Derby-Winning Jockey Gives Glory to God After Thrilling Win

After a week marred by numerous deaths of horses on the track and several scratches for the big race, the 149th Kentucky Derby thankfully went off without incident and provided race fans with a thrilling finish.

Mage, the undersized chestnut colt, was largely overlooked by oddsmakers and bettors alike, despite going wire-to-wire at Gulfstream Park in late January and finishing a respectable fourth in the Fountain of Youth. Javier Castellano, however, was undeterred as he knew what he had in the little horse.

The Kentucky-born thoroughbred came in at 15-1 odds, which coincidentally is exactly how many Derby trips winning jockey Castellano needed to make it to the circle at Churchill Downs finally.

Castellano, the 45-year-old Venezuelan native, wasted little time post-race giving praise and thanks to God and Jesus. Despite local outlets saying Castellano was at a “loss for words,” he appeared to have plenty to say post-race.  Via Breitbart, this is what he had to say:

“First of all, Lord Jesus Christ for giving me the opportunity to win the Derby – the dream trip for any jockey, trainer, any horses in the industry of racing. “I never give up, I always try hard, do the right thing. It took me a little while to get there but finally I got it. I’ve been blessed.”

Mage was a decided underdog at 15-1 and, coming out of post position 8. He was pushed to the back of the field almost immediately, but Castellano didn’t panic and held back, biding his time.  Finally, Castellano got his dream trip as he weaved and worked his smaller horse through traffic and pulled wide of co-favorites Two Phil’s and Angel of Empire as it appeared that they would be headed toward a photo-finish. Once summoned, the little horse found that extra gear that Castellanos asked for, and the rest is Derby history. It isn’t always about size; sometimes speed kills, even in horse racing. Castellano added:

“And truly, to give me the opportunity, the horse, the way he did it today,” Castellano said. “The little Mage, he did really well today. He’s got a lot of heart. It’s a little horse but big heart.”

It’s ironic that Castellano, 4’11, himself called Mage small, but he knew what he had in the undersized horse, and he knew exactly when to ask for it. As the bigger horses were running out of gas at the mile and a quarter the Derby features, Castellano knew Mage still had something left to give and exactly when to go to the crop to get the rest out of his mount. It was a spectacular trip by both jockey and horse and exactly what you would expect from a seasoned rider with 15 Derby trips under his belt. Even though Mage was dismissed for his inexperience, the experience from his jockey was enough to earn him the garland of roses.

Castellano’s brother Abel took to social media in his excitement as well, once again giving praise to God: 

“My brother Won’t the Kentucky Derby wow!!,’ he wrote in obvious excitement. God is great. [Praise] lord Jesus.’

It certainly helped the smaller horse that numerous favorites had been scratched. However, an excellent trip by the jockey and a measured, calm trip from the horse was more than enough to overtake the co-favorites in the end.

As for Castellano,  in an era where athletes are often criticized for speaking of God and Jesus or daring to give God thanks or credit, it is refreshing to see someone like him get his moment. The Venezuelan who has done things the right way and gives part of the credit to the man upstairs, where it belongs. Congratulations to Castellano and Mage on a thrilling deserved win.

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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