Sunday, June 4, 2023

Madge faces stiff competition in search of the second jewel of the Triple Crown

The Kentucky Derby winner started favorite for this week’s Preakness Stakes, but in 2018 Justify.

The competition changed when the main contender, First Mission, was ruled out on Friday morning, leaving only seven horses available in play. The result will depend on how Madge handles the two-week layoff, the pace he develops and whether Venezuelan jockey Javier Castellano can get him in position down the stretch.

Bought a year ago for $290,000 not far from Pimlico, Madge will make just her fifth start of her career after not competing as a 2-year-old and debuting on January 28. He joined Justify as the only Derby winners since Apollo in 1882 not to race as two-year-olds.

Mage was beaten by Forte – who had been favorite for the Derby before he dropped out – in his second and third races, where he finished fourth and second. This was enough to propel her to Churchill Downs, and her victory dispelled any doubts that she did not have the experience to compete with the best three-year-olds in the world.

“At this point, I don’t think experience is relevant,” said assistant coach Gustavo Delgado Jr. “Every time he competes, he is more mature. In the last races nobody saw him as a trainee.

After winning at Kentucky at odds of 14-1, Madge starts the 8-5 favorite among the eight Preakness horses. He is the only one who competed in the Derby two weeks ago.

Although trainer Gustavo Delgado Sr. has experienced such short periods of comfort with horses in his native Venezuela, it is less common among top elites in the United States.

Delgado Jr. said, “I don’t think there’s any trainer who will tell you he’s 100% sure his horse won’t come back.”

First Mission was started at odds of 5-2, but was ruled out after veterinarians discovered a problem at his headquarters. The national jackpot follows at 4-1.

Baffert said that National Treasure “would have been a great horse for the Kentucky Derby in September.” Baffert won the Derby with Authentic three years ago in September, when the Triple Crown was run at an unusual time and in disarray due to the pandemic.

National Treasure doesn’t have that luxury, but Baffert insists: “The talent is there. We haven’t fully seen it yet.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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