Medina Spirit helped put the spirit back in the Kentucky Derby.
As the field of 19 horses came down the stretch in the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the roar from a crowd of 51,838 once again echoed from the stands, with spectators back in attendance after a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They watched as Medina Spirit, after establishing an early lead, held off Mandaloun by a half length to win the Run for the Roses with a time of 2:01:02.
It had been said leading up to the race that Medina Spirit, once purchased for the small sum of $1,000, had never been passed by another horse. That held mostly true on Saturday, as the three-year-old led nearly wire-to-wire, with Mandaloun at 26-1 odds only briefly taking a lead that Medina Spirit would quickly take back.
The victory was the seventh for trainer Bob Baffert, breaking the previous record held by Ben Jones. Baffert now has won four of the previous seven Derbies, including two straight after his win in 2020 with Authentic.
It was the fourth Derby win for jockey John Velazquez, who also rode Authentic to victory last year. With the victory, Medina Spirit won a $1,860,000 purse.
Mandaloun, at 26-1 odds, took second. Hot Rod Charlie, at 5-1 odds, finished third to round out the trifecta. Essential Quality, the favorite at 5-2 odds, came in fourth.
Jockey Mike Smith competed in his 27th Kentucky Derby, breaking the record held by Bill Shoemaker, while riding Midnight Bourbon to a sixth-place finish. Smith was attempting to become the oldest Derby winner at 55 years old.
8 - Medina Spirit Win: $26.20 Place: $12.00 Show: 7.60
7 - Mandaloun Place: 23.00 Show: $13.40
9 - Hot Rod Charlie: Show: $5.20
$2.00 Exacta 8-7 $503.60
$1.00 Trifecta 8-7-9 $1,696.90
$1.00 Superfecta 8-7-9-14 $9,456.40
Order of Finish:
1. Medina Spirit (8)
2. Mandaloun (7)
3. Hot Rod Charlie (9)
4. Essential Quality (14)
5. O Besos (6)
6. Midnight Bourbon (10)
7. Keepmeinmind (4)
8. Helium (12)
9. Known Agenda (1)
10. Highly Motivated (17)
11. Sainthood (5)
12. Like The King (2)
13. Bourbonic (20)
14. Hidden Stash (13)
15. Brooklyn Strong (3)
16. Super Stock (18)
17. Rock Your World (15)
18. Dynamic One (11)
19. Soup And Sandwich (19)
20. King Fury (SCR)
The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, will run on May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.
Mike Gavin contributed to this story