By Katie Petrunyak
Curlin is in the midst of an exceptional year. He's the only North American sire with three Grade I winners already in 2021 with undefeated Kentucky Oaks heroine Malathaat, Florida Derby winner Known Agenda and Santa Anita H. victor Idol. He's also responsible for the buzz horse of the week in undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' and GIII Dwyer S. winner First Captain.
As expected from Curlin, a sire known for his Classic-producing abilities, all four of these current stars broke through to stardom as sophomores or older. And while two did break their maidens as juveniles, only Malathaat was a stakes winner at two.
“The most unique thing with Good Magic is that he was so precocious,” the Stonestreet bloodstock advisor noted. “People expect Curlin to get durability and ruggedness, horses that run far, Classic-type horses. But a lot of times those Classic-type horses don't also come in the form of early, precocious horses and I think that's what sets Good Magic apart.”
Retired to stud in 2019, the champion bred 164 mares off a $35,000 fee. He filled a book of 142 mares at the same fee the following year. Standing for $30,000 in 2021, the Hill 'n' Dale resident will soon see his first yearlings go through the sales ring.
Moynihan said the youngsters are showing every indication that they will soon display the same precocity as their sire.
“The Good Magic yearlings that we have here at the farm, as a group, are physically outstanding. They appear that they're going to be very early and precocious like he was. They look like they'll be very, very sound horses. Robert Turner, our yearling manager, said they are all great minded like he was. A lot of the traits that made him such a good horse, physically and mentally, he seems to be throwing to the offspring that we have here at the farm.”
“The family produces very hard-knocking, rugged racehorses,” Moynihan noted. “I can remember when Magical Flash was older, there was a year where three or four of her foals won a stakes race all within one year.”
Moynihan vividly recalls watching Good Magic, a homebred for Stonestreet, grow and develop in the same paddocks where some of his first progeny now reside.
“He was one of those rare horses that was always a standout from the time he was born to when you looked at him three months later to the time he was a weanling and on to a yearling,” he explained. “He was always a horse you looked at out in the paddock and said, 'Oh, who is that?' He had that kind of presence about him.”
Moynihan said that as Good Magic matured into a yearling, the colt impressed him more and more by the day.
“He improved and got better every day that he was here at the farm. Some horses go through phases where they're not as good physically one month and they get better the next, but this horse was outstanding physically every day we had him.”
The chestnut developed into a $1 million yearling at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale, where he was purchased by e5 Racing.
Stonestreet stayed in for a piece of the promising youngster, and after going through his initial training at Stonestreet's training center, Good Magic made his debut at Saratoga, coming up a length short to run a game second. Trainer Chad Brown was encouraged by the colt's performance and bumped him up in class to the GI Champagne S., where he ran second to eventual MGSW Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior).
“After the race, Chad Brown told me that if Good Magic kept moving forward like he did between his maiden and the Champagne, he was going to want to run him in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile,” Moynihan recalled. “He called me three days later and said the horse acted like he never ran in the Champagne.”
So off they went to Del Mar, where Good Magic became the first horse in history to break his maiden in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
“It takes an extremely talented and extremely good-minded horse to go through those three races in that amount of time and hold up like that,” Moynihan noted.
Following a third-place finish in the GII Fountain of Youth S. and a victory in the GII Blue Grass S., the Eclipse Champion ran in the GI Kentucky Derby where he finished second to eventual Triple Crown champion Justify. Later that summer, he took the GI Haskell Invitational S. before retiring to Hill 'n' Dale with earnings over $2.95 million.
Moynihan said he believes Good Magic's first crop of yearlings represent the quality of mares the young sire saw in his first season at Hill 'n' Dale.
“He had a great book of mares, especially for a horse standing for $35,000,” he explained. “I know in respect to Stonestreet, and I think I'd be speaking on behalf of [Hill 'n' Dale] as well, we bred the caliber of mare that would go to a much higher-priced stallion than one standing for $35,000. That's how much we believed in him.”
Hill 'n' Dale Farm's John Sikura agreed.
“He has bred in excess of 100 mares every year,” Sikura said. “There has been great support from Stonestreet, from us, from SF Bloodstock and other shareholders. He has all the requisites you might look for in a horse in that he's a champion son of Curlin, very well bred, cost a million dollars as a yearling–all the things that a breeder would look for.”
“He represented great, great value [in his first year] at $35,000,” Moynihan said. “We thought he could stand for a little bit more money, but John wanted to be conservative and make sure breeders got the best chance for the first couple of years to make money with the horse.”
At last year's breeding stock sales, Good Magic's weanlings averaged $82,277, placing their sire within the top ranks of first-crop stallions in North America by average with 18 of 31 sold. His top lot, a half-brother to MGSW Lovely Bernadette (Wilburn) out of the winning Bernstein mare Inlovewithlove, sold to OXO Equine for $360,000 at Keeneland November. At the same sale, another colt out of SW Petition the Lady (Petionville) brought $200,000 to Stonehaven Steadings.
With the kickoff to the yearling sales approaching with the Fasig-Tipton July Sale on July 13, Good Magic will be represented by six members of his first crop.
Chris Baccari has one Good Magic yearling preparing to go through the ring at the upcoming auction with his Baccari Bloodstock consignment. The colt is out of the stakes-winning Malibu Moon mare Surf Light and will sell as Hip 303.
“He's a very straightforward colt,” Baccari said. “The thing I really like about him is that he has a two-turn pedigree, but he has a sprinter-type body. It looks like it will not take him very long to get ready. He's very sound and it looks like he can take a lot of training. He has a really pretty hind leg and is a really strong colt with a nice scope about him.”
Other notable pedigrees from Good Magic's progeny at Fasig-Tipton July include Hip 30, a half-brother to SW Empire Line (Morning Line) and out of a half to two stakes winners including champion Rushing Fall (More Than Ready), as well as Hip 86, a colt out of a half-sister to Breeders' Cup and Eclipse juvenile champion She Be Wild (Offlee Wild). View Good Magic's full Fasig-Tipton July roster here.
Moynihan said he thinks Good Magic's precocious-looking yearlings will be in high demand with the buyers.
“If buyers are looking to get a fairly quick return on their investment, he was such an early horse and he appears to be getting precocious horses that can get to the races quickly,” Moynihan noted. “He was also a sound horses, winning major races at two and three, so I think that's something buyers will look forward to getting in his offspring.”
Click here for the full archive of our 2021 First-Crop Yearling Sires series.