Mage – Kentucky Derby Context

May 6th, 2023

Mage launched an eye-catching, sweeping move past Forte on the far turn of the Florida Derby (G1) to strike the front in upper stretch, eventually winding up second to the odds-on favorite in only his third start.

A wire-to-wire debut winner at Gulfstream Park in late January, the chestnut colt finished an even fourth after a tardy break in the Fountain of Youth (G2). He missed the start in the Florida Derby, breaking last of 12 runners, and his ability to get out of the gate in the Kentucky Derby will be a legitimate concern given his inexperience, but Mage remains a talented prospect who can’t be completely dismissed if he gets the right trip.

Top Brisnet Speed: 101

Top Brisnet Late Pace: 105

Owner: After purchasing Mage, Ramiro Restrepo partnered with Sam Herzberg’s Sterling Racing, OGMA Investments, and Commonwealth Horse Racing. This will be the ownership group’s first Kentucky Derby starter.

Trainer: A four-time Triple Crown winner in his native Venezuela, prominent South Florida trainer Gustavo Delgado will make his third Kentucky Derby appearance, recording unplaced finishes with Majesto (2016) and Bodexpress (2019).

Jockey: A four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey, Javier Castellano will seek his first Kentucky Derby success. A third aboard Audible in 2018 is the best result from 15 previous appearances. The Hall of Fame rider won the Preakness aboard Bernardini (2006) and Cloud Computing (2017).

Breeders/Sales: Bred in Kentucky by Robert Clay’s Grandview Equine, Mage passed twice through the auction ring, bringing $350,000 as a yearling at the 2021 Keeneland September sale before selling to his owners for $290,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May two-year-old sale. He will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for Grandview as a breeder.

Sire: Named champion two-year-old male, Good Magic rallied to finish second to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. The chestnut son of Curlin went on to add the Haskell (G1) to his laurels, heading to stud with nearly $3 million in career earnings, and Good Magic immediately proved a success with his first crop, dueling with Bolt d’Oro and Justify for leading freshman sire honors before finishing second. Out of a mare by 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun, Good Magic also has Reincarnate in the main body of the Kentucky Derby field. And another son, juvenile Grade 1 winner and Blue Grass (G1) third Blazing Sevens, is pointing to the Preakness.

Dam: Mage is the second foal from the stakes-winning Puca, who finished 12th in the 2015 Kentucky Oaks following a runner-up finish in the Gazelle (G2). Her first foal, stakes-placed Gunning, opened her four-year-old season with back-to-back allowance wins at Oaklawn Park this year. Puca is by 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, and she’s a half-sister to five-time graded turf stakes winner and $1.5 million earner Finnegans Wake, hero of the 2015 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. By Boundary, Big Brown counts multiple Grade 1 winner Dortmund, third in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, as his top performer as a sire.

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