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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.