Champion Magician Declared Out; Free as a Bird Withdrawn

December 10, 2019

Arcadia, Calif. – Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 4yo Magician, last year’s winner of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, will not be able to defend his crown in the 1 1/2m test as he has been declared out of Saturday’s renewal because of lameness.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien said Wednesday morning, “When he came out for a trot this morning he was found to be acutely lame on his off-fore. It was an instant decision to take him out of the race.”

The Breeders’ Cup Turf was slated to be Magician’s final career start and the plan was to retire him to Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

The other defection reported Wednesday morning was for Elizabeth Valando’s 5yo mare Free as a Bird as handlers attempted load her onto a Tex Sutton charter Wednesday morning.

Trainer Ian Wilkes said, “She didn’t like the sound of the engines and had to be backed off the plane. She is scratched. As long as she is OK, we’re fine.”

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