By Lynne Snierson
Coolmore’s brilliant international star mare will depart from the far outside post as the slight 7-2 favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), with regular rider Ryan Moore in the irons.
Magic Wand may be the only female in the 12-horse field, but O’Brien isn’t shy about running the girls against the boys. In the 2019 World Cup Turf, Magic Wand took on the boys for the first time and wound up second to Bricks and Mortar, who went on to a 6-0 campaign and surely be chosen Horse of the Year. In fact, Magic Wand also ran second to Bricks and Mortar in the Arlington Million (G1) in August, beaten just three-quarters of a length.
Though she has won just three times in her 22-race career, throughout the years the Ireland-bred mare has competed all over the globe against the world’s best and been second a total of eight times. In 2019 alone she racked up a plethora of frequent flyer miles, making 12 starts in six different countries.
“She’s just unbelievable,” O’Brien said following her narrow defeat to Japanese star Win Bright in the Hong Kong Cup (G1), where she competed without Lasix, at 1 ¼ miles last month. “She’s done plenty of traveling and has been very consistent.”
In the Hong Kong Cup, Magic Wand was always close while saving ground but was stopped behind rivals mid-stretch, lost momentum, then missed by only a short head when Moore finally found space between rivals. She was gaining ground quickly inside the leader through the final strides.
“She ran super,” said Moore. “She’s very game.”
Two starts back Magic Wand took the Seppelt MacKinnon Stakes (G1) in Melbourne, Australia, only four days after competing in the Melbourne Cup (G1) on the same Flemington Racecourse lawn. In all, Magic Wand ran three times in two weeks Down Under, also running fourth in the Cox Plate (G1).
Post position: No. 12
Jockey: Ryan Moore
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Owners: Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier
Career record: 22 3-8-2
Career earnings: $4,146,829
Pedigree: Galileo-Prudenzia, by Dansili
Running style: Versatile.
“Globetrotting Irish mare is classiest horse in field.” – Ed McNamara
“World traveler commands respect but wins have been too few and too far between (1-for-her-last 17, all G1s) … unlikely to be big enough price because of connections.” – Noel Michaels
Notes: Royally bred, she is the daughter of Coolmore’s horse of a lifetime Galileo out of a Dansili mare and was a $1,562,820 yearling purchase at the Arquana Deauville August sale, and even at that price is proven to be a bargain … Galileo, a European champion during his racing career, has been the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland 11 years, including 2019 … With her November score in Australia, Magic Wand became Galileo’s 84th Group/Grade 1 winner, tying him with Danehill for the most in history … O’Brien is the private trainer for the world’s leading racing and breeding operation, Coolmore, and is based at their Ballydoyle headquarters in Ireland … O’Brien indicated that following the Pegasus Turf the mare may take the same road to Dubai as last year to compete in either the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) or the Dubai Turf (G1) on March 28. She was fifth in the Sheema Classic in 2019.
|1||Zulu Alpha||Tyler Gaffalione||Michael Maker||12-1|
|2||Arklow||Luis Saez||Brad Cox||6-1|
|3||Without Parole||Frankie Dettori||Chad Brown||4-1|
|4||Sadler’s Joy||Javier Castellano||Tom Albertrani||8-1|
|5||Channel Cat||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||10-1|
|6||Instilled Regard||N/A||Chad Brown||10-1|
|7||Admission Office||Jose L. Ortiz||Brian Lynch||30-1|
|8||Henley’s Joy||Julien Leparoux||Michael Maker||30-1|
|9||Next Shares||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||Richard Baltas||30-1|
|10||Mo Forza||Joel Rosario||Pete Miller||5-1|
|11||Sacred Life||N/A||Chad Brown||12-1|
|12||Magic Wand||Ryan Moore||Aidan O’Brien||7-2|
Lynne Snierson, a former director of communications at Arlington Park and Rockingham Park, currently is a freelance writer and racing publicist. She covered thoroughbred racing as an award-winning sportswriter for newspapers In Boston, Miami, and St. Louis. She lives in New Hampshire. Secretariat remains her all-time favorite horse.