Kentucky Derby Kernels: Mage Retired; Rich Strike Isn’t; Remsen Next Derby Prep; Latest Future Wager Odds

Less than two weeks ago, 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1) Mage was a candidate to run in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in January and 2022 Derby winner Rich Strike was about to be sold at auction.

That was then. The fortunes of the past two Derby winners came full circle on Monday (Nov. 27) with the announcement that Mage has been retired to Airdrie Stud (in MIdway, Ky.).

“Mage has been a great blessing in our family’s life,” trainer Gustavo Delgado, Sr. said. “He was special for so many reasons and he gave all of us who were blessed to be associated with him the greatest days you could ever have in racing.”

Eleven days earlier, on Nov. 16, Rich Strike was withdrawn from the Keeneland Horses of Racing Age sale by owner Rick Dawson and could end up in the Pegasus Cup.

“At this time, Rich Strike will continue his stay and light exercise at Margaux Farm (in Midway, Ky.),” Dawson said.

Mage’s Retirement and Rich Strike’s Stalled Wins: A Derby Follow-up

Since finishing fifth in the Alysheba (G2) on May 5 at Churchill Downs, Dawson replaced trainer Eric Reed with Hall of Famer Bill Mott. Rich Strike won the Derby at 80-1 odds and hasn’t won in six starts since.

Mage won the Derby at 15-1 odds and went 0-for-3 afterward, finishing third in the Preakness (G1), second in the Haskell (G1), and seventh in the Travers (G1).

Delgado said the decision to retire Mage came after a routine scan revealed “he had the beginnings of a small issue that would require us to miss his early season goals.”

Mage, with a maiden win and a Derby win in seven starts, earned $2,507,450 for owners OGMA Investments, CMNWLTH, Sterling Racing, and Ramiro Restrepo.

Rich Strike also has a maiden win and Derby win in 16 starts with earnings of $2,526,809.

Remsen at the Big A is Saturday’s Derby prep

The Remsen (G3) is next up on the long road to the Derby still six months away.

This will be the 110th running of a race that has seen three winners go on to capture the Derby the next year: Thunder Gulch (1995 Derby); Go for Gin (1994 Derby); and Pleasant Colony (1981 Derby).

The Remsen is the one Derby points qualifier for 2-years-olds at 1 1/8 miles, an eighth of a mile shorter than the Run for the Roses. The other early Derby preps for juveniles – a total of 10 – are at a mile or 1 1/16 miles.

Among the probables for Saturday’s Remsen are Dornoch, who won for the first time in three starts by 6 1/2 lengths at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland on Oct. 14, a pair of Todd Pletcher-trainees Moonlight and Private Desire, and Rick Dutrow, Jr.-trained Where’s Chris.

The Derby points scale is 10-5-3-2-1 to the top five finishers.

Derby future wager (pool 2) odds

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Fierceness closed as the individual favorite at 8-1 in pool 2 of the Derby future wager. The pari-mutuel field of “all other colts and geldings from the 2021 foal crop’’ closed as the 6-5 overall favorite.

Other horses listed at under 20-1 are: Locked (14-1) Nash (18-1); Knightsbridge (19-1); and Dornoch (19-1), a full brother to Mage.


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