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The 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage galloped Tuesday morning at historic Pimlico Race Course, where the Gustavo Delgado-trained colt finished his 1 ½-mile preparation for Saturday’s Preakness (G1) with good energy without prompting from exercise rider J.J. Delgado.
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“He’s so smart. I can’t overstate that. He’s a really intelligent horse. Not only does he take care of himself during his races, but he knows when to commence,” said Ramiro Restrepo, who owns the 3-year-old son of Good Magic with OGMA Investments LLC, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH. “He responds to the cues from the rider so well. He’s learned Gustavo’s program and you can see it how he picks up the rhythm on his own.”
Mage has demonstrated an unusual level of maturity for a lightly raced colt who was able to outrun 17 more experienced rivals while capturing the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in only his fourth career start.
“The races are developing him race by race. We’re just waiting to see how much he has in the well of talent. Every day, he’s showing more and more signs of maturation and understanding his job as a racehorse.,” Restrepo said. “It’s great to see it happening.”
Mage went through his morning routine like a veteran racehorse while striding smoothly across the Pimlico racing surface. Later, he barely turning a hair during his bath upon his return to the Pimlico Stakes Barn, where he was the sole focus of many photographers and TV camera crews.
“Professional, that’s the best way to describe it,” said Gustavo Delgado Jr., his father’s assistant. “Very quiet. The track being so quiet with only a few horses at the same time, that helps too.”
Mage has instilled confidence in his owners and trainers heading into the Preakness.
“It’s the greatest feeling just bringing the Derby winner. It gives you confidence,” Delgado Jr. said. “We’re just go day by day, race by race, but it does give you confidence. He’s competitive – 8-5 – not 50-1, 25-1.”
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