Trainer Bob Baffert won his record seventh Kentucky Derby on Saturday. This time, it was 12-1 shot Medina Spirit who prevailed, with jockey John Velazquez taking him wire to wire to hold off big longshot pace-presser Mandaloun (26-1) by a half length.
The Derby favorite, Essential Quality, finished fourth and a head behind Hot Rod Charlie.
Medina Spirit has now won 3 of 6 starts and also has three runner-up finishes, including in the Santa Anita Derby. He was a leading contender for the Run for the Roses prior to the Santa Anita Derby, where he finished second as the prohibitive favorite. That moved his Kentucky Derby odds to double digits, and bettors cashed in at a bigger price.
“I cannot believe he won this race,” said Baffert. “That little horse has heart.”
The Hall of Fame trainer added, “He’s always shown that he’s an overachiever.”
Kentucky Derby betting was big on race day, and Medina Spirit rewarded his backers with a $26.20 return on a $2 win bet. The $2 exacta Medina Spirit on top of Mandaloun returned $503.60. The winning time for Medina Spirit was 2:01.02.
Medina Spirit will race next in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15. A win in that race would set his trainer up for a run at a third Triple Crown. Baffert swept the Triple Crown races with American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
Full order of finish of the 2021 Kentucky Derby field
- Medina Spirit
- Hot Rod Charlie
- Essential Quality
- O Besos
- Midnight Bourbon
- Known Agenda
- Highly Motivated
- Like the King
- Hidden Stash
- Brooklyn Strong
- Super Stock
- Rock Your World
- Dynamic One
- Soup and Sandwich
- King Fury (SCRATCH)