Medina Spirit Profile

Name Medina Spirit
Born Apr 15, 2018
Age 3 years

Medina Spirit was a three-year-old American racehorse who was first past the post in the 2021 Kentucky Derby for Bob Baffert. He died of a heart attack in December 2021.

Zedan Racing Stables' Medina Spirit won the 2021 Kentucky Derby, leading from the front to claim a seventh race victory for legendary trainer Bob Baffert at odds of 12/1.

Medina Spirit won the Run for the Roses by half a length over Mandaloun, claiming the $1,860,000 top prize in the process. The race was tight, with Mandaloun passing Medina Spirit with a furlong to go.

However, Baffert's charge pushed back to give the legendary trainer another shot at Triple Crown success. John Velazquez was in the saddle.

However, during the weekend after the race, it was reported that Medina Spirit had tested positive for 21 picograms of the anti-inflammatory drug betamethasone, which is over the permitted amount. If the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and Mandaloun declared the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Medina Spirit ran in the Preakness Stakes on May 15 in a bid for the Triple Crown, but he fell short, with the pre-race favourite finishing third behind Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon.

Medina Spirit won a Listed heat at Del Mar and the Grade One Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita before chasing home Knicks Go in last month's Breeders' Cup Classic in what transpired to be his final race.

2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby

Medina Spirit ran in four Kentucky Derby qualifiers. The colt picked up his first set of Derby qualifying points when he finished second in the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on January 2.

In that race, he registered a career-high 109 Speed Figure. The colt broke quickly under rider Abel Cedillo from the inside before charging two-wide around the first turn. He continued to run off the inside before angling outside in the final 16th. He kept gaining ground but finished second.

The Sham Stakes was won by Life Is Good, another name on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby, with Parnelli in third. Medina Spirit's runner-up effort saw him awarded four qualifying points.

Medina Spirit's next set of points came when he won the January 30 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.

Joined by Abel Cedillo once again, he set the pace from the inside. He continued to move forward past the 5/16th pole before being challenged in the upper stretch. The colt was able to maintain the lead through the final furlong to cross the line first.

Second spot was taken by Roman Centurian, followed by Hot Rod Charlie in third. Both runners are Kentucky Derby contenders. Medina Spirit picked up 10 more Derby qualifying points with his victory.

Next time out, he finished second in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. The race offered Derby qualifying points on a higher scale of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.

Guided by John Velazquez this time out, he chased three wide early before stalking off the rail. He left the far turn two-wide before outrunning everyone in the field except for winner Life Is Good. Third place in the race was taken by Dream Shake.

With his second-place run in the San Felipe, Medina Spirit picked up 20 more qualifying points to bring his total to 34.

Medina Spirit then picked up 40 points by finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, behind Rock Your World. This took Medina Spirit's points total to 74, ensuring qualification for the Kentucky Derby by finishing eighth in the standings.

A winning debut for Medina Spirit

Medina Spirit only had one race outside of the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby trail - his debut win in a maiden special weight event at Los Alamitos Thoroughbred on December 11, 2020.

In that debut race, Medina Spirit was the third betting choice under rider Abel Cedillo. He moved up early outside the leader before taking a short lead at the three-eighths. He moved away from his rivals, continued to expand his lead in the stretch, and crossed the line first. Medina Spirit was followed by First Class Dad in second and Kennebec in third.

Medina Spirit's connections

Medina Spirit was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who had multiple runners on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. However, by race day, they had all fallen by the wayside, meaning Medina Spirit was his only entrant. Baffert has a career record of more than 3,100 wins with purse earnings above $320million.

Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby on several occasions

Baffert won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2015. He already has plenty of Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown experience with victories in multiple editions of the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby dating back to 1997.

Medina Spirit's stablemates included Charlatan, Concert Tour, Life Is Good, Hozier, Kalypso and Spielberg. Baffert is having a strong 2021 campaign with more than 35 victories so far.

Medina Spirit is owned by Zedan Racing Stables Inc, a multiple graded stakes-winning owner. The ownership have earnings above $3million. They are not as prestigious as some of the other owners, but are responsible for names like Princess Noor, Tyfosha, Shane Zain and Gracida, as well as Medina Spirit. Winning the Kentucky Derby has undoubtedly boosted their profile.

The colt's regular rider was John Velazquez, but he has been guided by Abel Cedillo for a number of races. Cedillo was aboard Medina Spirit for his runner-up effort in the Sham Stakes, Robert B. Lewis Stakes win, and debut race. Velazquez had the call for the more recent San Felipe Stakes as well as for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Velazquez is a multiple graded stakes-winning jockey with a career record of more than 6,200 race wins. He has ridden in more than 34,500 races and has over $436million in purse earnings.

Medina Spirit's pedigree

Medina Spirit is a three-year-old colt from Protonico and Mongolian Changa by Brilliant Speed.

Sumaya US Stable's Protonico is a Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway. He was trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and retired with a career record of 7-1-2 from 16 starts with earnings of $997,587.

The last performance of his career was a third-place run in the 2016 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, and some of his notable victories include the 2015 Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs and the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.

Besides Medina Spirit, Protonico's leading progeny includes El Sobreviviente, Mountain Bear, Wild Demir and Venus Island.

Owner and trainer Wayne Rice's Mongolian Changa was a Kentucky-bred mare from Brilliant Speed. She retired with a record of 1-0-2 from six career starts and earnings of $25,970.

Her last race before retirement was a sixth-place run in a 2016 allowance optional claiming event at Presque Isle Downs. She never ran in a stakes race.

Brilliant Speed was a son of Dynaformer and owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Thomas Albertrani.

He retired with a career record of 3-3-7 from 21 starts and earnings of $1.2million. His biggest performance was a third-place run in the 2011 Belmont Stakes and he also finished third in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf.

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