LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mage, a 15-1 shot, crossed the finish line to win the 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, overtaking Two Phil’s down the stretch to win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Mage covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.57 under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who snapped an 0-for-15 skid in the Derby.
The colt earned $1,860,000 for the biggest win of his brief career.
Mage, who didn’t race as a 2-year-old, had only one win in three previous races, giving little indication that he could triumph against 17 rivals in a race that is not kind to the inexperienced. Still, he made a gutsy stretch run, overtaking Two Phil’s to his inside and winning by a length.
Two Phil’s and 4-1 favorite Angel of Empire followed Mage to the finish line in front of a crowd of 150,335 on a warm and partly cloudy day at Churchill Downs.
Castellano and trainer Gustavo Delgado are from Venezuela.
“I never give up,” said the 45-year-old Castellano, a four-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. “I always try hard to do the right thing. It took me a little while to get there. I finally got it.”
Mage joined Canonero II as Derby winners with Venezuelan ties. Canonero II won the Derby and Preakness in 1971.
“Turning for home, he had a lot of heart,” said Castellano, who has ridden two winners in the Preakness Stakes. “He’s a little horse with a big heart.”
Mage paid $32.42, $14.58 and $9.08. Two Phil’s, who had 9-1 odds, returned $10.44 and $6.52 at 9-1 odds. Angel of Empire paid $4.70 to show.
Forte, the early favorite, was scratched in the morning with a bruised foot, one of five horses that dropped out in the days leading to the race.
In his last race, Mage finished second by a length to Forte in the Florida Derby.
Two more horses died in earlier races Saturday, making it seven in all at Churchill Downs this week.
“It’s a very difficult subject to touch upon,” said Ramiro Restrepo, part of Mage’s ownership and a blood stock agent. “I’m sure there’s going to be some investigations done as to the reason behind that, and hopefully that provides a few more answers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Read Full Article