We are still gathering our impressions from the Kentucky Derby, and one thing is for sure, it was a blast!
Over the years, Kentucky Derby has proven to be a sporting event where it is very difficult to predict who is going to be victorious. On countless occasions, we’ve seen where the long-shot storm into victory like Rich Strike with 80-1 odds in 2022.
This year, it wasn’t that big of a surprise, but the favorite still didn’t manage to win.
The 149th Kentucky Derby race was won by Mage (15-1) with trainer Gustavo Delgado and jockey J. Castellano. Now, Mage will be among the 2023 Preakness Stakes Contenders, trying to win the second Triple Crown race.
This got us wondering, who is actually Gustavo Delgado and how he managed to win the biggest horse race in the world.
Let’s find out.
Who is Gustavo Delgado?
Gustavo Delgado is a Venezuelan-born horse trainer who has built a name for himself in the competitive world of thoroughbred racing.
Delgado has been training stakes winners for over two decades and has a reputation for growing young horses into champions. However, it was his triumph in the 2023 Kentucky Derby that really placed him on the map.
Delgado’s Early Career
Delgado’s fascination with horses began at an early age. Just like most trainers, he was raised in a household of horse trainers and jockeys and was naturally drawn to the sport.
Delgado left his job as an assistant trainer in the late 1990s. He began modestly, training horses at a minor racetrack in Venezuela before migrating to the United States.
Making a Name for Himself
Gustavo Delgado’s journey to the top of the horse racing industry did not come easily. In fact, his early years in the United States were more akin to a roller coaster.
He had to labor his feet off to create his own horse stable with little money in his pockets and a goal in his heart.
Delgado, on the other hand, was able to establish himself as a trainer to watch via guts, drive, and a lot of horse training since. And boy, did he enjoy seeing them flee! Delgado’s first stakes win in the United States came in 2012 with “Unbridled’s Note,” and he has since gone on to win at tracks around the country. The rest, as they say, is history in horse racing.
Moving back to Venezuela, Gustavo Delgado was one of the biggest names in the horse racing industry.
He has five victories in Venezuela’s premier race, the Simon Bolivar Stakes. He is the Caribbean Classic’s most successful trainer. A race that collects the greatest three-year-olds in the Caribbean region (Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic), he is also a member of the Caribbean Racing Hall of Fame. His friends referred to him as the Venezuelan BOB BAFFERT.
Delgado’s Training Philosophy
Delgado is well-known for his careful and comprehensive approach to horse training. Horses shouldn’t be seen as a tool for attending horse racing events and winning some money. They have a heart and soul that can be carefully trained to get the best out of them.
He believes in developing close bonds with his animals and taking the time to learn about their unique needs and characteristics. He also stresses the significance of physical training and works hard to keep his horses in peak condition for race day.
What’s Next for Delgado?
Delgado is certain to have a successful future in horse racing after winning the Kentucky Derby. After all, he managed to come from a part of the world where horse racing isn’t much popular and climb to the top of the world’s horse racing scene.
He has previously announced ambitions to run in future important events, including the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
One thing is for sure, he will be getting a lot of calls after the Kentucky Derby win with Mage!