Irish-based Magician and jockey Ryan Moore took advantage of a fast early pace to roll to victory in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2. (VIDEO).
Trained by Aidan O'Brien for the Coolmore connections of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier, the lightly raced son of Galileo produced from the stakes-winning Mozart mare Absolutelyfabulous, beat some of the world's top grass stars to take the 1 1/2-mile turf in final time of 2:23.23.
Teaks North, off at 95-1 odds under Martin Garcia assumed an uncontested early lead and rolled through fractions of :24.02, :46.94, and 1:10.67 as the field rounded the second of three turns in the test of stamina. Teaks North continued down the backside, stopping the timer in 1:35.26 for a mile.
Rounding the final turn, Teaks North was challenged first by defending champion Little Mike, The Fugue, and 27-1 longshot Vagabond Shoes. As the field entered the stretch, Magician began to pick up horses on the outside and the 3-year-old colt was relentless in getting up approaching the wire for a half-length victory over 3-2 favorite The Fugue.
In winning a fourth race from his eighth lifetime start and improving his earnings to $1,944,496, Magician paid $27, $11.80, and $7. The Fugue was worth $4.40 and $3, with Indy Point another three-quarters of a length back in third, paying $5.40. The order was completed by Point of Entry , Vagabond Shoes, Twilight Eclipse, Little Mike, Big Blue Kitten, Real Solution , Skyring, Teaks North, Tale of a Champion.
Bred in Ireland by the Absolutelyfabulous Syndicate, Magician came into the Turf off a victory in the Tattersalls Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) in May and a ninth-place finish in the St. James Palace Stakes (Eng-I) in his previous start in June.
Moore was effusive in his praise of Magician.
"He's one of the best horses I've ridden in a long time," Moore said. "He switched off nice at the beginning. I was a little farther back than I wanted to be because he got a bump at the turn and he lost his back end, but he leveled off nicely, got his balance. From there he took me where I wanted to be."
"It's been a job well done by the team to achieve this," O'Brien said. "I have to thank Michael (Tabor) whose idea it was that we should move him up in trip to a mile and a half."
Trainer John Gosden was equally proud of The Fugue's effort.
"She's run a great race," Gosden said. "We came a bit wide into the straight. We've beaten a very good Argentinian horse (Indy Point), but the form is very hard to assess as the winner (Magician) hasn't run since June. He's a bit of a joker in the pack (deck). She ran her race. She improved her position. She just got beat at the end."
"She did nothing wrong, she did everything right," jockey William Buick said of The Fugue. "She felt good to me. She ran well."
Gary Stevens said Indy Point was game in defeat.
"He gave me a big run," Stevens said. "It was a game effort. He's a very nice horse and I enjoy riding him. He dug in and gave me everything he had. I couldn't ask for anything more from him."
Trainer Richard Mandella, who the previous day saddled Beholder to win the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), shared Stevens' praise.
"He ran great. I was very pleased with his effort. Gary (Stevens) told me he wished he would have gone one way instead of the other. In a race you have to make a quick decision and he did. I sure will take this race over Arlington (Million, where he ran 13th and last)."