Mage’s Brother Dornoch Determined Winner of Remsen

Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage is retired from racing and will begin stallion duty next year at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky, but his 2-year-old full brother, Dornoch , is producing racing headlines.

On Dec. 2 at Aqueduct Racetrack, the juvenile son of Good Magic out of the Big Brown mare Puca  gamely won the $250,000 Remsen Stakes (G2), battling back to defeat Sierra Leone  by a nose after being passed in midstretch. The victory earned him 10 qualifying points with the 1 1/8-mile Remsen part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

Dornoch, b, 2/c
Good Magic — Puca, by Big Brown

Owner: West Paces Racing LLC, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, LLC, Two Eight Racing, LLC and Pine Racing Stables
Breeder: Grandview Equine (KY)
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Jockey: Luis Saez
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.

Pedigree Notes
Good Magic stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms for $125,000 (2024).

Sale History
KEESEP2022 • $325,000 • Consignor: Runnymede Farm • Buyer: Oracle Bloodstock, agent.

Dornoch wins the 2023 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Angelo Lieto

Dornoch fights back along the rail to win the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

He showed grit after looking beaten with an eighth of a mile remaining when surging Sierra Leone poked his head in front from rallying from last in the field of 10. But Dornoch, who had set a pressured pace with fractions of :23.09, :46.97, 1:11.56, still had something left under Luis Saez.

“As soon as the other one came to him, he saw him, and he wanted to beat him,” Saez said. “I can’t describe this. He wants to win the race.”


Dornoch wins the 2023 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Sierra Leone (outside) passed Dornoch before the winner re-rallied on the rail in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct

Favored Dornoch ($5.40), who skimmed the rail down the stretch while racing greenly, completed the distance in 1:50.30 over a muddy, sealed track. His time was .80 of a second faster than Life Talk ‘s clocking in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) for 2-year-old fillies.

Dornoch wins the 2023 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Dornoch after winning the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

Drum Roll Please  closed to grab third, 4 3/4 lengths behind the top two. Moonlight  was fourth, and Where’s Chris  fifth.

The second-through-fifth runners earned Kentucky Derby Ponts on a 5-3-2-1 scale toward the May 4 classic at Churchill Downs.

The victory was the second in a row for Dornoch, who won a maiden race Oct. 14 at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles. He had been second in a pair of earlier starts.

He earned $137,500 Saturday to boost his earnings to $257,400. Danny Gargan trains the Grandview Equine-bred colt, a $325,000 yearling purchase, for owners West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables. 

Dornoch wins the 2023 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Connections of Dornoch in the Aqueduct winner’s circle


  • Gargan won the Remsen for the second straight year after striking in 2022 with Dubyuhnell , another son of Good Magic. Saez also won his second Remsen; Shotski  was his first winner in 2019 for trainer Jerry O’Dwyer.
  • Six Remsen participants have gone on to triumph in the Derby—all winners of the Remsen—though none since Thunder Gulch took the 1994 Remsen and 1995 Kentucky Derby. 

After getting a short break, Dornoch will train at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida this winter.

“We will tack walk him for a couple weeks, two to three weeks, play around with him, let him grow into that frame, and start looking for races later, probably sometime in March,” Gargan said. “Two races, maybe three before the Derby.” Though he came up on the losing end of a photo, Sierre Leone, a son of Gun Runner  and a $2.3 million yearling purchase, performed well in defeat. Saturday was the Chad Brown trainee’s second start after a rallying first-out score over a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Nov. 4.

Dornoch and Sierre Leone went off at respective odds of 19-1 and 36-1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager that closed late last month.

In an earnings battle with Justify for the leading second-crop sire in North America this year, Good Magic stands for a $125,000 fee at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in 2024. In addition to Mage, Dubyuhnell and Dornoch, other top horses sired by Good Magic include grade 1 winners Muth  and Blazing Sevens .