Mage won the 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday.
The 3-year-old chestnut colt, trained by Gustavo Delgado, edged out Two Phil’s, who crossed the line to finish in second place, and Angel of Empire finished third, in front of the over 150,000 fans in attendance.
Mage’s win came after heavily favored Forte was scratched from the race earlier in the day after a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission veterinarian found the horse had a bruised right front foot, Churchill Downs said.
Forte had been listed as the 3-1 morning line favorite to win the first leg of the sport’s Triple Crown. Forte was the fifth horse to be scratched from the race and so the number of horses in the main event dropped to 18. It is the first time since 1936 that five horses have been scratched from the Derby.
“I never give up, I always try hard,” jockey Javier Castellano said. “It took me a little while to get there, to finally get it.” The victory was the first at the Kentucky Derby for Castellano in 16 attempts.
Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Mage only had one victory in three career starts. On Saturday, he finished the “Greatest two minutes in Sports” with a time of 2:01.57.
Mage will now have a chance to continue the chase for the elusive Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes in Maryland on May 20. The third leg is at the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 10.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the location of Churchill Downs. It is in Louisville.