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Mage wins 149th Kentucky Derby

 Number 8, Mage, wins the 149th Kentucky Derby
J. Tyler Franklin
Number 8, Mage, wins the 149th Kentucky Derby

Mage, trained by Gustavo Delgado, won the Kentucky Derby – followed by Two Phil’s and Angel of Empire. The colt was favored to win, with 16 to 1 odds.

The Kentucky-born colt surged ahead late in the race, ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, and won by a length in the coveted first step to the Triple Crown. After the final turn, he pulled ahead of Two Phil’s, who placed second in the run for the roses. When he missed the first break, Castellano said he wasn’t nervous at all and just trusted the horse and himself.

Castellano said this is his 16th time competing in the Derby and his first win. He said winning today is a product of his own persistence and the right horse.

“The one thing always been consistent in my career is I would never give up. Sometimes you feel embarrassed when you been tried so many times and you don’t see the results,” Castellano said. “I didn't give up. Always try to be positive and try to find the right horse to participate in the biggest race in the world.”

Mage edged out favored horses like Tapit Trice to be draped in the garland of red roses and win the cash prize of $1.86 million.

Gustavo Delgado, Jr., the trainer’s son, said the horse has the perfect temperament. The Venezuelan trainer and son said winning the Derby has been a lifelong dream.

“The horse is very talented. He always gave us that confidence that we had a horse for the derby,” Gustavo Delgado, Jr. said.

Two Japanese horses, Derma Sotogake and Mandarin Hero, ran in the Derby this year. They are the third and fourth Japan-bred horses to ever enter the Derby.

An unusual number of horses scratched ahead of this year’s race, taking five horses off the roster and leaving just 18 horses running. State veterinarians scratched Forte, the odds-on favorite going into the race, Saturday morning.

In the 10 days leading up the Kentucky Derby, at least seven horses died from injuries they sustained at Churchill Downs. At least two horses were euthanized after sustaining injuries during their races at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, casting a pall on the event itself for some.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Sylvia is Kentucky Public Radio's Capitol reporter. Email her at
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