Mage Set to Dominate the Florida Derby
Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Mage, the three year old colt by Good Magic out of Big Brown mare, Puca, is entered to run in the Gr. 1 Curlin Florida Derby on Saturday, April 1st. Positions were drawn on Saturday, and 12 horses were places on the card. This is said to be the largest field this race has had since Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Big Brown won in 2008. Mage's trainer, Gustavo Delgado, said he expected half of the actual field size when they entered the colt. Mage drew post position 4, and will have multiple graded stakes winning jockey Luis Saez accompanying him for the one and one sixteenth mile competition. 

  The chestnut colt gained attention after an victorious debut Jan. 28th at Gulfstream, where he blew through seven furlongs 1:22.54 and finished the race three and three fourths lengths ahead of the competition. He also showed grit and talent in his second race where he finished fourth in the March 4th Fountain of Youth at one and one sixteenth mile stakes race against much more experienced competitors. He started the race poorly, striking the side of the starting gate and breaking last, losing considerable ground around both turns but manages to salvage a fourth place. 

Mage has been gearing up for the Derby, playing catch up for going unraced at two years old. Delgado has sent him to the starting gate for schooling twice since the Fountain of Youth, and working him twice at five and six furlongs, completing the latter in 1:16.6 last Friday at Gulfstream Park. 

Mage has 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and will need a strong showing in the Florida Derby to advance to the first Saturday in May.  Saez and Mage are currently listed at 10-1 odds with the three top choices, Forte, Fort Bragg and Dubyuhnell ahead of him. Luckily for Mage, all three top contenders drew the far outside posts, which are considered to be a huge disadvantage at Gulfstream. The winner of the Florida Derby gets 100 points, which guarantees a starting spot in KY Derby. However, even finishing fourth will earn 20 points and fifth  ten points, which could be quite important in helping a horse's connections choose to start in the run for the roses. 

  Forte is the favorite for this year's Derby and had 90 points to date after winning the Fountain of Youth and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Also among this weekends field with Derby points is Cyclone Mischief. There is no doubt Forte is the horse to beat, but that being said, Mage  has proven he can win in very easy fashion. It will be a great match to see if Mage can beat a horse as triumphant as Forte barring any difficulties at the gate. Best of luck to breeder's Grandview Equine, and all of Mage's new connections.