(Good Magic and rider Jose Ortiz after the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Good Magic — the 2017 Champion and winner of the 2018 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland just about a month ago — got his last major test and drill for the biggest race of his young life this weekend when he worked over the hallowed dirt of Churchill Downs and under the shadow of the grand Twin Spires for the very first time.

Immediately after his last major workout for the 2018 Kentucky Derby — to be held this coming Saturday at Churchill Downs — trainer Chad Brown proclaimed that his star pupil is ready, set and able.

In other words:

The striking son of Curlin is looking the part. He is acting the part. And, now it is time for him to become part of racing history.

For us here at The Pressbox, Good Magic just seems to have all the good ingredients it takes to win a Kentucky Derby. After all, just consider:

One, Good Magic will be making his third start of the 2018 campaign. With some horses, the third race off a layoff is their best. And, against a field that some have already proclaimed to be one of the best and most talented in recent memory, Good Magic may need to call on all his talents to be good enough to best 19 others on Saturday in one of the world’s most thrilling, yet most draining racing events.

But, by appearances sake, it looks like he is ready to deliver on just that. After a lackluster third to the head strong and speedy Fulfilled Promises in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes to begin the year, the skeptics began to doubt Good Magic. He didn’t flash the same speed at the end of the race, as he had in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar in November. He didn’t put a dent in the run-away speed. He didn’t.

Yet, he came right back to flash a lot of dash and win a lot of cash in the Blue Grass Stakes, pulling away to win by whatever his rider needed or wanted him to win by. By any standard, it was a good race.

Now, he has come back since then to work twice. To work impressively, twice. And, he seems every bit as good as when he rolled into Southern California with something to prove. By some standards, he could be sitting on a great race.

Box checked.

Two, Good Magic will have the services of his regular rider, the talented and skilled Jose Ortiz. In today’s racing circles, there is little doubt that he now sits at the very top of his profession, as well as one of the most gifted horses in this year’s crop of runners.

Jose Ortiz has developed a great sense of pace, and timing — which will be critical for a stalker trying to stretch his game to the Derby distance of 11/4-miles for the first time. He has developed a calm, cool demeanor — which is necessary when it comes to riding before 150,000 race fans who are nearly as nuts as the 19 other Thoroughbreds in the race. He has developed a way of elevating his game on some of the industry’s biggest stages and best races — which is important when it comes to KY Derby history.

Jose Ortiz, teamed with the best jockey agent in the business in Jimmy Riccio, is ready to take his place alongside the game’s best and greatest.

Box checked.

Third, in the short time that Chad Brown has operated a public racing stable under his own direction and name, he has shot to the very top of the game. Unabashed, unafraid, and with a certain degree of New England arrogance that does sting a few the wrong way around these parts, Brown has made people take notice by making his horses some of the best in the land.

A year ago, he won the Preakness Stakes with Cloud Computing — taking down both the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and his own high-profile trainer Todd Pletcher, and whipping the veteran Mark Casse and his stud steed Classic Empire.

Now, if no one else believes he is ready to win his first Kentucky Derby, you can bet your last dime that Chad Brown does. Right now. Confidence? Arrogance? Or brilliance? Time will only tell.

Box checked.

Fourth, going into this Kentucky Derby, Good Magic has history on his side.

Unlike the grand Justify and Magnum Moon — who roll into Derby 2018 undefeated and untamed — Good Magic raced as a 2-year-old, and did so admirably. Please remember it has been 134 years since a horse has won the Kentucky Derby without having raced at least one time as a 2YO. Thus, the “Apollo Curse.”

Unlike the magnificent Mendelssohn — who rolls into Derby 2018 off an 181/2-length victory in the UAE Derby — Good Magic has been in Kentucky now for about 6 weeks. If he stays any longer, I’m sure that Governor Matt Bevin will find some way to put a tax on him. Please remember that no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby having made their last start in Dubai.

Unlike the talented Audible — who rolls into Derby 2018 off a commanding victory in the Florida Derby — Good Magic is a down-home, good-ole Kentucky boy. Sired right here in the Blue Grass. Bred right here at home. Please remember only one New York-bred horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby has won the Run for the Roses. That was Funny Cide.

Box checked.

On Saturday, Good Magic will get his chance to run his way into Kentucky history. We are not sure yet if he will check that box. Stay tuned. But there is one thing for sure. We will be supporting him. You can go ahead and check that box.

Here is a closer look at our final rankings going into Derby Week:

Rank Horse Sire Trainer Jockey Last Start Next Start Comment
1 Good Magic Curlin Chad Brown Junior Ortiz 1st in the Blue Grass Stakes / KEE Kentucky Derby Blue Grass winner looks better every day/Brown has this one ready
2 Justify Scat Daddy Bob Baffert Mike Smith 1st in Santa Anita Derby / SA Kentucky Derby Red-head is drop dead gorgeous, and acts like the real deal
3 Flameaway Scat Daddy Mark Casse Jose Lezcano 2nd in the Blue Grass / KEE Kentucky Derby I really like the way this one is training up to the KY Derby/Gutty & Gritty as they come/Contender?
4 Bolt d’Oro Medaglia d’Oro Mick Ruis Victor Espinoza 2nd in Santa Anita Derby / SA Kentucky Derby Very talented, but nagging concern about going 11/4-miles for the win
5 Noble Indy Take Charge Indy Todd Pletcher Florent Geroux 1st in the Louisiana Derby / FG Kentucky Derby I think this one is Pletcher’s best chance/Liked the move at CD this week on the outside
6 My Boy Jack Creative Cause J. Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux 1st in the Lexington Stakes Kentucky Derby This one’s coat looks even better after the Lexington/It’d be great to see KEE winners go 1-2
7 Audible Into Mischief Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano 1st in Florida Derby Kentucky Derby FLA Derby winner will face his toughest test yet/I can’t go with the NY-bred/Just can’t
8 Magnum Moon Malibu Moon Todd Pletcher Luis Saez 1st in Arkansas Derby Kentucky Derby Looked to be drifting late in his work this week at CD after doing the same in ARK Derby/Concern?
9 Mendelssohn Scat Daddy Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore 1st in UAE Derby / Dubai Kentucky Derby Impressive winner of UAE Derby by 181/2 lengths/Speed-favoring track that day/Dubai? Really?
10 Enticed Medaglia d’Oro Kiaran McLaughlin Junior Alvarado 2nd in Wood Memorial Kentucky Derby Should have won the Wood/Troubled that he didn’t, even with the trouble
11 Vino Rosso Curlin Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 1st in Wood Memorial Kentucky Derby Had everything his way in the Wood/Will not be so lucky in the Derby
12 Hofburg Tapit Bill Mott Irad Ortiz 2nd in Florida Derby Kentucky Derby He is the “NOW” horse on the CD backside/Seen too many of these run 10th or worse in years past
13 Lone Sailor Majestic Warrior Tom Amoss James Graham 2nd in Louisiana Derby / FG Kentucky Derby Did he leave his best on the training track? / Rider didn’t win a race the entire KEE meet
14 Free Drop Billy Union Rags Dale Romans Robby Albarado 3rd in the Blue Grass / KEE Kentucky Derby I have tried my best to “love” this horse to great things since the Breeders’ Futurity/I’m tired
15 Combatant Scat Daddy Steve Asmussen Ricardo Santana, Jr 4th in the Arkansas Derby / OP Kentucky Derby Contender to run 3rd or 4th in this year’s Derby at some huge odds/I use
16 Instilled Regard Arch Jerry Hollendorfer Drayden Van Dyke 4th in the Santa Anita Derby / SA Kentucky Derby I could think of a whole lot of races this one should run in next/This isn’t one of them
17 Solomini Curlin Bob Baffert Flavien Prat 3rd in the Arkansas Derby Kentucky Derby I didn’t care for this work on Sunday at SA/I think Once On Whiskey got the best of him
18 Bravazo Awesome Again D. Wayne Lukas Luis Contreras 8th in the Louisiana Derby / FG Kentucky Derby Don’t know what to expect after that LA Derby effort/But I think he will run better than that
19 Promises Fulfilled Shackleford Dale Romans Corey Lanerie Last in Florida Derby / GP Kentucky Derby No. Just no.
20 Firenze Fire Poseidon’s Warrior Jason Servis Manny Franco 4th in the Wood Memorial / AQU Kentucky Derby Nice NY horse. Not a Derby horse.