Mage wins ill-fated Kentucky Derby amid seventh death – KESQ

AP career writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two more horses died hours before Mage won the Kentucky Derby by a length by one length on Saturday, making his seven overall and casting a shadow over the 149th running of the most famous race in the world. world. .

Mage earned just one win in three previous races before holding off Two Phil’s down the stretch while covering 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.57 with Javier Castellano. The Hall of Fame jockey snapped a 15-0 Derby streak. He and coach Gustavo Delgado are from Venezuela.

Forte, the early favorite, was scratched in the morning with a bruised foot, one of five horses to abandon in the days leading up to the race.

Two Phil’s was second and 4-1 favorite Angel of Empire was third in front of a crowd of 150,335 on a warm, partly cloudy day at Churchill Downs.

Mage paid $32.42, $14.58, and $9.08.

Two Phil’s returned $10.44 and $6.52 at odds of 9-1. Angel of Empire paid $4.70 to show.



Two more horses died, making seven in all, ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, and favorite Forte was sidelined with an injury in another series of blows to a sport already reeling from suspensions and doping breakdowns.

“This is part of the racing and this is the cruel part,” Mike Repole, co-owner of Forte, said in an interview with FanDuel TV.

Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding, and Freezing Point, a 3-year-old colt, were injured in their races on the Derby undercard, becoming the sixth and seventh horse to die at Churchill Downs in recent days. strong was the fifth scratch of the Derby in the lead up to the $3 million race for 3-year-olds.

The string of horse deaths cast a shadow over some Derby-goers on a mostly cloudy and warm day.

“It’s concerning, and I hope they quickly do the best they can to correct whatever is going on,” said Michael Freeze, who along with his friend dressed up as jockeys. “They need to do what is best for the horses and the sport in general.”

Chloe’s Dream was injured in the second race on Saturday. The horse was taken away in an equine ambulance with a right front knee injury and was euthanized, trainer Jeff Hiles confirmed to The Associated Press.

“He just took a wrong step,” Hiles said. “They could do the same running on the field as on the track. So it’s very unfortunate. That’s what we deal with.”

Freezing Point suffered a left ankle injury at the Pat Day Mile and was euthanized, trainer Joe Lejzerowicz told the AP. He said Fort Bragg, which finished third, came up and crashed into Freezing Point during the race.

“He just got hit on the back straight,” Lejzerowicz said. “He never misstepped or faltered. He had a big heart.”

New anti-doping and medication rules imposed by a central governing body of the sport are scheduled to take effect on May 22.

“Something’s up,” said Pat Murtha, who was attending her first Derby. “They need to find out and put some rules and regulations in place to protect these animals.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown winner, is nearing the end of a two-year suspension issued by Churchill Downs Inc. One of his horses, Medina Spirit, crossed the finish line first in the 2021 Derby and failed a post-race drug test. The horse was disqualified and Baffert was penalized.

In 2019, there were more than 30 horse deaths at California’s Santa Anita racetrack, rocking the industry and leading to safety reforms. New York authorities revoked Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Rick Dutrow’s license in 2011 for 10 years. Regulators found syringes loaded with unauthorized drugs on a desk in his barn. Dutrow reopened his barn last month.

Forte had been the early 3-1 favourite; the absence of it reduces field to 18 horses for the 1 1/4 mile race.

Repole said veterinarians with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission diagnosed Forte with a bruised foot. He said the foal had developed the bruise a few days ago. The colt stumbled during training Thursday, though trainer Todd Pletcher publicly played it down.

Behind the scenes it was a different story.

“We did X-rays, we brought in vets, the state vets came and looked at him every day,” Repole said in the interview. “He’s fine. He probably needs a couple more days (to recover).”

Pletcher still has two horses in the Derby: Tapit Trice and Kingsbarns.

Crowds of around 150,000 are expected to flock to Churchill Downs to gamble and watch the Derby. Post time is 6:57 pm EDT.

Horse deaths included Derby contender Wild On Ice. Two of the horses were trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. He was indefinitely suspended from the track, though investigators have yet to determine the cause of death for his horses.

“It doesn’t make me happy to see a horse put down,” said Joe Conforto, a race attendee, wearing hockey glasses and a stuffed horse on his head. “But I think a lot of it is bad luck. Most racehorses are cared for better than human beings.”

Four horses were eliminated: Practical Move, Lord Miles, Dragon and Skinner, in the final days. Practical Move and Skinner had a fever, while Dragon was not in optimal condition, according to his Japanese trainer. Lord Miles was Joseph’s Derby horse.

Forte was last year’s 2-year-old champion and is riding a five-fight win streak.

“You can only be a 3-year-old colt on the first Saturday in May once in your life,” Repole said. “I feel bad for the horse.”


AP Sports Writer Gary B. Graves and AP National Writer Claire Galofaro contributed to this report.


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