Rock Your World Upsets Medina Spirit to Win 2021 Santa Anita Derby

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIApril 4, 2021

FILE - In this Friday, May 22, 2020, file photo, jockeys wearing face masks ride in the first horse race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. After a spike of horse deaths in 2019 and early 2020, Santa Anita had zero racing fatalities during its summer meet. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Rock Your World is heading to the Kentucky Derby with a perfect 3-0 record after pulling off a massive upset at the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.

In the three-year-old's first career start on dirt, the John Sadler-trained colt finished four lengths ahead of both Bob Baffert entries as the famed trainer finished second and fourth with favorite Medina Spirit (5-2 odds) and Defunded (8-1), respectively.

Rock Your World (4-1) picks up 100 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings with Medina Spirit notching 40 points, third-place Dream Shake (7-2) earned 20 points and Defunded added 10 points.

Here's a look at the full results and payout from Saturday's main event at Santa Anita.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

UNDEFEATED. Rock Your World dominates the Santa Anita Derby! https://t.co/U8XUgsaPao


2021 Run Happy Santa Anita Derby Payouts

Win: Rock Your World ($12.40, $4.60, $3.40)

Place: Medina Spirit ($2.80, $2.20)

Show: Dream Shake ($2.80)

Eric Crawford @ericcrawford

SANTA ANITA DERBY | Undefeated Rock Your World wins his dirt debut, pulls away from Bob Baffert-trained favorite Medina Spirit by 4 lengths. Trained by John Sadler, a huge effort by Rock Your World, time of 1:49.17. Speed checking in for #KentuckyDerby


Sadler told the NBC broadcast after the race that he was avoiding dirt races in part to stay away from Baffert's contenders.

On Saturday, the two sides finally matched up with each other only for Rock Your World to easily brush past the race's top contender. Rock Your World took an early lead, opened up a two-length gap by the third turn and couldn't be caught by the time the pack reached the homestretch.

Baffert had last year's Kentucky Derby-winning jockey, John Velazquez, riding Medina Spirit, but there was little he could do even after getting a strong break out of the gate.

Instead, it's Sadler picking up his second-ever victory at the Santa Anita Derby.

Sadler last won the event with Sidney's Candy in 2010 only for his horse to finish 17th in that year's Kentucky Derby. He'll look to finish off what Sidney's Candy started at next month's Kentucky Derby more than a decade later.

Should Rock Your World pull off another upset in Louisville, he'll become the first Santa Anita Derby winner since Justify in 2018 to capture the Run for the Roses.