Dubai: Medina Spirit, ridden by John Velazquez and coached by two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, held Mandaloun a half-length to capture the 147th Kentucky Derby in front of a limited crowd at sunny Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Baffert, who won the 2020 Derby with Authentic, overtook Ben Jones for the most Derby wins by coach with seven (Jones had six wins between 1938 and 1952.)
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Baffert told NBC. “I’m so blessed to bring these heavy horses here, and this little horse has a big heart.”
Velazquez, who drove Authentic last year, also raced Friday’s Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat. It was his fourth Derby victory.
Hot Rod Charlie finished third. Godolphin favorite Essential Quality, who was previously unbeaten in five starts, was fourth.
The race, which regularly brings crowds of over 150,000 to Churchill Downs but went without spectators in 2020 and with limited fans in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, had an announced attendance of 51,838.