Mage gives Castellano his first KY Derby!

Derby recap by Churchill Downs’ publicity department (Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation photo above)

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 6, 2023) – OGMA InvestmentsRamiro RestrepoSterling Racing and CMNWLTH’s Mage collared Two Phil’s at midstretch and went on to win the 149th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) for 3-year-olds before a crowd of 150,335.

Trained by Gustavo Delgado and ridden by Javier Castellano, Mage covered the mile and a quarter in 2:01.57 and gave Castellano his first Kentucky Derby victory from 16 mounts. It is the first Derby win for Delgado from three starters.

Mage is the fourth horse to win the Derby off only three lifetime starts. The others wereJustify in 2018, Big Brown in 2008 and Regret in 1915.

The trio of VerifyingKingsbarns and Reincarnate tore through opening fractions of :22.35, :45.73 and 1:10.11 with Two Phil’s and Jareth Loveberry getting a dream run two off the rail just behind the leaders.

Turning into the backstretch, Mage had three horses beat. But in the run down the backside, Castellano began to maneuver Mage through traffic and on the far turn sliced through traffic to launch his bid.

At the top of the stretch, Two Phil’s swept to the lead but Castellano had Mage in high gear and swung into the lane eight wide with dead aim on the leader. Two Phil’s maintained his advantage to the eighth pole when Mage drove past and on to victory.

The victory was worth $1,860,000 and increased Mage’s earnings to $2,107,200 with a record of 4-2-1-0.

Mage is a Kentucky-bred son of Good Magic out of the Big Brown mare Puca.

Mage won on debut at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs on Jan. 28 and immediately was put in stakes company with a fourth-place finish behind Forte in the Fountain of Youth (GII) and then a runner-up finish to Forte in the Florida Derby (GI).

Mage returned $32.42, $14.58 and $9.08. Two Phil’s returned $10.44 and $6.52 and finished a half-length in front of favored Angel of Empire, who paid $4.70 to show under Flavien Prat.

It was another 3 lengths back to Disarm, who was followed in order by Hit ShowDerma Sotogake (JPN), Tapit TriceRaise CainRocket CanConfidence GameSun Thunder,Mandarin Hero (JPN), ReincarnateKingsbarnsKing RussellVerifyingJace’s Road and Cyclone Mischief.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.