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Kentucky Derby champ Medina Spirit wins in comeback for Baffert

kentucky derby

DEL MAR, Calif. — Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit held off Rock Your World in the stretch to win the $100,000 Shared Belief by 1 1/4 lengths on Sunday at Del Mar for embattled trainer Bob Baffert.

Medina Spirit raced for the first time since finishing third as the 9-5 favorite in the Preakness on May 15, days after the colt’s medication positive from the Derby on May 1 was revealed by Baffert.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Medina Spirit ran a mile in 1:37.29. He paid $3.80, $2.40 and $2.10 at 4-5 odds.

“It’s a relief. I was a little nervous today,” Baffert said. “It just shows the class that he has and determination. This is the reason he won the Kentucky Derby, he’s that good a horse.”

Sent off at 8-5, Rock Your World returned $2.80 and $2.20. The colt, who beat Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby in April, finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Belmont Stakes.

“He ran a huge race,” jockey Umberto Rispoli said. “He got beat by the winner of the Kentucky Derby. What are you going to do? I can’t ask anything more of my horse.”

Iowa Derby winner Stilleto Boy paid $3.80 to show.

Medina Spirit tested positive for the corticosteroid betamethasone, which is not allowed on race day in Kentucky. His Derby victory remains the subject of a court battle.

Baffert said the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Sept. 25 or the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 2 are possibilities for Medina Spirit’s next start.