LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — After seven deaths cast the horse’s future into question, the Mage scored a stunning victory in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, ahead of the world’s most-crowded 149th edition, and two more. It capped off a nerve-wracking day involving human fatalities. famous race.
The 15-1 Mage had only one win in his career and had little chance of winning against 17 rivals in a race that was not kind to the inexperienced.
Still, he made a gutsy stretch run to pass Two Phil’s on the inside and win by a length. Mage, who didn’t race as a two-year-old, ran the 1 1/4 mile he ran 2:01.57.
Mage has won the Derby in his last three appearances, joining Justify (2018), Big Brown (2008) and Regret (2015).
“He proved today that it doesn’t matter,” said assistant trainer and co-owner Gustavo Delgado Jr.
The foal was in the expert hands of Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano. Castellano, 45, recorded a 15-0 skid in the Derby.
“I never give up,” said Castellano. “I always try hard to do the right thing. It took me a while to get there. I finally got it.”
Castellano and his trainer Gustavo Delgado are from Venezuela. Mage entered Canonero II as the Derby winner in relation to Venezuela. Canonero II he won the Derby and Preakness in 1971.
Entering the backstretch, Mage was ahead of just three horses. Castellano and Mage began picking off their competitors and started their runs on Farrhis turn.
“When he got home, he had a lot of heart,” Castellano said. “He’s a little horse with a big heart.”
Two Phils took the lead at the top of the stretch. The mage turned outward and took aim at the leader. Mage passed him on his 8th pole to take the win.
“Everything went according to plan,” said Delgado Jr. “This is my dream. A year and a half ago I wrote a note: ‘I’m going to win the Derby next year.'”
An early favorite, Forte was one of five horses to drop out by the race after suffering a bruise on his leg in the morning.
The mage paid $32.42, $14.58, and $9.08. Colt won $1,860,000 for the biggest win of his short career.
Two Phil’s returned $10.44 and $6.52.
“Man, he tried so hard and put his heart into it,” said Larry Rivelli, who trains Two Phil’s.
The 4-1 favorite, Angel of Empires, returned to half-length third on a warm, partly cloudy day at Churchill Downs in front of a crowd of 150,335.He paid $4.70 for the show.
Earlier in the day, three-year-old gelding Chloe’s Dream and three-year-old foal Freezing Point were euthanized after being injured during a race. recent days.
“This is a very difficult subject to touch,” says Mage owner and blood stock agent Ramiro Restrepo. “I’m sure there will be some research into the reasons behind it, and hopefully that will give us some more answers.”
A string of horse deaths was on the minds of some Derby participants.
said Michael Freese, with a friend dressed as a jockey. “They need the best for horses and the sport in general.”
Chloe’s dream injured her right front knee, trainer Jeff Hiles told The Associated Press.
“He just took a bad step,” Hyles said. “They were able to do the same things in the field that they could do on the track. It’s such a shame. That’s what we deal with.”
Freezing Point injured his left ankle in the Putt Day Mile, trainer Joe Reyzerowitz told AP.
“He just bumped on the backstretch,” said Rey Zerowitz. “He never took a bad step, never messed up. He had a big heart.”
New anti-doping and medication rules Regulations implemented by the central governing body for sports are expected to come into force on May 22nd.
“All I can say is that we do our best to take care of our horses. We treat them better than we treat our children. “We’ve been training here for two weeks and he’s really doing well on this track.”
Fatalities included Derby contender Wild on IceThe two horses were trained by Saffy Joseph Jr.Investigators have yet to determine the cause of his horse’s death, but he was stopped indefinitely by a truck.
“The most important thing is that the horse came out safe,” said Tim Yakteen, who finished Reincarnate in 13th.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob BaffertThe two-time Triple Crown winner is nearing the end of a two-year suspension issued by Churchill Downs. His one of his horses, Medina His Spirit, crossed the finish line first in the 2021 Derby, failing a post-race drug test. The horse was disqualified and Baffert was penalized.
In 2019, more than 30 horse fatalities at Santa Anita Racecourse in California disrupted the industry and led to safety reforms.Kentucky Derby winning trainer Rick Dutlow In 2011, the 10-year license was revoked by New York City officials. Regulators found syringes containing unauthorized drugs on his barn desk. Dutrow was punished and reopened his stable last month.
Four horses were recently scratched: Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuer, and Skinner. According to the Japanese trainer, the practical move and Skinner had a fever, but the continua was not in perfect condition. Sir Miles was Joseph’s Derby horse.
Disarm at #4, Hit Show, Japan-based Derma Sotogake, Tapit Trice and Raise Cain, Rocket Can, Confidence Game, Sun Thunder, Japan’s Mandarin Hero, Reincarnate, Kingsbarns, King Russell, Verifying, Jace’s Road, Cyclone Mischief continued.
AP Sports Writer Gary B. Graves and AP National Writer Claire Garofalo contributed to this report.