Ramiro Restrepo has done a little bit of everything in the racing industry and now he has something else to add to his resume, GI Kentucky Derby winning owner. Restrepo is one of the owners of Mage (Good Magic), the winner of the 149th Derby. To share his thoughts on the race and what it meant to him, Restrepo joined this week’s TDN Writers’ Room podcast, presented by Keeneland. He was this week’s Green Group Guest of the Week.
“I still can’t sleep,” said an emotional Restrepo. “I keep watching the race. I can’t believe that we won. We won it. It’s incredible. The emotion is totally raw. I haven’t really been able to put it behind me. I’m still just soaking it up.”
Restrepo has been there from the start. Along with Gustavo Delgado Jr, the assistant to his father, Gustavo Delgado Sr., he picked him out at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale 2022, where he was purchased for $290,000. (He sold the prior year as a yearling at Keeneland September for $235,000). From there he was sent to the Delgado barn and made the quick transition from being a first-time-starter on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream to the Kentucky Derby winner.
“We knew we had a talented colt,” Restrepo said. “He had shown flashes of being really fast. But I didn’t know anything back in January. And anyone who ever says I knew I was buying a Derby winner when it happened is just doing it for pomp and circumstance. In reality, you always try to buy just a nice horse, whether that means a champion sprinter or a monster turf horse or whatever. You’re over the moon with that. But what happened with this horse, it is just like a Hollywood ending.”
The GI Preakness will be next and for Mage, it may only be a matter of holding his form from the Derby. But for a horse who is coming back in two weeks and had only three races to prepare him for the Derby, will that happen?
“That’s what makes this such a hard series to compete in,” he said. “And that’s what adds to the special mystical flair of the two-week turnaround and of the Triple Crown. You have to deal with the cards that are in front of you. The horse was never really pushed to get ready for his maiden. So it’s not like he ran 20 races in the morning. The races are making him, and he is evolving physically and mentally. We keep waiting, much like everybody else, for signs that the races have gotten to him physically or mentally. He’s flesh and blood and at some point it’s just the natural way of the animal, those things catch up to them. No one can answer that question, but the horse at the moment came out of the race as good as one could ever ask for. What you have to do is ride the wave and see how long you can ride it.” .
Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by Coolmore,https://lanesend.com/ the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, 1/st Racing, WinStar Farm, XBTV, Lane’s End and https://www.threechimneys.com/ West Point Thoroughbreds, podcast regulars Zoe Cadman, Randy Moss and Bill Finley dealt with the unpleasant aspects of this year’s Derby. Seven horses died in the lead up to the race, including two on Derby day. There was an agreement that it was a very difficult couple of days for the sport and that the message sent out by the mainstream press shed racing in a very bad light. Did we have all the answers? Not really. It doesn’t seem that anyone does.