News and STORIES
Medina Spirit Wins Seventh Kentucky Derby For Trainer Bob Baffert
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Monday May 03, 2021
History was made in the 147th Kentucky Derby this past weekend, as Bob Baffert won the famous race for a record seventh time in his illustrious career. He is now the standalone most successful trainer in the history of the race, as John Valazquez rode Medina Spirit to glory in the Run for the Roses.
Medina Spirit Makes All Running
Medina Spirit was in excellent form at Churchill Downs, as he led from the first furlong to win the race wire-to-wire. The three-year-old took apart his rivals and batted off every challenger that tried to take the lead. It was an exceptional ride by Valazquez, but Baffert was quick to pile the praise on the horse, as he labeled the winner of the Kentucky Derby as an "overachiever." Baffert also praised the "heart" of the winner and admitted that he was "surprised" by the result.
Earlier in the week, Baffert had played down the chances of his runner. However, he looked anything other than an underdog on Saturday, as his rivals weren't able to get near the three-year-old. He was challenged for the lead down the final stretch, but his desire was clear for all to see as he continued to find new gears to hold off the challengers, which were mounting down the final stretch.
Medina Spirit officially won by a margin of half a length from Mandaloun, who also put in an excellent display. However, Mandaloun just couldn't get around the eventual winner. Hot Rod Charlie finished third but also couldn't find the pace to get closer to the leader. Essential Quality for trainer Brad Cox had been the clear favorite in the betting for the big race. However, his chances were impacted in the opening stages, as he was bumped twice when coming out of the stalls.
He stayed on strongly, but like the other two that finished ahead of him, he failed to show the pace to get close enough to challenging the Baffert-trained horse. O'Besos finished in fifth, while Midnight Bourbon and Keepmeinmind finished the race in sixth and seventh.
Malathaat Remains Perfect
The Kentucky Oaks was the other featured race that took place at Churchill Downs this past weekend. Malathaat, trained by Todd Pletcher, went into the race as the clear favorite in the betting and looked excellent when winning by a neck from Search Results. The victory was all the more special for connections, as it came just a month after the death of Shadwell Stable founder Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Malathaat showed the desire of a champion throughout the Oaks, as she traveled strongly throughout the contest. She was third with two furlongs remaining of the contest before finally getting her nose ahead shortly afterwards. She collided with Search Results with just over 100 yards remaining before she showed a quick turn of foot to make sure of the win. The bump looked to have cost Search Results her momentum, as she was never able to build up the pace required to lay down a challenge in the final 100 yards.
Malathaat won by a neck, while the remainder of the field crossed the line over two lengths behind the front two. Will's Secret took third by a nose from Clairiere. However, neither had the pace to truly trouble the front runners. Travel Column finished two and a half lengths behind Clairiere, while Millefeuille and Maracuja finished the Oaks in sixth and seventh, respectively.