Mage Wins Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
The 15-1 Mage rallied off a ferocious early pace to win the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and gave trainer/co-owner Gustavo Delgado and Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano their first Derby win.
Mage overcame a slow start out of the gate and had to chase down one of the pre-race favorites in Two Phil's to come across first in the Run for of the Roses.
Mage completed the 1 1/4-mile classic in 2:01.57 and returned $32.42
Entering the Derby, Mage only had three starts under his belt. A fantastic result for a horse running in just the fourth race of his career, competing against a loaded field.
The 1 1/4-mile Derby was his first start away from Gulfstream Park. Mage won his debut Jan. 28, was fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) won by champion Forte, then closed from last of 12 to take second by a length, again behind Forte, in the Florida Derby (G1). A son of Good Magic, Mage became the 25th Kentucky Derby winner to come out of the Florida Derby, extending its status as the most productive prep race.
One of the biggest surprises from the race was the lack of performance by Tapit Trice, who was one of the overwhelming favorites in the lead-up to the race at 9-2 but finishing a disappointing seventh. Similar to Mage, he had a slow start out of the gate but he was never able to recover.
Watching TV in the jockeys' room before he was to ride in the Kentucky Derby for the 16th time, Javier Castellano saw his dismal Derby history presented for the world to see.
"NBC put up "0-of-15, Javier Castellano," he said. "That moment gave me so much inspiration."
One of the great jockeys of the current generation, Castellano had never won the Kentucky Derby - in fact had never even come close.
Before Saturday, he had finished sixth or worse in 13 of the 15 Derbys he had ridden. In eight of those races, Castellano had finished 10th or worse. Only once, a third-place finish in 2019 on Audible, had he even been on the board in a Derby.
For Castellano, the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby proved to be his personal sweet 16.
2023 Kentucky Derby Results
Kentucky Derby 2023: Complete order of finish
- 1. Mage
- 2. Two Phil's
- 3. Angel of Empire
- 4. Disarm
- 5. Hit Show
- 6. Derma Sotogake
- 7. Tapit Trice
- 8. Raise Cain
- 9. Rocket Can
- 10. Confidence Game
- 11. Sun Thunder
- 12. Mandarin Hero
- 13. Reincarnate
- 14. Kingsbarns
- 15. King Russell
- 16. Verifying
- 17. Jace's Road
- 18. Cyclone Mischief
Scratched: Forte, Skinner
The 149th Kentucky Derby Trainer Quotes
Gustavo Delgado Jr., Owner/Assistant Trainer, Mage, First: It's an amazing feeling. I have my entire family here. It's such an amazing feeling. Sometimes you have to follow your intuitions and that's what I did with this horse. Sometimes it pays out and sometimes it doesn't. It really did today. When I saw him started to make his move I felt very confident. When (jockey) Javier (Castellano) started to asking I knew he'd sustain it.
"I felt so confident going into this race, because my dad was the trainer. And he was telling me step by step what he was doing with the horse. It was a masterpiece.
"I was asking for the wire, asking for the wire. Once he made the lead, it was how we had planned the race to happen. Everything went according to plan. This is the dream I have, a year-and-a-half ago, I wrote a note: `We're going to win the Derby next year.'
Not having the experience, he proved today that it didn't matter."
Larry Rivelli, Trainer, Two Phil's, Second: "Man, he tried so hard and ran his heart out. I'm so proud of this horse and everyone involved. He ran an incredible race."
Brad Cox, Trainer, Angel of Empire, Third, Hit Show, Fifth, Jace's Road, 17th, Verifying, 16th: "Angel of Empire ran well. It was a hot pace. Down the backside he had a few beat. I don't know where the winner was laying. We had a little bit of excitement down the lane. I thought he (Angel of Empire) had a shot. Hit Show had a beautiful trip from the one hole. We were close, but we come here to win it, so I'm a little disappointed. Overall, very happy with the horses' performances. Off to Preakness with somebody. We have First Mission. This is demanding. I don't know if I'll run any of these horses back in two weeks."
Steve Asmussen, Trainer, Disarm, Fourth: "He faced some of the best 3-year-olds in the country. Obviously, I was hoping for a better finish today. I loved that he continued on, through it all. He was fourth today, and he's a solid horse. The race could have been smoother for everybody. You put 18 in there, there was a lot of contact and stuff like that. He took a whole lot of dirt on the backside. You could tell it was a little confusing to him for a ways down the backside, but he stayed on well. It looked like when he got a seam there, about the eighth pole, he could do it. Then he still finished up OK."
Todd Pletcher, Trainer, Tapit Trice, Seventh, Kingsbarns, 14th: "Tapit Trice did what he always does - he broke slow and then he had to check a couple of times heading into the first turn. When it came time he couldn't get going well enough; farther for him. We're thinking Belmont. Kingsbarns ran as far as he could and as hard as he could, but the half mile (:45.73) was a little too fast for him and he just couldn't keep up."
Ben Colebrook, Trainer, Raise Cain, Eighth: "He was in a pretty good spot early but just didn't have the late kick he needed."
Bill Mott, Trainer, Rocket Can, Ninth: "We finished in the middle of the pack. He still put in a good effort today."
Kenny McPeek, Trainer, Sun Thunder, 11th: "I think we'll point to the Belmont after this. He was a little up against it today but we'll come back to fight another day."
Tim Yakteen, Trainer, Reincarnate, 13th: "It wasn't our day. The most important thing is the horse came out of it OK."
Ron Moquett, Trainer, King Russell, 15th: "He made us proud. We didn't the result we wanted, but I knew we were up against it when I saw how wide he was in both turns. He came back very well. He's happy. We'll get them down the road."
Dale Romans, Trainer, Cyclone Mischief, 18th: "It wasn't our day today. He broke poorly and that was it."
The 2023 Kentucky Derby Jockey Quotes
Javier Castellano, Jockey, Mage, First: "I'm so thankful for the opportunity to ride the horse. The whole team gave me the opportunity to ride this horse in the biggest race in the world. I had a lot of confidence in myself this year would be the year. I thought this year would be the year. This horse was unbelievable today."
Jareth Loveberry, Jockey, Two Phil's, Second: "In the turn, the whole opened up and I said I can't wait. He proved he is a world-class horse today."
Flavien Prat, Jockey, Angel of Empire, Third: "He ran great. I had a good trip. I was able to get myself behind the winner turning for home and we definitely had a great chance to win."
Joel Rosario, Jockey, Disarm, Fourth: "It was a big step for him. He responded to everything I asked him to do. It was a good race for him."
Manny Franco, Jockey, Hit Show, Fifth: "I had a dream trip. My horse ran really well he just got beat by better horses." " Christophe Lemaire, Jockey, Derma Sotogake (JPN), Sixth: "He didn't break as fast as last time but I was able to put him on the inside and save ground. Gradually, we gained position on the final turn. I was in the best spot to make a move, he stayed on and but didn't have the speed to make it closer late."
Luis Saez, Jockey, Tapit Trice, Seventh: "He made a nice move but it was already done."
Gerardo Corrales, Jockey, Raise Cain, Eighth: "My horse ran Ok. No problems."
Junior Alvarado, Jockey, Rocket Can, Ninth: "My horse ran good today. I think I had one of the best trips in the race. He saved ground on the first turn and laying fourth or fifth. On the turn for home, I moved into third and he got a little tired."
James Graham, Jockey, Confidence Game, 10th: "He quickened, he just didn't go on again like he needed to. I liked our trip, four lengths back and he had his ears pricked."
Brian Hernandez Jr., Jockey, Sun Thunder, 11th: "He split the pack. He had a pretty good trip around there, followed the winner but he just wasn't good enough today."
John Velazquez, Jockey, Reincarnate, 13th: "I was where I thought I'd be: in the first three. When we got to the quarter pole he didn't have anything."
Jose Ortiz, Jockey, Kingsbarns, 14th: "I sacrificed going a little bit faster than I wanted to in order to be in a good spot. I wish we could have given him a breather on the backside."
Rafael Bejarano, Jockey, King Russell, 15th: "My horse ran good but we have no excuse. I was in a good position, in the middle of the pack, he made a nice move from the 5/8ths pole to the 3/8ths pole and then after that, he started to get tired and give up. I was happy but this race is very tough."
Tyler Gaffalione, Jockey, Verifying, 16th: "We might have just gone a little too quick. Got to take a shot."
Florent Geroux, Jockey, Jace's Road, 17th: "He broke sharp and I tried to hustle him but he could not keep up with the three horses in front. He was not trying. Before I knew everyone started passing him."
Irad Ortiz Jr., Jockey, Cyclone Mischief, 18th: "He missed the break and after that, he never got involved."