Overcoming 15-1 odds, Mage raced to victory at the 149th Kentucky Derby Saturday, rallying late to beat Two Phils for the top spot.
After a string of equine deaths leading up to the historic race at Churchill Downs, there were no clear favorites to win the May 6 race, ESPN reported. Though boasting only one victory in his previous three races, Mage covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.57, securing a win for veteran jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Gustavo Delgado – both of Venezuela, CBS News reported. (RELATED: Contender ‘Wild On Ice’ Euthanized Just Days Before Kentucky Derby)
Mage wins the Kentucky Derby!! 🏆#KyDerby pic.twitter.com/mNdxr9qa8N
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 6, 2023
“It’s a little horse, but a big heart,” Castellano told USAToday.
The win is a first for Castellano, who told the outlet his dream, since coming to the United States from Venezuela, has been to race in the Kentucky Derby. Castellano realized that dream, racing in two previous Derbies before securing this win. “When I ran two times, you remember, those horses very bad. But this time, I sure that the horse very, very good,” he told USAToday. (RELATED: ‘The Biggest Gut Punch In Racing’: Kentucky Derby Winner Tests Positive For Banned Drug)
Only 2-years old, Mage went head-to head against more experienced rivals, lagging behind the pack until the last stretch, which saw the young colt win by a length over Two Phil’s and Angel of Empire, ESPN reported.
“I never give up,”the 45-year-old Castellano told the outlet. “I always try hard to do the right thing. It took me a little while to get there. I finally got it.”