Kentucky Derby 2021: Final Results, Standings, Payouts and Replay Highlights

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

John Velazquez on Medina Spirit, third from right, leads the pack into turn one during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. Velazquez rode Medina Spirit to victory. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Medina Spirit might not have been the favorite, but he was the best horse Saturday to become the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

Medina Spirit is the winner of the @KentuckyDerby! 🏇🏆 Watch the full #KyDerby race from start to finish. #DerbyAtHome NBC Sports // @WhiteClaw https://t.co/cHYh3VgXz8

It was a winning combination of experience that led to the success as trainer Bob Baffert won his seventh career Derby while jockey John Velazquez earned the fourth victory of his career.

Though the focus before the race was on undefeated favorite Essential Quality, it was the No. 8 horse that pulled out to the early lead out of the gate at Churchill Downs. As the race progressed, Medina Spirit found a way to hold off the competition and cross the finish line in first.

Mandaloun ended in second place, while Hot Rod Charlie finished in the money with a third-place showing. Essential Quality was in fourth place. 

With a win in the first leg of the Triple Crown, Medina Spirit will have even more pressure on May 15 for the Preakness Stakes.


Final Results 

1. Medina Spirit (8)

2. Mandaloun (7)

3. Hot Rod Charlie (9)

4. Essential Quality (14) 

5. O Besos (6)

6. Midnight Bourbon (10)

7. Keepmeinmind (4)

8. Helium (12)

9. Known Agenda (1) 

10. Highly Motivated (17)

11. Sainthood (5)

12. Like The King (2)

13. Bourbonic (20)

14. Hidden Stash (13)

15. Brooklyn Strong (3)

16. Super Stock (18)

17. Rock Your World (15)

18. Dynamic One (11)

19. Soup and Sandwich (19)

20. King Fury (Scratched)

Results via NBC broadcast.



  • First: $1,860,000
  • Second: $600,000
  • Third: $300,000
  • Fourth: $150,000
  • Fifth: $90,000


Payouts* (Win, Place, Show)

1. Medina Spirit ($26.20, $12.00, $7.60)

2. Mandaloun (-, $23.00, $13.40)

3. Hot Rod Charlie (-, -, $5.20)

*Based on $2 bet

$2 Exacta (8-7): $503.60

$1 Trifecta (8-7-9): $1,696.90

$1 Superfecta (8-7-9-14): $9,456.40



Baffert was the big story after the race, putting himself in a class of his own with another successful trip to Kentucky:

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

Baffert breaks the record! Most Kentucky Derby Wins by a Trainer - All Time: Bob Baffert 7 Ben Jones 6 D. Wayne Lukas 4 Herbert J. Thompson 4 https://t.co/xqp5uP8hd1

Tim Layden @ByTimLayden

Baffert has not only won 7 Derbies, he’s won 4 of the last 7 and 3 of the last 4.

A lot of credit still goes to the horse itself as Medina Spirit excelled throughout the run.

The fight for positioning out of the gate was extremely important in such a crowded field, and Velazquez handled it perfectly to put his horse in front of the pack.

Soup and Sandwich was the early challenger, sitting on the outside of the leader while pushing the pace. By the final turn, it was the bigger names like Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie that were charging from the outside.

None of these horses were able to catch up to Medina Spirit, who led wire to wire for the thrilling victory. 

There were three undefeated horses coming into the race in Essential Quality, Helium and Rock Your World, the most since 1915. It was part of an impressive field of contenders, although Essential Quality was considered the favorite thanks to a resume that includes a win at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

The trainers also brought plenty of experience with Todd Pletcher entering four horses while other familiar faces were in the competition. Adding in quality contenders like Hot Rod Charlie and Highly Motivated and there were a lot of horses that could have won this race.

In the end, Medina Spirit was the fastest horse in the field to earn its share of the $3 million purse.

The thoroughbred's team will now have two weeks to prepare for the Preakness in the attempt to become the third Triple Crown winner in the last seven years.