It didn’t take long after Mage was a surprise winner in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby for the question to come up: Will the Derby-winning horse run in the Preakness Stakes?
The answer is yes.
It was expected, but officially announced Friday that Mage would run in the second leg of the Triple Crown, which takes place May 20 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Forte, the morning line favorite for the Derby who was scratched before the race, has been ruled ineligible to run in the Preakness.
Maryland horse racing fans were certainly hoping both would be in the field.
Mage to run in 148th Preakness Stakes
A year after Derby winner Rich Strike sat out the Preakness, the obvious question for the team surrounding 2023 winner Mage was if he would run.
Ramiro Restrepo, who is part of Mage’s ownership group, said the plan is to run the horse at Pimlico if things continue to trend well. That would keep the dream of a Triple Crown alive.
Mage didn’t begin racing until late January of this year, when the colt was already 3 years old. The Derby was only his fourth race, and his first outside of Gulfstream Park in Florida.
The lack of experience puts Mage in exclusive company. Only two horses had ever won the Derby with just three prior starts, and only two had ever won it after not racing at all as 2-year olds. The only other horse to fit into both of those categories was 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.
In the Derby, Mage made a late charge after jockey Javier Castellano had him settle toward the back of the pack early on. Mage went off at 15-1 odds.
Mage vs. Forte matchup in doubt for the Preakness
This year’s actual race at the Derby was overshadowed a bit by a string of scratches, including that of morning line favorite Forte, who was pulled from the field on Saturday morning.
Forte had defeated Mage at the Florida Derby on April 1.
If Forte is cleared to race at the Preakness, and Mage runs, it would be a much-anticipated rematch between the two horses.
But a mandatory 14-day trip to the veterinary list could once again stop that race before its run. So, while there’s still nearly two weeks before the race, it looks like Forte will not run in the Preakness.
Maryland racing spokesperson just now: “Forte is on the vets’ list and is not eligible to run in the Preakness.”
— Tim Layden (@ByTimLayden) May 8, 2023