Kentucky Derby Hero Mage Arrives at Pimlico Sunday Morning

May 14th, 2023

Delgado Jr.’s Previous Visits to Baltimore Have Been Memorable

Blazing Sevens Arrives at Pimlico Following ‘Pretty Easy Ship’

National Treasure Walks on First Morning at Pimlico

Red Route One Breezes; Disarm Gallops at Churchill

Perform Breezes Half Mile at Belmont Park

BALTIMORE, MD – Gustavo Delgado and Gustavo Delgado Jr. arrived at historic Pimlico Race Course by car Sunday morning seconds after their Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage made the scene following an overnight van ride from Louisville, Ky

Delgado Jr., assistant trainer to his father, recalls being in Baltimore “no more than three times before.” The first time came four years ago when the Delgados had their first Preakness (G1) starter in Bodexpress. Unfortunately, the Florida Derby (G1) runner-up reared at the start and unseated Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The good news is that Bodexpress galloped around the track safely, didn’t impede anyone in the race and went on to become a Grade 1 winner the next year in Churchill Downs’ Clark to cap a career with just shy of $700,000 in earnings.

The Delgados’ fortunes fared far better last year, when Delgado Jr. returned to Baltimore not to run a horse but to go to Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-old in training sale in nearby Timonium at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. It was Delgado Jr.’s first time attending that sale, he said.

Three days after Early Voting won the Preakness, the colt Delgado Jr. and partner and bloodstock agent Ramiro Restrepo liked the best came into the sales ring. By then it was so late that Delgado Jr.already was at the airport to catch a flight when bidding began on Hip No. 592, a chestnut son of Good Magic out of the Big Brown mare Puca. They’d agreed upon a limit of $200,000, with Restrepo giving Delgado the play-by-play over their cell phones. The $200,000 bid came and was passed.

“I liked the horse a lot and felt we shouldn’t let him go,” Delgado Jr. reflected recently. “I had a feeling, you might say, and just followed my intuition. I had to catch a plane back to Lexington. I was at the airport. Boarding time had already passed, and I didn’t want to get on the plane yet. So, I was just waiting for the horse. I was on the phone and kept telling him, ‘Go ahead! Go ahead! Go ahead! Don’t let him go!’ Then he said, ‘We got him.’ Then it was ‘Where do we find the money?’ We knew we had so little time to find a partner.”

They had purchased the colt for $290,000, which Delgado Jr. said was just about as high as they could afford to go. It was actually higher than they could afford. So Restrepo brought in two other groups to make it four ownership entities at 25 percent apiece. The others are Miami real estate investor Sam Herzberg and the CMNWLTH micro-shares partnership founded by Chase Chamberlin and Brian Doxtator.

“Thank goodness Sam Herzberg and CMNWLTH came along,” Delgado Jr. said. “That’s thanks to Ramiro, because he’s the one who contacted them and had the good relationships with them prior to the sale.”

Bodexpress stamped his place in Preakness history, too, albeit the type trainers want to avoid. A loose horse might delight the crowd when it keeps running with its rivals that still have jockeys on their back, but it is a horrifying experience for horsemen, for fear the horse might get hurt or somehow alter the outcome of the race.

“With Bode, he got famous,” Delgado Jr. said with a wry smile. “Last year we attended the sale, looking for the right horse. I didn’t go to the track, though. Let’s see how this year goes. We’re trying to change our luck at the track.”

Bodexpress had yet to win a race when he finished second behind Maximum Security in the Florida Derby. He lost all chance in the Kentucky Derby when caught up in the melee triggered when Florida Derby winner Maximum Security veered out, interfering with War of Will. Maximum Security was disqualified, promoting 65-1 runner-up Country House into the victory, while War of Will moved up to seventh and Bodexpress to 13th. War of Will in his next start won the Preakness, while Bodexpress ran into more misfortunate.

“He was doing so well for that race,” Delgado Jr. said of Bodexpress. “We had the feeling he could have run very well. Bode was special in his character; most people probably would have gelded him, but we wanted to stick with horsemanship, give him time, being patient, understanding that’s his way and eventually he would mature. Which he did.”

Delgado Jr. said Mage’s character is completely different. “Both talented, though,” he said. “Both fast.”

Mage arrived at Pimlico at 6 a.m. Sunday following an 11-hour trip from Churchill Downs, where the son of Good Magic has been stabled since winning the Derby.

The Delgados – with the elder Delgado driving – followed behind their Derby winner’s van the entire way.

Delgado Jr. said two stops were made.

“We stopped for gas and we stopped to check (Mage’s) water,” Delgado Jr. said. “We left when we did because we wanted to beat traffic. It was a good, smooth trip. He is a good traveler.”

Once Mage got to Pimlico, he walked after exiting the van and laid down in his new stall for a bit. By 8:30, he was up and alert, checking out his new surroundings. The plan is for Mage to make his first appearance on the track early Monday morning.

Blazing Sevens Arrives at Pimlico Following ‘Pretty Easy Ship’

Rodeo Creek Stables LLC’s Blazing Sevens was led off a Sallee Horse Van at 9:20 Sunday morning at Pimlico Race Course to prepare for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1). The son of Good Magic left trainer Chad Brown’s Belmont Park base at 5 a.m.

“Good trip, pretty easy ship,” said Jose Hernandez, Brown’s assistant, who met Blazing Sevens at Pimlico. “I flew down and got here almost at the same time as the van. I was parking the car and the van was coming right behind.”

Blazing Sevens last ran in the April 8 Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland, finishing third. Even though he had enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Brown opted to skip that race and point to the Preakness.

Brown used the same tactics to win the Preakness last year with Early Voting and in 2017 with Cloud Computing.

Blazing Sevens has two wins in six career starts. He is one of three offspring of Good Magic being pointed to the Preakness. The other two are Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Perform, who won the Federico Tesio at Laurel on April 15. The Tesio is a win-and-in Preakness prep.

Hernandez said that Blazing Sevens will get his first look at Pimlico on Monday when he heads to the track just after 8:30 a.m. to jog.

Two other Brown horses were on the van with Blazing Sevens. Head of Plains Partners LLC’s Up and Down, who is being pointed to the Hilltop Stakes on Friday and Eminent Victor, owned by Michael Dubb, Elkstone Group LLC and Louis Lazzinnaro LLC and Michael J. Caruso. Eminent Victor is targeting the Gallorette (G3) on Saturday.

Brown is expected to arrive at Pimlico Thursday or Friday.

National Treasure Walks on First Morning at Pimlico

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Preakness Stakes (G1) candidate National Treasure arrived at Pimlico Race Course Saturday evening and walked the shedrow in the stakes barn Sunday morning. The son of Quality Road is expected to visit the track Monday morning.

National Treasure and three other Baffert horses headed to stakes on Preakness Weekend were flown from California to Baltimore Saturday. All four worked for Baffert Friday at Santa Anita Park. Accompanying National Treasure were Michael Lund Peterson’s unbeaten filly Faiza, who is the headliner in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Friday and Havnameltdown for the Chick Lang (G3) and Arabian Lion for the Sir Barton on Saturday’s Preakness program.

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride National Treasure in the Preakness. Velazquez, the leading money-earning jockey in North American racing history, has three wins in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and two on the Belmont Stakes (G1) but he is winless in 12 starts in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. He has a record of 0-3-1 in the Preakness. His most recent runner-up finish was on the Baffert-trained Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in 2019.

Baffert is tied with 19th century trainer R. Wyndham Walden with a record seven victories. His most recent victory was in 2018 with Triple Crown winner Justify.

National Treasure is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC and Catherine Donovan. He has one win in five career start but has three graded-stakes placings. In his last race, he was fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

Red Route One Breezes; Disarm Gallops at Churchill

Red Route One had his final major training move for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) Sunday morning, breezing at Churchill Downs in 49.20 seconds in trainer Steve Asmussen’s well-established pattern of an easy half-mile the week of a race.

Red Route One earned his first stakes victory in his last start, taking Oaklawn Park’s $200,000 Bath House Row to earn a fees-paid berth in the Preakness. Going out when the track opened at 5:30 a.m., Red Route One avoided the rain and thunder that swept through soon afterward.

His stablemate, Kentucky Derby fourth-place finisher Disarm, galloped as rain started to fall. He’ll have his own “easy half” Monday morning. The horses are scheduled to van to Baltimore Tuesday. Both colts are sons of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner and owned by breeder Ron Winchell, the co-owner of Gun Runner with Three Chimneys Farm.

Perform Breezes Half Mile at Belmont Park

Westford Racing LLC and Lanes End Farm, Phipps Stables, Ken Langone and Edwin Hudson Jr.’s Perform prepared for a planned start in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course with a half-mile breeze Sunday morning at Belmont Park.

The Shug McGaughey-trained colt was timed in 48.08 seconds, the second-fastest clocking of 42 workouts at the distance.

The son of Good Magic, who captured the Federico Tesio at Laurel last time out, has been supplemented to the Triple Crown for a $150,000 fee.

Perform is scheduled to ship to Pimlico Tuesday.

First Mission Walks Following Saturday’s Breeze

First Mission, winner of Keeneland’s Stonestreet Lexington (G3) in his last start, had a walk day Sunday after working a ‘bullet’ five-eighths of a mile in 59.20 seconds Saturday morning in company. Jorje Abrego, trainer Brad Cox’s top assistant at Churchill Downs, reported via text that First Mission came out of the work in good order.

First Mission and Cox’s other horses headed to Preakness Weekend stakes will train Monday morning and then van to Pimlico.

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