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Go for Wand

Romero and Go for Wand, Alabama at Toga.jpg

Go for Wand, Randy Romero up (Tom Killips photo)
Go for Wand
Induction Year: 
1996
Foaled: 
1987
Breeder: 
Christiana Stables
Owner: 
Christiana Stable
Trainer: 
William Badgett, Jr.
Sire: 
Deputy Minister
Dam: 
Obeah
Damsire: 
Cyane
Career Years: 
1989-1990
Starts: 
13
First: 
10
Second: 
2
Third: 
0
Earnings: 
$1,373,838.00

Tab Wrapper

Bio

Known to give her racehorses unusual names, Jane du Pont Lunger of Christiana Stable came with Go for Wand from the obscure phrase, “going for a wand to protect yourself from an obeah or ‘voodoo’ curse.”

 

A daughter of Deputy Minister out of the out of the Cyane mare Obeah, Go for Wand was bred in Pennsylvania and raised at historic Claiborne Farm in Kentucky for owner du Pont Lunger. Go for Wand’s sire won Eclipse and Sovereign awards, while her dam was a two-time winner of the Delaware Handicap.

 

Go for Wand was sent to trainer Billy Badgett, a former assistant to Hall of Famer Woody Stephens. Badgett received the job based on a recommendation to du Pont Lunger from Claiborne’s Seth Hancock. It didn’t take the trainer long to recognize he had something special.

 

“You could see the other horses really working to do what they had to do, but Go for Wand did everything in hand all the time,” Badgett said in a 1990 interview in The Blood-Horse.

 

Go for Wand made her debut Sept. 14, 1989 at Belmont, breaking her maiden by four lengths in a six-furlong event. She returned to Belmont less than three weeks later and turned in a devastating performance with an 18¼-length victory in a one-mile allowance. After suffering the only defeat of her juvenile season in the Frizette, Go for Wand won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by 2¾ lengths at Gulfstream en route to being named Champion 2-Year-Old Filly.

 

She was only getting started.

 

Go for Wand kicked off her sophomore campaign with a victory in the Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland in April 1990 and followed with a five-length win 11 days later in the Ashland. After finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks, Go for Wand won the Mother Goose at Belmont in June, but she missed the Coaching Club American Oaks in July because of a minor illness.

 

Following a seven-week layoff, Go for Wand was aimed at Saratoga. She quickly silenced any questions about her fitness level in the seven-furlong Test. After breaking slowly, Go for Wand fired along the rail in a duel with the speedy Forest Fealty, churning out fractions of 22.25 and 44.62. After six furlongs in 1:08.38, Go for Wand still had plenty in reserve and ripped through a final furlong in 12.71 to defeat Screen Prospect by two lengths in 1:21.09, equaling the stakes record in the process.

 

Nine days later in the Alabama, Go for Wand was again in top form. As she did in the Ashland and Mother Goose, Go for Wand proved her superiority over the excellent filly Charon, who won the Coaching Club American Oaks by nine lengths in Go for Wand’s absence. The only other Alabama entry was Monmouth Oaks winner Pampered Star, who never factored.

 

At the time of the Alabama, no filly other than Go for Wand had beaten Charon, but the gap between the two was enormous. Future Hall of Fame jockey Randy Romero, Go for Wand’s rider her entire career, crouched still as a statue for more than a mile before the champion began to distance herself from Charon at the three-sixteenths pole.

 

Go for Wand won by seven lengths and broke Love Sign’s decade-old stakes record in the process. Her final time of 2:00.80 remains the fastest in Alabama history for the 1¼-mile distance.

 

“I never went to the whip, never asked her for anything in the Alabama. She was so special and so talented,” Romero said. “She broke the record, but she could have exploded the record if asked. It was unbelievable how easy she went. She was so big and strong, but what set her apart was that she had a great mind and she was so smooth.”

 

Following her magical Saratoga performances, Go for Wand returned to Belmont and defeated older mares in the Maskette and Beldame. Twenty days after the Beldame, Go for Wand’s life came to a tragic end in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Belmont. Owning a slight lead over older champion Bayakoa entering the stretch, Go for Wand went down at the sixteenth pole. She suffered a compound injury to her right front ankle and had to be euthanized.

 

“I think about her all the time,” Romero said. “She was one of the greatest ever and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to ride her. As amazing as she was and even with all her accomplishments I never found out how good she could be because I never had to push her. She did everything so easily and she was just on a different level.”

 

Two days after the Distaff, Go for Wand was buried in the infield at Saratoga Race Couse. She was later honored with the Eclipse Award for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly. Go for Wand won seven Grade 1 races in total and compiled an overall record of 10-2-0 from 13 starts with earnings of $1,373,338. The Maskette was renamed the Go for Wand Handicap in 1992 and is now contested annually by the New York Racing Association.

 

“She loved to run and she loved the whole experience of being on the track and everything that surrounded it,” Romero said. “I’ll never stop being grateful for all she gave me ... I miss her tremendously.”

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