While many fans were waiting to see Bob Baffert present a different horse for the Kentucky Derby 147, it was Medina Spirit that accompanied him. Fans also expected a better horse from Baffert, but Medina Spirit pushed through and won the much-awaited 2021 Kentucky Derby. Making Baffert a winner of the Derby for a record seventh time. His first victory happened more than 20 years ago in 1997 and he continued coming back for more. The winning horse took the winning title with John R. Velasquez at the reins, a four-time Derby winner.
From the start of the race, Medina Spirit took the lead and never let down. Velaquez said that there were no words to describe another win because the feeling never gets old. In second place was Mandaloun with Hot Rod Charlie in third. Baffert, who has won the Triple Crown twice, went on to say that he is the luckiest guy in the world and that Medina Spirit really has heart. The latest win serves as the second consecutive time that Baffert and Velasquez have won the race. In September 2020, the pair took the win with the colt Authentic at the Kentucky Derby 146.
The horse was initially purchased when he was a year old for $1,000 and then bought again for $35,000 last year. A cost that is considered low for the Derby and its high stakes. Baffert added that he knew the horse was training well but was ultimately surprised by the win. Furthermore, Medina Spirit was not even a top favourite at 2021’s first Triple Crown races. The win was unexpected from the little horse and made history as the Derby finally returned to its usual first Saturday in May.
The return of the Derby garnered a lot of attention and attendees as well. The guests arrived dressed to impress at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The 147th Kentucky Derby brought in about 51,838 guests to watch what is considered to be an iconic horse race. It was the biggest crowd that Churchill Downs has seen in over a year according to Derby officials.
The Kentucky Derby is better known as the Run for the Roses and is a sporting event that holds the title of being the longest-running sporting event in the U.S. According to the Kentucky Derby’s website, the race goes back to 1875 and has been going strong ever since. The 147th Kentucky Derby was host to 19 horses. The 20th contender trained by Kenny McPeek, King Fury, could not join the race due to an elevated white count and a high fever. To which McPeek advised that King Fury will rebound and that he is confident that the horse will be fine.
Medina Spirit was never among the horses thought to win the Kentucky Derby this year. Even though the little horse made history. Fans were particularly hoping to see one of Brad Cox’s two colts take the title. The trainer is native to Louisville and fans of the race wanted to see a local winner this time around. Mandaloun came very close in second place while the other favourite from Cox was Essential Quality, a grey colt that was recently named Champion 2-Year-Old Male. which finished fourth and was also a favourite for bettors invested in the race.
The surprising win came after Baffert was supposed to enter Life is Good. A horse that has a reputation for going undefeated in three consecutive starts. He was Baffert’s best bet at winning at the time but was unable to participate due to a leg injury that occurred during a workout. Baffert also said that he arrived under the radar and was only expecting to get a piece of the action, but not the full prize and glory.
With the Kentucky Derby 147 wrapped up, trainers, jockeys and horses will prepare for the next leg of the Triple Crown. The next leg will be taking place in mid-May and is sure to get fans and bettors excited to see if another underdog can grab a win.