TDN Q&A: Mike Ryan Talks Good Magic

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Good Magic | Horsephotos

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan signed the $1-million winning ticket on behalf of e Five Racing when Good Magic (Curlin) sold at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and promptly saw his faith rewarded as the colt put forth a memorable career, capped by a championship season as a juvenile in 2017. Having won the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile during his initial campaign for e Five and his breeder, Stonestreet Stables, high hopes followed the handsome chestnut into his 3-year-old season, where he parlayed a win in Keeneland’s GII Toyota Blue Grass S. into a runner-up finish behind Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) in the GI Kentucky Derby and a hard-fought fourth behind that rival in the GI Preakness S. After returning to the Grade I winner’s circle in Monmouth Park’s Haskell Invitational, Good Magic is poised to begin his new career as a stallion at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in 2019. Earlier this month, Ryan returned to visit his star pickup at Hill ‘n’ Dale and discussed his impressions with the TDN.

TDN: This is the first time that you’ve seen Good Magic in three months. What is your impression of how he has done?

MR: That’s correct. I hadn’t seen him since mid-summer, mid-August–two weeks before the Travers. I’m blown away by his development and how he’s strengthened and deepened. Now that he’s had a chance to let down and be a horse, the depth of his girth and the strength over his top line just amazes me. He was a very fit racehorse–he came off the Haskell and was training up to the Travers and he was an athlete. But now he looks like a mature stallion, and he’s only a 3-year-old, so he’s going to change a lot here in the next 15 months. He’s quite a physical specimen–and he was as a yearling. He was an expensive yearling, because he was a really impressive individual.

TDN: Is there a particular trait or tendency that distinguishes Good Magic as a top-notch racehorse and a promising stallion prospect, in your mind?

MR: I think his greatest asset was his mind. His demeanor is extraordinary. And every day he trained at Stonestreet, he would train the same way. He would go straight down to the end of the racetrack, never deviate, switch leads on cue every time, and that was every day. He was so dependable, so alive, and so focused on what he was doing.

He’s just a horse who is a pleasure to be around. He’s a very smart horse, but his demeanor is extraordinary. I mean, nothing disturbs this horse. He’s completely comfortable with his surroundings and with what he’s doing, and he never wasted any energy unnecessarily, because he was smart. When it was time to fight, time to run, he was there. He showed up.

TDN: Does his temperament remind you at all of what you saw from his sire?

MR: Mary and I were in Dubai the night Curlin won the World Cup. I’ll never forget it, what a horse he was. He traveled the world, and he was an iron horse…Good Magic is a lot like his sire, he’s just a little bit smaller than his dad–but a lot of similarities. Obviously the courage and the determination and the heart was passed down from Curlin to this horse. And the fact that he was a really good 2-year-old is a huge asset to him. Because he showed brilliance at two, and now he’s a top 3-year-old.

TDN: Can you talk a little about his early development as a juvenile-and the unique circumstances that led to him breaking his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile?

MR: We were always of the opinion that he had tactical speed, but he’d be better going two turns–and he really showed up on Breeders’ Cup day. He was always sitting and cruising in a good position, and when Jose Ortiz asked him at the three-eighths pole, the response was immediate. When he turned for home, he kicked on and opened up very, very easily on the field, and it was a fantastic performance.

TDN: We understand that Bob Edwards has been buying some mares to support the stallion?

MR: Yes, he did. He bought four nice mares, two from Fasig-Tipton, two from Keeneland. And that was his plan to support the horse. He’s also got some nice fillies off the track and some other mares, but Bob and Barbara [Banke] are very committed and I know Barbara is going to support him very heavily as well, so he’s going to get great backing from his owners, and I think the syndicate is a very strong syndicate. He’s going to be very well supported. I think the fee was very fair and there is a great opportunity for breeders to breed to him.

TDN: How can you describe the personal excitement in being involved with a horse like this?

MR: It’s very special. You know, we’ve been involved in some stallions before, but he is a great favorite of mine–only had one year, but this is one of the best horses we’ve ever bought, and he was good from the get-go. I’m very excited, and I think he’s a beautifully bred horse, by one of the best stallions in the world. It’s wonderful. It’s a great feeling.

I think breeders are going to love Good Magic, because he’s such a beautifully made horse, he’s very symmetrical. I know the word balance is overused, but this horse, he’s going to fit a lot of mares because he’s such a well-proportioned horse. Great limbs on him, he’s very correct, and he’s really an easy horse to breed to, in my mind.

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