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Four-Way Partnership is Nothing Short of Magic in Derby

What do you get when a hungry bloodstock agent, two young innovative thinkers, an unlucky real estate agent, and a father-son training team from Venezuela come together on a horse?

Mage .

In the perfect storm of an ownership group, six diverse minds partnered together and took home the ultimate glory May 6 when Mage captured the 149th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.

“(We’re) four different groups from four different backgrounds, all different age ranges and nationalities. I mean it’s one heck of a melting pot that came together for one horse,” bloodstock agent and Mage co-owner Ramiro Restrepo said after watching his colt cross the wire beneath the Twin Spires. “The emotions are just through the roof. The amount of celebration that’s going to go on, I can’t even describe it going forward.”

Restrepo first laid eyes on Mage at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. With encouragement from his partners, trainer Gustavo Delgado and son/assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr., Restrepo kept in the hunt for Mage even when the bidding soared beyond their budget. At $290,000 the final hammer dropped and the strapping son of Good Magic   was theirs.

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Ramiro Restrepo, Moises Morales and 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage at Churchill Downs
Photo: Corrie McCroskey

Ramiro Restrepo shares a moment with Mage the morning after his Kentucky Derby victory

From there, Restrepo quickly recruited his longtime friend, Sam Herzberg of Sterling Racing and Commonwealth Racing (CMNWLTH) partners Chase Chamberlin and Brian Doxtator.

Ten years ago, Miami real estate agent Herzberg had his taste of Derby roses when his horse Black Oynx qualified for the First Saturday in May following a win in the Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park. After training at Churchill Downs all week, the colt was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, the Friday morning before the race, with a non-displaced chip in his front left ankle.

“I don’t have to tell you how depressed you get when something like that happens. This is the Derby,” Herzberg said. “I had a little barn. Some people—I don’t care who you are—never make it to the Derby.”

When Restrepo told Herzberg he had just purchased “the best Good Magic in the country” he was immediately in.

“To come back here 10 years later and not only get in the Derby (starting gate) but to win the Derby, I don’t know what to say. It’s just magical.”

“Magical” is only a fitting way to describe a victory by a horse whose name means “magician.”

The final partners in the Mage story were the dynamic duo of Chamberlin and Doxator, the founders of the fledgling syndicate CMNWLTH. Comprised of over 300 micro-shareholders, CMNWLTH reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2022 when Country Grammer  defeated an international field to land the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1).

“We started this syndicate four years ago. We had the favorite in the Belmont Stakes (G1) last year (We the People ) and he finished fourth. It’s been incredible,” Doxtator said. “When we won in Dubai we thought this is once in a lifetime, nothing can top this, and basically a year later here we are carrying the Kentucky Derby trophy.”

Chamberlin and Doxtator jumped on the Mage train when the colt joined Delgado’s barn at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington last summer. After taking one look at the brawny chestnut, molded in the image of his Eclipse Award-winning champion juvenile sire, the decision was an easy one to make.

“It was actually the first solo bloodstock decision we ever made without some of (the) other larger partners and consultants, so this a special moment for (Brian and I),” Chamberlin said. “Because we venture out and buy a lot of horses in partnership and this is the first horse where Brian and I went, ‘Yes, this is the one.'”

Throughout Derby week, the flocks of micro-shareholders flooded Restrepo, Herzberg, Chamberlin, and Doxtator with special stories and well-wishes leading up to the big day. The tales ranged from partners who had overcome deathly illnesses to inspiring messages of manifestation, hope, and the belief that Mage would overcome his 17-1 morning line odds on Derby day.

“You have a built-in fan base of 300 plus micro-shareholders who are horse lovers and big fans,” Restrepo said. “This horse represents an attachment to their families. It’s so wild that Glinda the Good Witch is his grandmother, Good Magic is his father, Mage is a magician and you start conjuring up all these clichés as the wins kick up, all these amazing thoughts. The horse himself has given a little piece of himself to so many people and through Commonwealth.”

As jockey Javier Castellano, previously 0-15 in the Derby before Saturday, pushed Mage to victory, there was not only Restrepo, Herzberg, Chamberlin, and Doxator chirping and riding their seats in the grandstand but the cheers from hundreds of partners from across the nation that propelled the colt across the finish line.

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