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Mage magical ahead of 148th Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner Mage will try to keep triple crown hopes alive when he runs at Pimlico on Saturday
Posted at 2:30 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 14:54:25-04

BALTIMORE — He is the colt with loads of personality.

He is the featured horse at Pimlico ahead of the 148th Preakness Stakes.

He is the Kentucky Derby winner.

He is Mage.

"[He’s a] confident, relaxed, laid-back guy," said Gustavo Delgado Jr., the assistant trainer of Mage. "At the track he can be very relaxed, quiet. But here in the stall it’s another story."

Delgado Jr. added Mage is all about the attention and the onlookers. That is ideal.

"It’s what you would want in a horse - being able to handle the crowd, being able to handle the people surrounding him," he said.

The 3-year-old galloped a little more than a mile and a half around the track at Pimlico Tuesday morning.

"Professional. That’s the best way to describe [Mage]. Very professional. That’s good," said Delgado Jr.

Co-owner of Mage, Ramiro Restrepo, is confident just four days away from the Preakness. His chestnut 8-5 favorite is like one of his children.

"When you see your kids over time they start maturing and they’ll do things that will kind of make you turn around and look at them and say, ‘Oh wow. You are growing up before our eyes’. The races are developing [Mage] race by race... every day he is showing more and more signs of maturation and kind of understanding his job," he said.

That job is to finish first on Saturday and continue the triple crown party. For now Mage is right where he needs to be.

"The Preakness, we always wanted to be at this stage," said Delgado Jr.

This is the second time at Preakness for Delgado Jr. The first was back in 2019 when he trained Bodexpress. That’s the horse that unseated its rider right out of the starting gates and ran around the track on its own. Delago Jr. joked not to expect any such thing from Mage on Saturday.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook