Mage crowned winner of 149th Kentucky Derby
Mage crowned winner of 149th Kentucky Derby originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The greatest two minutes in sports has been conquered by Mage.
Mage won the 149th Kentucky Derby on Saturday from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., edging Two Phil's and Angel of Empire in a riveting finish.
Mage, coming out of post position eight, entered the race with 16-1 odds. Two Phil's had 9-1 odds while Angel of Empire, the new favorite after Forte's late scratch, came in at 4-1.
The 1 1/4-mile race initially had been led by Verifying (14-1), with Kingsbarns (11-1) right on its tail. But the final turn saw Two Phil's take control until Mage stormed down the dirt from the outside, solidifying it as a two-horse race before getting the edge. Verifying ended up 54 3/4 lengths behind Mage despite the hot start.
With Mage's triumph, jockey Javier Castellano -- who was named to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2017 -- secured his first win in the Triple Crown series since the 2017 Preakness Stakes, when Cloud Computing won. It was also Castellano's first ever Derby win in his 16th attempt, and he lauded Mage for the achievement.
“First of all, thank you Lord Jesus Christ for giving me the opportunity to win the Derby," the 45-year-old Venezuelan native said after the race. "...I'm very blessed and truly honored...the little Mage, he did really well today, come-from-behind horse. He got a lot of heart, a little horse but a big heart."
Mage earned a $1.86 million purse out of a total of $3 million for seizing first place. Second-place Two Phil's took home $600,000, while third-place Angel of Empire claimed $300,000.
Next up in the Triple Crown series is the Preakness Stakes, which is slated for the third Saturday of the month on May 20. Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. is where fans can expect to see Mage race next, though trainer Gustavo Delgado said post-race to give him a "couple of days" to decide on the chestnut colt's participation.