga Race Course and after a wide trip finished second by a length. Brown was not deterred and soon after Good Magic's debut, started lobbying for the owners to send him to the Champagne Stakes (G1).
"That is not something we typically do," Moynihan said about making such a large jump in class. "Only because of Chad's confidence and because it was something he didn't normally do, we took the chance. Chad was right again, even though he just missed it."
Good Magic got his head in front in the stretch in the Champagne and then got passed by Firenze Fire to lose by half a length.
"Chad called two weeks after that race and said he wanted to consider the Breeders' Cup," Moynihan continued. "He told me, 'John, he came out of the (Champagne) better than he went into the race.' We are thinking if he just got beat in a grade 1 in New York, then we should take a shot at this. We were rewarded in the Breeders' Cup. It is odd to see a horse going into the Breeders' Cup as a maiden and win it as convincingly as he did."
Good Magic won the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) by 4 1/4 lengths and later earned honors as the year's Eclipse champion 2-year-old colt.
Stonestreet's champion kept the momentum going as a sophomore by finishing third in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and then sealing a spot in the Kentucky Derby by winning the April 7 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) by 1 1/2 lengths. He is currently second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 134 points.
"Breeding and racing are so difficult, and when you look at this horse's story, it is just amazing," Moynihan said. "For Barbara to breed a dam that she and Jess bred and raced to the horse that basically spurred their interest and excitement in the horse business, and have the resulting colt command seven figures would have been an amazing accomplishment in itself. But then he goes on to be such a good 2-year-old that he wins at the highest level on one of the biggest stages at the Breeders' Cup, is named champion, and now just won on another big stage at Keeneland.
"As much fun as Jess had racing Curlin," Moynihan continued. "If you gave him the choice of buying a great horse or producing a horse that turns into a great horse, he would have much rather produced it. He and Barbara are creators."