G3 Winner Magic Michael Returns Friday at Pimlico

September 14, 2023

Magic Michael wins the 2021 renewal of the Greenwood Cup (G3) at Parx (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

BALTIMORE— Morris Kernan Jr., Yo Berbs and Jagger Inc.’s Grade 3 winner Magic Michael, unraced since finishing second by a length in defense of his 2021 Greenwood Cup (G3) title last fall, is entered to make his season debut when live racing returns Friday to historic Pimlico Race Course.

Post time for the first of nine races is 12:25 p.m.

Trained and co-owned by Jamie Ness, 6-year-old Magic Michael went winless with two seconds and two thirds in five starts last year, earning the show in Laurel Park’s Deputed Testamony as well as the Battery Park at Delaware over the summer. The Dramedy gelding went 7-for-12 in 2021, running second in the Battery Park and Deputed Testamony ahead of his breakthrough neck triumph in the Greenwood Cup.

Magic Michael has been working steadily at Delaware Park and drew outermost Post 7 for return in the third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles. He is half of a Kernan-Jagger/Ness entry along with Uncle Irish, also coming off a layoff not having run since a 3 ¾-length optional claiming allowance triumph in the Laurel slop last October.

Favored at 2-1 on the morning line is Kathleen Willier’s All Threes, second in each of his last three races at Laurel Park, beaten a total of 2 ½ lengths. The 5-year-old Hamilton Smith trainee has been third or better in seven of his eight starts this year, two of them wins.

Race 7 is an open entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs including the Bruno Tessore-trained entry of 5-year-old Tenebris, third or better in nine of 13 starts but winless in six tries this year, and 8-year-old Aequor, a 10-time winner making his 61st career start.

The even-money program favorite is 4-year-old Street Sense colt Murray, a $300,000 yearling owned by many similar connections as the partnership in National Treasure, winner of the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20. Murray will be racing first time for Maryland’s leading trainer, Brittany Russell, after winning one of six starts in Southern California and most recently running sixth in a one-mile optional claimer June 18 at Santa Anita.

Juveniles will be in the spotlight in Race 4, a six-furlong maiden special weight sprint that attracted a field of nine led by Regalo, a $280,000 2-year-old in training purchase in May making his debut for Russell; first-time starters Inveigled, trained by Jane Cibelli, and Union Rags colt Amen McLaren, from the barn of Michael Matz; and Classic Joke, respectively fourth and third in a pair of maiden special weights, one each on turf and dirt.

Jockey Jeiron Barbosa launched opening weekend of Pimlico’s boutique nine-day fall meet with three consecutive multi-win days including a hat trick Sept. 9 and an upset victory aboard Double Crown in the $100,000 Polynesian Sept. 10. Apprentices Axel Concepcion (Sept. 8-9) and Martina Rojas (Sept. 9) also posted riding doubles.

Live racing continues Saturday at Pimlico with six stakes worth $650,000 in purses headlined by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) for 3-year-olds and up going one mile.

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