MAGICALMEISTER STUNS BATTAGLIA MEMORIAL FIELD AT 39-1
February 23, 2018 (FLORENCE, Ky.) – Magicalmeister bided his time early and powered home late at Turfway Park Friday to upset the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (listed) at odds of 39-1. Sky Promise was a hard-charging runner-up, beaten a diminishing half-length after closing from last in the field of 11. Arawak, the 2-1 favorite, was third, 2 1/4 lengths further back.
Final time for 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds was 1:44.12.
“I had really good position,” said winning jockey John McKee. “He broke alert and then he turned off going into the first turn. Going down the backside he was just kind of cruising, under control. Then in the middle of the turn he started to pick it up and I called on him and, man, all credit to the trainer—he had this horse ready to run.”
Giant Honor was out first and quickened the pace from :24.10 for the first quarter to :47.44 for the half, but he relinquished his lead to Truth Be Tolled approaching the three-quarter mark. The new leader carried his advantage to just before the eighth pole, when Magicalmeister blew past him.
Truth Be Tolled faded to fourth, followed by Hallie’s Hero, Roaming Union, Family Kitten, Driven by History, Arched Feather, Here’s Carlos and Giant Honor. King Valero was scratched by his trainer.
The second-longest shot on the board, Magicalmeister returned $80, $30.60 and $13.80.
The Battaglia Memorial is Magicalmeister’s first stakes win. He broke his maiden on debut and now has two wins and a third in three career starts. His share of the $75,000 Battaglia purse boosted his earnings to $59,010 for owners Christopher Meyer, Stanley Uragami and James Chapman. The bay colt is also trained by Chapman. By Bodemeister out of the Vindication mare Invitation, Magicalmeister was bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich III.
The Battaglia Memorial is the local prep for the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Turfway’s Kentucky Derby points race that runs March 17.
Mike Battaglia, retired track announcer and son of the former Turfway general manager for whom the race is named, returned to the booth to announce what he calls “Dad’s race.” It was the late John Battaglia who launched the race that is now the Jeff Ruby Steaks.