Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won his seventh Kentucky Derby (G1) with Medina Spirit taking the field gate to wire under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Sent off at 12-1 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, the colt set the early fractions, turned for home with a major threat from 26-1 longshot Mandaloun who appeared to get his nose in front briefly, and the winner battled on to prevail by a half-length, returning his backers $26.20 to win.
Among his backers were Turf ‘n’ Sport subscribers as Medina Spirit was my top pick in the race
Mandaloun completed a $2 exacta that paid $503.60. Hot Rod Charlie checked in third and the betting favorite Essential Quality raced wide throughout and finished evenly in a fourth-place finish.
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Baffert broke a tie with Ben Jones for most Kentucky Derby victories. His previous wins came with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) and Authentic (2020).
“This little horse coming in here, he’s always shown he’s an overachiever,” Baffert said. “His heart is bigger than his body. When he turned for home, something just told me. This horse, the way he ran, I didn’t know he had it in him. Johnny Velazquez is unbelievable.”
Medina Spirit Wins 147th Kentucky Derby
Velazquez decided the best strategy was sending his colt and he was able to set fractions of :23.09, :46.70 and 1:11.21 while under mild pressure from Soup and Sandwich with Mandaloun looming just off the lead.
Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality were sitting third and fourth as they turned for home and looked as if they might get to the pacesetter, but Medina Spirit battled on gamely to prevail.
“Every time I asked him to give more he kept fighting on,” Velazquez said. “You couldn’t ask for more of a horse. When you ride a horse like this who is competitive you can’t ask for anything else.”
The victory was worth $1,860,000 and increased Medina Spirit’s earnings to $2,175,200 with a record of three wins and three seconds in six career starts.
147th Kentucky Derby Payoffs
8 Medina Spirit $26.20 $12.00 $7.60
7 Mandaloun $23.00 $13.40
9 Hot Rod Charlie $5.20
$2 Exacta 8-7 $503.60
$2 Trifecta 8-7-9 $3,393.80
$0.50 Trifecta 8-7-9 $848.45
$1 Superfecta 8-7-9-14 $9,456.40
$1 Super High Five 8/7/9/14/6 $296,769.59
$2 Daily Double 3/8 $52.80
$2 Daily Double 5/8 $125.20
$0.50 Pick 3 4/3/8 $73.15
$0.50 Pick 3 4/5/8 $163.05
$0.50 Pick 4 5/4/3, 5/8 $708.15
$0.50 Pick 5 2, 3/5/4/3, 5/8 $2,974.85
$0.20 Pick 6 4/2, 3/5/4/3, 5/8 $1,363.90
$2 Kentucky Oaks/Derby Double 10/8 $95.80