Mage wins Kentucky Derby; Is the Triple Crown realistic?

Screenshot Mage

Mage won the Kentucky Derby yesterday as a 15-1 underdog. The horse had only run in three races, so these odds were understandable. That said, Dan Wolken points out that Mage’s performance in the Florida Derby should have put betters on notice. And that’s what successful gambling on horse racing is all about!

Now we’ll see just how good Mage can be. Dan calls Mage an “excellent horse.” Can Mage win the Triple Crown? That’s a huge challenge of course, and we’ll learn a lot more in the Preakness:

“If Forte runs, you may see Mage in the 3-1 to 4-1 range,” Avello noted, “and if he doesn’t, you might see him in the neighborhood of 5-2. I mean, who else is out there for him to go against now?

It’s not just about Mage. It’s also about the competition.

The cool thing is we may have a rivalry on our hands, which is always great for horse racing and the Triple Crown.

As for actually winning the Triple Crown, accomplishing this extremely rare feat, as it presents several unique challenges:


Each race of the Triple Crown has distinct characteristics, such as varying distances, track surfaces, and competition levels. A horse must demonstrate exceptional adaptability and talent to excel in these different conditions.

Stamina and durability

With only a few weeks between races, horses have limited time to recover and maintain peak performance. The Belmont Stakes, the final and longest race at 1.5 miles, is particularly demanding, testing a horse’s endurance and ability to sustain speed.


The Triple Crown races attract the finest three-year-old thoroughbreds, making for fierce competition. In addition, some horses may skip one or two races to be fresh for the remaining events, posing an extra challenge for those vying for the Triple Crown. It also matters whether a great horse has to deal with a great rival.

Training and strategy

Trainers and jockeys must carefully plan and execute race strategies, considering factors like pace, track conditions, and other competitors. A single miscalculation or misstep can derail a horse’s chances at the Triple Crown.


Despite the skill and talent of a horse, jockey, and trainer, unforeseen circumstances such as injuries, unfavorable weather, or bad luck can impact a race’s outcome. Anything can happen.

Given these challenges, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown in over a century of racing history: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).

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