Medina Spirit went wire-to-wire in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs to give trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh victory in the Run for the Roses.
Jockey John Velazquez sent Medina Spirit to the lead and the horse that was a yearling purchase for $1,000 didn’t let anyone go by him.
— BetUS Sportsbook & Casino (@BetUS_Official) May 1, 2021
Four Horses Battle to Finish
The finish was thrilling as four horses battled to the wire but no one was getting past Medina Spirit on this day. No one.
The margin at the finish was a half-length over Mandaloun. Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality were a length back of the victor.
“That little horse has got a heart, such a big heart,” Baffert said. “What a little racehorse. He was all racehorse today He’s always shown he’s an overachiever. His heart is bigger than his body. I didn’t know he had it in him,”
The trainer added Velazquez told him Friday night not to underestimate the horse.
Many bettors did as he went off at 12-1 and paid $26.20 to win and topped a $503.60 exacta over Mandaloun.
Medina Spirit and Bob Baffert win the Kentucky Derby! pic.twitter.com/YedbatOFwr
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 1, 2021
$1,000: Price for Medina Spirit as a yearling.
$35,000: Price for Medina Spirit as a two year old.
$50,000: Price to enter and race Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby.
$2.17 million: Medina Spirit’s career earnings with today’s Derby win.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 1, 2021
Baffert Had Reservations about Medina Spirit
Medina Spirit came into the Kentucky Derby with a 2-3-0 record in five career races but lost by 4¼ lengths to Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3. Rock Your World finished 17th as the second choice in the Kentucky Derby.
Before the race, the trainer wasn’t bubbling with enthusiasm about his horse’s chances.
Baffert said he’d place Medina Spirit among the “top five or 10” contenders for the Derby — not quite the tout of horses such as American Pharoah (2015) or Justify (2018) who won the Run for the Roses for Baffert as post-time favorites.
This marks back-to-back victories for Velazquez and Baffert. For the jockey, it was his fourth Derby triumph.
Up next is the Preakness Stakes on May 15 at Pimlico in Maryland.