Ever since Lael Stables' Magic Attitude arrived at trainer Arnaud Delacour's Maryland barn in late July, it hasn't been the smoothest of transitions for the 3-year-old filly.
After shipping in from France, she developed a fever.
Then Delacour went to work on getting the daughter of Galileo to relax, continuing the job started by her European trainer, Fabrice Chappet.
"Two starts ago (in the Saxon Warrior Coolmore Prix Saint Alary, G1), they were very surprised she was a little bit revved and she never settled. They couldn't cover her up and she was pretty aggressive," Delacour said.
"Ever since then, they have been trying to get her to relax, so we've worked with her in the morning, putting her behind horses to come with a nice run."
For a while, Magic Attitude seemed a little too relaxed in her U.S. debut, as she lingered in last in the small field of five for much of the $242,500 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T). But turning for home, she showed how she had learned her lessons well.
Displaying the strong turn of foot that made her competitive against top-class European fillies in group 1 stakes, Magic Attitude unleashed a strong stretch run under jockey Javier Castellano to catch Godolphin's pace-setting Antoinette before the eighth pole and pull away Sept. 19 to a 2 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
"She duplicated (what she had been doing in the morning) in the afternoon," Delacour said. "(This) is what she showed in France, a great turn of foot, not especially a long turn of foot. Javier did a great job and he felt confident about knowing the filly and knowing how to ride her. I'm glad it worked out."
Turning for home, the Bill Mott-trained Antoinette seemed poised to offer a carbon copy of her frontrunning win in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes as she led by 1 1/2 lengths at the quarter pole. But once the field straightened away, it was no contest as Magic Attitude rushed past while crossing the wire in 2:01.14 on firm turf.
"We had the spot we wanted. (Jockey John Velazquez) said she kicked for us. She ran," Mott said. "The other one just rolled on by."
Sent to the U.S. after finishing fifth in the July 5 Prix de Diane Longines (G1) and second in the Prix Saint Alary, Magic Attitude won for the third time in seven starts. Owned by Gretchen and Roy Jackson of Barbaro fame, Magic Attitude increased her earnings to $245,437 with her opening-weekend victory at Belmont Park.
A daughter of the Exceed And Excel mare Margot Did, she is a full sister to group 2 winner Mission Impassible, the dam's only other foal to race. Margot Did has also produced a 2-year-old colt by Frankel named Pietrasanta and a Heart's Cry yearling colt.
Though two Keeneland races, the Nov. 7 Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1T) and the Oct. 10 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana (G1T) for 3-year-olds, are on the horizon, Delacour said he was uncertain of what's next for a filly who became his second grade 1 winner and first since A.P. Indian in 2016.
"We'll see," he said about the Breeders' Cup. "One race at a time. The Queen Elizabeth is in 21 days and might be coming back too quick. We'll let her tell us."
Antoinette, a homebred daughter of Hard Spun , was 2 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Neige Blanche, an Anodin filly owned by Madaket Stables, Marsha Naify, and Laura De Seroux and trained by Leonard Powell.
While the Belmont Oaks became the opening leg of the New York Racing Association's Turf Tiara series for 3-year-old fillies when it was launched last year, it will most likely be the second and final leg in 2020 due to a stakes scheduled affected by COVID-19. According to NYRA senior vice president of racing operations Martin Panza, NYRA is unlikely to offer the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes—or the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes for males—this year.