Amid the deaths and scratches that surrounded this 12 months’s Kentucky Derby, the feel-good tales in regards to the winner, Mage, have been overshadowed. But there’s quite a bit to like in regards to the fast-developing colt as he heads into the 148th operating of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
He was solely the third horse to win the Derby with out racing as a 2-year-old and the fourth to win it with solely three earlier begins. Another horse that did each? Justify, the newest Triple Crown winner, in 2018.
Mage’s solely two losses have come in opposition to Forte, the morning-line favourite for the Derby who was scratched the day of the race. Now Mage is the lone Derby contender within the Preakness, and his greatest foe, First Mission, was scratched on Friday.
Still, there was drama when Mage had a mishap in his stall on Thursday and required stitches, one in every of his homeowners, Ramiro Restrepo, mentioned Saturday. He mentioned he was nonetheless set to race.
On THURSDAY, @MageHorse bumped his brow in his stall, inflicting a superficial reduce. He acquired care & therapy by the State Vet and resumed coaching as standard with no interruptions.
As per ALL Preakness starters, he was reviewed by the State Vets as we speak and is prepared to race.
— Ramiro A. Restrepo (@RamiroRestrepo) May 20, 2023
It was a sigh of reduction for Mage’s coach, Gustavo Delgado Sr., who received three Venezuelan Triple Crowns earlier than coming to the United States in 2014 to set his sights on successful America’s greatest races.
“I simply wished to get to the Kentucky Derby, and we did, however this horse, we knew he was very, superb,” mentioned Delgado Sr., who has saddled three horses within the Derby.
His son, Gustavo Delgado Jr., mentioned his father was impressed by the success of the Venezuelan connections who received the Derby and the Preakness with Canonero II in 1971.
“He grew up in a era the place all people was speaking about it, and he all the time felt like he may accomplish that,” mentioned Delgado Jr., who’s his father’s assistant. “I keep in mind after I was a child, as a result of when he was profitable down in Venezuela, he would all the time inform me, ‘One day, we should always go to the States and win a type of races.’”
Mage’s jockey, Javier Castellano, and his train rider, JJ Delgado (no relation), are additionally from Venezuela. Castellano’s father and JJ Delgado used to experience for Delgado Sr. there.
Castellano mentioned he was motivated heading into the Derby when he noticed the NBC broadcast’s point out of his 0-for-15 file within the race. He has loved extra success within the Preakness, successful in 2006 with Bernardini and in 2017 with Cloud Computing.
Another problem for the Delgados after they got here to the United States was discovering good horses and homeowners who believed in them. In Mage’s case, the Delgados teamed up with bloodstock agent Ramiro Restrepo, whose household emigrated from Colombia earlier than he was born, on the Fasig‑Tipton 2‑12 months‑outdated sale in Timonium, Md. They favored that the horse was a close to reproduction of his sire, Good Magic, who completed second within the Derby and fourth within the Preakness.
They favored him a lot that they went over their funds, spending $290,000. So they known as up just a few folks to assist share the prices, together with the true property investor Sam Herzberg and the entrepreneurs Brian Doxtator and Chase Chamberlin, whose Commonwealth app permits followers to purchase shares in racehorses for as little as $50.