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Mage Rallies for Victory in 149th Kentucky Derby

Javier Castellano Earns First Victory in Run for the Roses

Mage didn’t break well in the 149th Kentucky Derby on Saturday. In an 18-horse field, that usually spells problems. Not in this Run for the Roses as jockey Javier Castellano masterfully guided the lightly raced colt to victory.

Two Phil’s, who made a bold move along the rail to the lead in the final turn, was run down by Mage in the deep stretch. The margin was a length.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 06: Mage #8, ridden by jockey Javier Castellano crosses the finish line to win the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 06, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. Sam Mallon/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sam Mallon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Angel of Empire, who eventually became the favorite when Forte was scratched due to a bruised right front foot, finished third.

Time for the 1 1/4 miles was 2:01.57

Mage returned $32.42 to win. Kentucky pays to the penny, hence the odds payoff for a $2 bet.

Mage had made 3 previous starts and it is quite rare for a horse with so little experience to succeed in the Derby. This was the second victory for Mage. His other triumph came in a maiden race.

He is owned in part by 391 people, a fractional share consortium known as Commonwealth, which allows individual investors to buy in on horse ownership.

The victory was the first for Hall of Fame jockey Castellano, who had gone 0-for-15 before Derby 149.

“It is a dream for any jockey in the industry of racing,” he said. “I never give up. I always do the right thing. It took a while to get here.

“He is a little horse with a big heart. When he ran well in the Fountain of Youth and then finished second in the Florida Derby, I knew he had it in him.”

Mage has Venezuelan connections; Castellano is from the country as is trainer Gustavo Delgado.

The Venezuelan influence conjured memories of the charming victory by Cannonero II in 1971.

Delgado had 275 victories as a trainer per Equibase. His horses had earned slightly more than $10 million.

That will be boosted considerably by the $1.86M earned by Mage for winning the Run for the Roses.

“It is an amazing feeling,” Delgado said. “I have all my family here.

“When he started making his move I felt confident. He was right there when Javier started to ask him. I knew he was going to sustain it.”

As for the May 20 Preakness, the second left of the Triple Crown? Delgado said, “Give me a couple of days (before deciding).”

2023 Kentucky Derby Results | Payouts

  • Win: No. 8 Mage ($32.42 | $14.58 | $9.08)
  • Place: No. 3 Two Phil’s ($10.44 | $6.52)
  • Show: No. 14 Angel of Empire ($4.70)
Here are the payouts for the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta:
  • Exacta: 8-3 | $1 exacta paid $150.22
  • Trifecta: 8-3-14 | $0.50 trifecta paid $491.18
  • Superfecta: 8-3-14-11 | $1 superfecta paid $15,643.65

The race came at the end of a difficult — impossible — week for the track as 7 horses died in or after races and 5 were scratched from the Kentucky Derby.

In all, on Derby Day, 31 horses were scratched from the Church Hills Downs card.

Attendance was 150,335.

The call for “Riders Up” came from two-time winning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.

2023 Kentucky Derby Order of Finish 1-18

  1. Mage (15-1)
  2. Two Phil’s (9-1)
  3. Angel of Empire (7-2)
  4. Disarm (26-1)
  5. Hit Show (24-1)
  6. Derma Sotogake (8-1)
  7. Tapit Trice (9-2)
  8. Raise Cain (32-1)
  9. Rocket Can (27-1)
  10. Confidence Game (20-1)
  11. Sun Thunder (32-1)
  12. Mandarin Hero (18-1)
  13. Reincarnate (14-1)
  14. Kingsbarns (11-1)
  15. King Russell (31-1)
  16. Verifying (14-1)
  17. Jace’s Road (32-1)
  18. Cyclone Mischief (28-1)

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