Medina Spirit wins 147th Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert claims historic 7th win
Medina Spirit won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon in Churchill Downs in Louisville. Jockey John Velazquez won his fourth Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert claimed the first leg of the Triple Crown and won a record seventh Run for the Roses.
Medina Spirit won by half a length over Mandaloun in a thrilling, down-the-stretch battle joined by two other horses. Hot Rod Charlie finished third.
Medina Spirit and Bob Baffert win the Kentucky Derby! pic.twitter.com/YedbatOFwr
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 1, 2021
This year’s Kentucky Derby had a more normal feel than the 2020 edition, which did not allow fans in the early months of the pandemic. Last year’s event lacked the normal in-the-moment din which usually accompanies a race of the Derby’s stature.
Last year, when Authentic — guided by trainer Bob Baffert — won the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, the trainers and owners watched from the infield at Churchill Downs, instead of watching from their normal perch in the stands with a roaring crowd. This year, a crowd close to 50,000 — which included sports superstars such as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — was on hand to witness the latest Derby in Louisville.
Half an hour before post time at Churchill Downs, Essential Quality was the betting favorite at 5-2. Rock Your World was the second choice at 9-2. Hot Rod Charlie was the third betting choice at 5-1. Highly Motivated was the fourth preference of bettors at 10-1. Known Agenda was the fifth choice at 11-1. Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon were in at 12-1. Those were the seven main Kentucky Derby contenders as measured by the betting odds. All other horses were conspicuous longshots.
With the Kentucky Derby now over, the Triple Crown race series moves to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15, at the venerable Pimlico Race Course. The Preakness is the fastest race of the three Triple Crown confrontations.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes precede the longest race in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. That final leg of the Triple Crown will be held on Saturday, June 15.
We will see if the Kentucky Derby winner goes on to win — or at least threaten for — the Triple Crown. The last Triple Crown winner was Justify in 2018.