Good Magic is the favorite for the Haskell Invitational

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OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) Good Magic, the Kentucky Derby runner-up who was fourth in the Preakness, has been made the favorite for the $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

A field of seven was entered Thursday for the 1 1/8-mile race Sunday.

Good Magic, who drew the No. 6 post position with jockey Jose Ortiz, was made the 6-5 favorite.

Good Magic pushed Triple Crown winner Justify for the lead in the Preakness before fading to fourth, a length behind the winner. The colt has not raced since the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Preakness runner-up Bravazo was made the 3-1 second choice after drawing the No. 5 post. Luis Saez is listed to ride for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The Calumet Farm’s homebred is the only horse other than Justify to race in all three legs of the Triple Crown, finishing sixth in both the Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Two other colts renewing a rivalry are Lone Sailor and Core Beliefs. Core Beliefs edged Lone Sailor by a nose in the Ohio Derby.

The Haskell field from the rail out with jockeys and odds is: Lone Sailor, Joe Bravo, 5-1; Navy Commander, Angel Arroyo, 12-1; Roaming Union, Albin Jimenez, 10-1; Core Beliefs, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Bravazo, Saez, 3-1; Good Magic, Ortiz, 6-5 and Golden Brown, Jairo Rendon, 15-1.

“There will be a good pace in this race,” said Chad Brown, who trains Good Magic. “I don’t want to be on the lead and on the rail and this horse won’t be. Hopefully, he breaks cleanly and gets into a good forward position and then goes on from there.”

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.

Kentucky Derby modifies qualifying, elevates prep races

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs has modified paths to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, awarding points to the top five finishers in qualifying races and increasing significance for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and late prep season events.

Most Derby prep races during the qualifying series for 3-year-olds will award points on a 10-4-3-2-1 sliding scale after using a 10-4-2-1 system since 2013. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, run during the season-ending championships on Nov. 4 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, will increase points from 20-8-4-2 to 30-12-9-6-3 to differentiate the Grade I event from others during prep season.

Select prep races for the 20-horse Derby field have elevated points from a 10-4-2-1 scale to 20-8-6-4-2 to increase their importance and motivate hopefuls to begin their 3-year-old campaigns earlier in the season, track officials stated in a release.

“We believe these modifications adhere to and amplify our goal of assembling the finest group of 3-year-olds in the starting gate for a race at the classic distance of 1\ miles on the first Saturday in May,” Churchill Downs vice president/general manager Mike Ziegler said.

The 149th Kentucky Derby and Oaks for fillies will be held on May 5-6, 2023. Derby qualifying season begins with Saturday’s $300,000, Grade III Iroquois for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

The point changes apply to Oaks qualifiers.

Elevated Derby preps include the Lecomte at Fair Grounds in Louisiana; Southwest at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas; Withers at Aqueduct in New York; Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in Florida; Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita in California; Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs; and John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in Kentucky.