A Breeders’ Cup change in venue from Del Mar in 2021 to Keeneland this year did nothing to change the initial winning results for the team of jockey William Buick, trainer Charlie Appleby, and owner/breeder Godolphin.
After winning three Breeders’ Cup races last fall in California, that group struck early at this year’s event, taking the initial Breeder’s Cup race on Future Stars Friday when Mischief Magic rallied from last to capture the $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1T) by a length.
The victory by the Exceed And Excel colt was the first by a European-trained horse in the race, which was upgraded to top-tier graded status this year after being a grade 2 the past three years. It was run initially in 2018 as a listed race.
Europeans took home four of the top five positions in Friday’s race—with Dramatized second, Persian Force fourth, and Lady Hollywood fifth. Only American Private Creed stayed with them late, finishing third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
None ran better than Mischief Magic, who, after a tardy start, rallied up the inside on the turn, angled out for room, and after finding an opening, passed four horses in the final furlong to score a decisive victory.
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“I had to switch out to get my run, but he was always full of running, and it was really a matter of getting the split and to finish off,” said Buick. “It was a great performance, and I think coming up to term today really set him alive. It really woke him up. When he switched leads, he just flew.”
Charlie Appleby (right) with Mischief Magic and William Buick en route to the winner’s circle
Fast splits of :21.65 and :45.11 in the 5 1/2-furlong grass race set up the eventual top finishers, and left those who raced near the pace out of energy late. He was timed in a stakes-record 1:02.41 on a firm course that has produced quick times this fall. He paid $15.84 for a $2 win wager.
Early pacesetter Tyler’s Tribe was eased to run last of 12 and was vanned off after bleeding from the lungs, and French group 1 winner The Platinum Queen who gave chase early, ran 11th.
Hall: Tyler’s Tribe Bleeds, Vanned Off
Favored Love Reigns , who was bidding to give trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. a fourth consecutive win in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, ran eighth after not being able to keep pace in the early going.
“She’s better than that. She grabbed herself a little bit,” Ortiz said in a reference to when a horse overreaches and cuts a front foot.
After the success of Modern Games , Space Blues and Yibir last year, this result was more of the same—coming with a Godolphin homebred skillfully ridden by Buick and trained for peak effort by Appleby.
Hugh Anderson, chief operating officer at Godolphin, praised those human connections when seated alongside them in the post-race press conference.
“I’ve got the champion jockey on my right-hand side and the champion trainer on my left-hand side. And Godolphin is so fortunate to have people of this caliber,” he said.
Michael Banahan, director of bloodstock for Godolphin, also praised the British trainer, and his ability to identify prospects well suited to America.
“He just does such a great (job) of pinpointing the horses that he wants to bring over—the right horses for the right races. (He) has it down to an art at the moment. It goes right through to the Breeders’ Cup—it’s unbelievable. His stats are through the roof.”
Mischief Magic’s connections enjoy the trophy presentation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Those statistics now reflect seven wins from 13 runners, a record that includes a near-miss second from Godolphin’s Silver Knott in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) later on the Future Stars Friday card. Appleby has a handful of starters Nov. 5 on the second day of the Breeders’ Cup.
Godolphin is headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
“I’m sure back in Dubai this has been watched with enormous satisfaction and enormous pride by our principal,” Anderson said.
Bred in Ireland, Mischief Magic is the second stakes winner produced by the unraced Elusive Quality mare Veil of Silence. Seven of her 11 foals have raced, with six scoring victories. She has one foal not yet of racing age, a yearling full sister to Mischief Magic.
Mischief Magic improved to 4-for-6 with Friday’s victory. He won the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Sirenia Stakes (G3) and ran fourth in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (G1) in black-type company leading into Friday’s race. Those races were also sprints.
“Obviously, he’ll have the winter off now,” Appleby said. “He’s got the scope to develop from (age) 2 to 3 well. And therefore he’s put himself probably in the picture as a Commonwealth (G1) horse (for) Royal Ascot, and we’ll work back from that.”
Mischief Magic soars beneath the line