Restrepo Planning a Different Party at Preakness 148

May 15, 2023

Ramiro Restrepo with his buddy, Mage, in the stall at the Pimlico Stakes Barn reserved for the Kentucky Derby winner. (Jim McCur/MJC)

Winning Kentucky Derby ‘Like Your Mick Jagger’

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

BALTIMORE, Md. – Ramiro Restrepo showed up at the 2005 Preakness Stakes (G1) in a rented yellow school bus with a bunch of friends from the University of Maryland.

“From College Park to Baltimore,” recalled Restrepo of the ’05 Preakness, won by Afleet Alex. “We loaded on that thing. Tons of beer.”

This year?

“I won’t be in that party,” Restrepo said with a laugh.

As one of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage’s four core owners, Restrepo will likely show up in something a little fancier to see if his colt can win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

“I’ve been to at least a dozen Preaknesses,” Restrepo said. “But my favorite was the Sunday Silence-Easy Goer one in 1989, which I watched on TV.”

Restrepo, 44, is a lifelong racing fan who attributes his interest in the sport to a long list of family members who were involved in racing. A grandfather rode horses in Colombia in the 1930s and two uncles served as grooms and hotwalkers in New York.

“I was born in Jersey and my first memories going to the track were going to Belmont Park, and my grandfather showing me Kelso and Forego when they were paraded,” he said.

When Restrepo was a young child growing up in Miami, his parents took him to Hialeah Park on weekends, even though Florida law at that time prevented minors from attending. They got around the ban by parking their red Volvo outside the fence at the first turn, plopping the young Restrepo up on the hood, and watching from a distance.

In 1988, on the first day when the racing ban involving minors was lifted, Restrepo was one of the first through the turnstiles at Gulfstream Park. The track photographer gathered the kids in the winner’s circle after the first race and took their picture.

“It was my playground,” Restrepo said of the tracks.

Restrepo went to the University of Miami and after graduating in 2000, went to work the nightlife scene on Miami Beach. “We promoted, we marketed, we managed, and we owned nightclubs,” he said.

But Restrepo couldn’t resist the allure of racing, and it was about this time a year ago that he and Gustavo Delgado Jr. were high-bidders on a Good Magic colt at the Mid-Atlantic May Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. They paid $290,000 – above their budget – for the horse they would eventually name Mage.

They sold part of their ownership interest in Mage to Sterling Racing LLC and Commonwealth, then turned the colt over to Delgado’s father, Venezuelan-born trainer Gustavo Delgado. The colt made his debut on the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup Handicap undercard at Gulfstream, winning his maiden by 3 ¾ lengths, returned in February to finish fourth in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), and punched his Kentucky Derby ticket on April 1 with a strong second-place finish behind Forte in the Florida Derby (G1).

Restrepo said it’s been the ride of a lifetime.

“Nothing prepares you,” Restrepo said of watching Mage win the Kentucky Derby and then reveling in the aftermath. “The feeling of crossing the wire first, and then the explosion of things that comes after.”

Restrepo said getting from the grandstand to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs was a surreal feeling.

“I was getting tackled by buddies like it was a rugby match, mosh-pitting and whooping and hollering,” he said. “Then the horse comes over, he’s got the roses, (jockey Javier Castellano) is throwing roses in the air. People are screaming. People are crying. You’re thinking, ‘Where am I?’ It’s like you’re floating out of body. You’re being feted like we’re celebrities. It’s like you’re Mick Jagger.”

It was nothing like riding a yellow school bus to Pimlico Race Course. This time, he’ll come first class.

Great read! Thanks @jonathanstettin Feels like you’re sitting across the table breaking down the day with the expert…

Scott Raymond (@onehorsestable) View testimonials



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