The Kentucky Derby often throws up a story that few were expecting, and that was the case once again in 2023. Gustavo Delgado landed the biggest training success of his career at Churchill Downs in early May, as he landed success in the most famous race on the U.S. calendar.
Mage was considered an outsider for the Kentucky Derby this year, but he traveled excellently throughout the race, and eventually finished a length clear of Two Phil’s.
Further success should be expected from this lightly-raced three-year-old, and Mage’s next stop could take him to Pimlico for a shot at history in the Preakness Stakes. Now he is not a dark horse anymore and he is leading the Preakness Stakes 2023 betting odds.
Delgado’s Career Prize Earnings
For those that follow international racing, Delgado’s success in the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t have been the biggest shock. The 66-year-old was a natural trainer during his time in his native Venezuela, as he landed multiple Triple Crown wins. In South America, his first big career success would come in the Simon Bolivar Stakes, a race that he would later land victory in on four further occasions.
To date, Delgado has amassed over $12.26 million in prize money throughout his career. He has saddled 1,844 horses, with 276 coming back in as the winner. He has a very credible strike-rate in North America, with 259 further horses finishing second and 239 runners taking third.
Delgado already appears to be on course for a career-best year in 2023. The victory in the Kentucky Derby with Mage has elevated his returns for this calendar year to $2.2 million, and that has his sixth victory this term. In total, he has sent out 44 runners this term, with a further four taking second and three others runners finishing their races in third.
Throughout his career, his friends in his native Venezuela have called him the country’s equivalent to Bob Baffert. However, he will be targeted further success in the United States this year, as he looks to highlight that he is one of the leading trainers in the world.
Best Performing Horses
There are few prizes for guessing the runners that has picked up the most in prize money for Delgado throughout his career. Mage comfortably moved to the top of that list after success at Churchill Downs. The win in the Kentucky Derby now means that the three-year-old has amassed just over $2 million in prize money during his short career.
The victory in the Kentucky Derby wasn’t the first time that Delgado had tasted graded success in the United States, as he has already won a two Grade 1s. One of those came with Bodexpress, as his colt won the G1 Clark Stakes. That sees the runner as his second-most profitable runner in his stable, having amassed career earnings of $694,000. The only other Grade 1 winner within his stable comes in the form of Paola Queen. The mare was a shock 45/1 winner of the Test Stakes back in 2016. Throughout her career, she amassed prize money of $431,490.
What’s Next For Delgado?
Mage’s victory in the Kentucky Derby could ensure that Delgado may enjoy a historic run in the Triple Crown this season. The three-year-old will be pointed toward the Preakness Stakes for his next start, where he could clash with rivals such as Confidence Game and Disarm who finished behind him at Churchill Downs.
A success at Pimlico could then set up a date his destiny at Belmont Park in June, as the Belmont Stakes could see Mage create history. Later season goals for the three-year-old may see the trainer send his star to the Breeders’ Cup Classic for a showdown with Forte.