Photo: Chelsea Durand / NYRA
JW Singer’s magic circle earned her breakthrough win in her fourth attempt at the stakes level with an impressive, gate-to-wire performance in Sunday’s $100,000 Busanda Bets for 3 year old fillies going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
The chestnut daughter of Kantharos was a close third in the Demoiselle (G2) in the Big A in December, showing the same forward-seeded tactics before luging deep into it. Magic Circle never gave up this time, maintaining its lead by winning by 2 3/4 lengths.
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By capturing the Busanda, Magic Circle earned 10 qualifying points for the May 6 run of the Kentucky Oaks, bringing her tally to 13 points. She took two points when she was third in the Demoiselle and one point when she was fourth in the Frizette (G1) in October at Belmont Park.
Under the wheel of Jose Ortiz, now a three-time Busanda winner, Magic Circle was pushed a few paces out of the gate from its inpost and led the field through an easy-to-open quarter mile in 24.38 seconds over the high-speed main track. Rosebug kept her out of close company in second with two-time winner Waters of Merom still half a length back in third.
Click here for the registrations and results of Aquaduct.
Positions remained unchanged over half a mile at 48.28 seconds, but the pace picked up around the far corner as Morning Matcha launched her usual late move.
Ortiz kept Magic Circle working as it approached the quarter post and into the top stretch as Morning Matcha continued to sweep up ground. But Magic Circle couldn’t be caught and went under the wire in a final time of 1:51.29.
“She broke very sharply and put me there on my own,” said Ortiz, who also sent Fierce Boots (2014) and Flora Dora (2016) to Busanda scores. “She drove very well in the first quarter. She pulled me a little too much. I was a little nervous and I just wanted to put my hands down and relax, and finally she managed to get through the seven furlongs. When she entered the rear, she was completely relaxed and was going at a decent cruising speed. She hasn’t walked the dog but the track is fast and inside is good so I wasn’t afraid to let her go.”
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez tasked Ortiz to drive Magic Circle, which has been ridden by Manny Franco in all four of her previous endeavors.
“When she finished second in Belmont, I was hoping Manny wouldn’t use the crop the way he did because she doesn’t like it that much,” said Rodriguez. ‘I said to him, ‘Don’t try to surprise her, because she’s popping in and out.’ Jose is one of the best drivers in the country and we are happy to have him in the race. Nothing against Manny; I told the owner that if we couldn’t get Jose we would try to get Manny.
The remaining local qualifiers for the Kentucky Oaks are the 1-mile, $250,000 (50-20-10-5) Busher Invitational on March 5 and the $250,000 Gazelle from $250,000 on March 5 on April 9.
“I’m going to talk to the owner about that and decide what we’re going to do,” said Rodriguez. “I don’t know. You never know. Right now she’s learning, so we’ll just have to hope for the best.”
Magic Circle returned $4.10 on a $2 win bet, bringing her lifetime earnings to $194,000 and taking her record to 5:2-1-1.
Morning Matcha maintained her perfect in-the-money record and made a third career bet when she finished second. She finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of third place Reigning Chick.
Trainer Butch Reid didn’t rule out adding blinkers for Morning Matcha’s next start.
“We’ll try it with her in the morning and see if it sparks her interest a bit early on and go from there,” Reid said. He added that Morning Matcha will likely target the Gazelle.
“It’s certainly possible because it’s not easy to find races long enough for this filly and the Gazelle is a mile and an eighth,” said Reid.
The field was completed by Rosebug, Waters of Merom and Gamestonks.
Magic Circle, bred in Kentucky by Manitou Farm, is out of the Distorted Humor mare Magic Humor. She was purchased for $110,000 from the 2021 OBS April Sale where she was turned in by Costanza Stables.