2023 Kentucky Derby winner: Mage (15-1) wins the 149th Kentucky Derby

May 7th, 2023

In a thrilling drive to the Churchill Downs finish line, 15-1 longshot Mage fought off all challengers to win the 149th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) by one length.

A slow break from the starting gate proved beneficial to Mage, as the early pace fractions set by Verifying and Kingsbarns (:22.35, :45.73, and 1:10.11) were intense for the 1 1/4-mile distance. As the leaders began to tire, Mage unleashed a sweeping rally around the far turn and sustained it down the homestretch to outkick the pace-tracking Two Phil’s and prevail in 2:01.57.

Angel of Empire, the 4-1 favorite, rallied from far behind to finish third. Disarm and Hit Show rounded out the top five, followed by Derma Sotogake, Tapit Trice, Raise Cain, Rocket Can, Confidence Game, Sun Thunder, Mandarin Hero, Reincarnate, Kingsbarns, King Russell, Verifying, Jace’s Road, and Cyclone Mischief.

Mage’s gallant triumph gave jockey Javier Castellano his first Derby victory from 16 rides. Trainer and co-owner Gustavo Delgado likewise broke his Derby maiden, having previously saddled a pair of unplaced finishers.

Bred by Grandview Equine, Mage is a son of 2018 Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic out of Puca, a daughter of 2008 Derby winner Big Brown. Sold for $235,000 as a yearling and for $290,000 as a two-year-old in training, Mage races for the partnership of OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing, and CMNWLTH.

In winning the Derby, Mage became only the second horse since 1882 to prevail after going unraced at age two. The chestnut colt won his debut on Jan. 28 before finishing fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and second in the Florida Derby (G1) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Mage paid $32.42 to win, $14.58 to place, and $9.08 to show. Two Phil’s returned $10.44 to place and $6.52 to show, while Angel of Empire yielded a $4.70 show payoff. (All payoffs based on $2 bets.)

Bettors who hit the $2 exacta earned $330.44. The 50-cent trifecta paid $491.18, the $1 superfecta $15,643.65, and the $1 Super High 5 $194,923.10.

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