Amidst the death and scars surrounding this year’s Kentucky Derby, the heartwarming story of a victorious mage has faded into the shadows. But there’s a lot to like about the fast-growing stallion heading into Saturday’s 148th start of the Preakness Stakes.
He is the third horse to win the Derby as a 2-year-old horse that has not yet entered, and the fourth horse to have won the Derby in the past three entries. Is there another horse that has achieved both? Most recently, Justify achieved the Triple Crown in 2018.
Mage’s only two losses came against Derby morning favorites Forte, who was injured on race day. Mage is now Preakness’ lone Derby contender, and his biggest opponent, the First Mission, was wounded on Friday.
The Mage is a dream for Venezuelan teams and even for smaller owners.
After winning the Venezuelan Triple Crown twice, Mage trainer Gustavo Delgado Sr. traveled to the United States in 2014 in hopes of winning America’s biggest race.
“I wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby and it happened, but I knew this horse was very good,” said Delgado, who saddled three horses in the Derby. senior said.
His son, Gustavo Delgado Jr., said he was inspired by the success of his father’s Venezuelan ties, winning the Derby and Preakness at Canonero II in 1971.
“He grew up in a generation where everyone was talking about it and always felt like he could do it,” said his father’s assistant, Delgado Jr. “I remember when I was a kid, because when he was successful in Venezuela, he always said to me, ‘One day you should go to America and win one of the races.’ is.”
Mage jockey Javier Castellano and his exercise rider JJ Delgado (not related) are also from Venezuela. Castellano’s father and his JJ Delgado used to ride Delgado his senior.
Castellano said he was motivated for the Derby after seeing an NBC broadcast mentioning his 15-0 win record. He had further successes with Preakness, winning for Bernardini in 2006 and Cloud His Computing in 2017.
Another challenge for the Delgado family when they came to the United States was finding good horses and owners who believed in them. In Mage’s case, the Delgados teamed up with Ramiro Restrepo, a phlebotomist whose family immigrated from Colombia before Mage was born, at Fasig Tipton’s two-year-old sale in Timonium, Maryland. They liked that the horse was close to a replica. His father Good Magic’s offspring finished second in the Derby and fourth in Preakness.
They liked him so much that they went over budget and spent $290,000. So they hired real estate investor Sam Hertzberg and entrepreneurs Brian Docstater and Chase Chamberlin, who can buy racehorse stock for as little as $50 through the Commonwealth app. I had several people help share the cost.
And that group crucible sent the mages straight to the Winners’ Circle on the first Saturday in May, leading to perhaps the biggest Winners’ Circle party in Derby history—even the mages looked small in the middle.
About 80 of the 382 who invested in mages through the Commonwealth were there. One of them was Norma Burns Euresti from Michigan. When her wheelchair got stuck on the track, Gerardo Corrales and Jose Ortiz, fresh off her Derby, carried her to the end.
“Today I had no legs, but I got to ride a horse of a lifetime,” he told NBC of the jockey’s kindness and, of course, Triple Crown contender Mage.
The first mission is tarnished as regulators conduct additional oversight.
Preakness officials are taking a cautious approach after seven horses died at Churchill Downs ahead of the Kentucky Derby. First Mission, the second pick on the morning line with a 5-2 record, suffered an unexplained left rear ankle injury in the race early Friday morning.
The stallion was trained by Brad Cox and is owned by Godolphin Stables, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. First Mission had won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland last month, but trainers noticed something unusual after Wednesday’s training session, and on Friday the team of veterinarians at Pimlico Racecourse’s 1/ST race. inflicted injury. Horse.
Godolphin USA blood stock director Michael Banahan said the First Mission will be sent back to Lexington, Kentucky for a full examination.
“They thought maybe I had a minor problem with my left hind ankle. In fact, I just couldn’t get a proper diagnosis on the field or on the track,” Banahan said. “He was doing great at Pimlico. But that’s the way it is.”
Special scrutiny is extended to all horses racing here on weekends. Officials require two veterinary approvals before horses are allowed to race. One from the trainer’s personal veterinarian and one from the state regulated veterinarian where the horse was stabled prior to coming to Baltimore.
It’s the first time since 1986 that the first mission scar has reduced the number of Preakness progeny to just seven, further weakening an already weak horse base. Only one Derby candidate has run in the second leg of the Triple Crown since 1948, when Citation ran and won. He then won the Belmont Stakes to win the Triple Crown.
Bob Baffert is back on track for the Triple Crown.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will return to the Triple Crown after his colt Medina Spirit failed a drug test after winning the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit was allowed to start at Preakness but was beaten hard and finished third.
Baffert has since been handed a two-year suspension from the Derby and Churchill Downs, as well as a suspension handed down by Kentucky regulators. Last year, Baffert was suspended by Kentucky during the Triple Crown race, so the racing commissions of Maryland and New York kept him out of Preakness and Belmont.
Now he’s back with National Treasure, who finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, and is looking for a record-breaking eighth victory at Preakness. He is currently married to 19th century trainer R. Windham Walden.
Baffert’s first three Derby Preakness winners, Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002), failed to complete the Triple Crown at Belmont Park. . But the last two companies, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018, got the job done.
Hall of Famer John Velázquez will ride National Treasure, who went 3-1 on the morning line. The stallion has only won once, but has been competitive in premier races in California and Kentucky. He finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Tuforte.
“I think he’s a good fit here,” Baffert told reporters this week. “He’s going to need to step it up further. He’s still an out-of-box horse, but we’ll always hold him in high esteem. He didn’t really race badly.”