Meet Ramiro Restrepo and 'four bases' of 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage's ownership group
When Ramiro Restrepo and Gustavo Delgado Sr. went to the Fasing-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, they had a budget in mind. But as the bidding started rising on one of their two favorite horses, Mage, Delgado told Restrepo to forget the budget.
"We went up to $290,000, which in the real world, is a lot of money," Restrepo said, "but in horse racing it's really not a lot."
Twelve months later, it's proven to be one of the shrewdest financial moves they ever made: Mage on Saturday won the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby — and the $1.86 million first prize, more than 60% of the $3 million purse.
Because Restrepo and Delgado, also Mage's trainer, exceeded their initial budget, they had to bring in additional ownership groups.
How the race was won:Mage pulls ahead to win the 2023 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Payouts, final odds:How much you won betting on Mage to claim the 2023 Kentucky Derby
Enter Sam Herzberg of Sterling Racing LLC and Brian Doxtator and Chase Chamberlin of CMNWLTH.
"The four of us were able to cover the four bases of this horse," Restrepo said, "and you brought a guy from California, from Tennessee, Sam from South Florida, myself from Miami."
Herzberg owned Black Onyx, who was set to run out of the No. 1 post in the 2013 Derby. But the day before the race, an ankle injury forced him to scratch.
"I don't have to tell you how depressed you are when something like that happens," Herzberg said. "To come back here 10 years later and not only get in the Derby, but win the Derby — it's just magical."
Because of that experience with Black Onyx, Herzberg empathized with the five owners who had to scratch horses after qualifying for this year's Derby.
"There are some people out there who'll never make it to the Derby," he said. "I have a little bond (now), you know?"
More on the victory:Mage, trainer Gustavo Delgado provide reason to celebrate during unexpected Kentucky Derby
Watch it again:Relive Mage's win in 2023 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Mage also delivered the first-ever victory in the Run for the Roses for Delgado and jockey Javier Castellano, competing in the race for the 16th time. For Restrepo, helping Delgado raise his profile was one of the signature moments of Saturday's win.
"As a trainer, he's had so much success in South America, and he's come here (to North America) and has always had a small boutique stable."
Herzberg remembered when Restrepo called him to inquire about investing in Mage, it took them an hour to come up with a name for their new horse.
Finally, Restrepo came up with a winner.
"He goes, 'Mage,' being a magician," Herzberg said. "(I said), 'I love it.'"
Perhaps it was fate.
"He is a magician," Herzberg said of the champion horse. "He is a wizard."
Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @RyanABlack.