Kentucky Derby 2021: Race Replay, Highlights Analysis and Prize Money Info

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMay 2, 2021

Jockey John Velazquez, left, watches as trainer Bob Baffert holds up the winner's trophy after they victory with Medina Spirit in the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Entering Saturday, trainer Bob Baffert was a six-time Kentucky Derby champion and jockey John Velazquez was a three-time Derby winner. Together, they were looking to add yet another victory in the Run for the Roses to their impressive (and growing) lists of career accolades.

Add one more to their lengthy resumes.

Velazquez rode Medina Spirit to victory in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, helping Baffert break a tie with Ben Jones for the most all-time Derby wins as a trainer. Medina Spirit didn't have the best odds, entering the race at 12-1, yet he went wire-to-wire for the victory.

It's the second straight year that Baffert and Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby, as they were both part of Authentic's victory in 2020. So it's clear that these two know how to get things done at Churchill Downs.

This year's Derby lived up to the event's billing as the "most exciting two minutes in sports." Here's a look back at Saturday's race.


Race Replay

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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


2021 Kentucky Derby Prize Money, Top Finishers

1. Medina Spirit ($1.86 million)

2. Mandaloun ($600,000)

3. Hot Rod Charlie ($300,000)

4. Essential Quality ($150,000)

5. O Besos ($90,000)

Entering this year's race, there had been eight Kentucky Derby winners to come from the No. 8 post. However, it had been more than a decade since a horse had won from there, with Mine That Bird in 2009 being the last.

It quickly became clear in the 2021 Derby that Medina Spirit was going to have a chance to end that small drought for the No. 8 gate, as the colt broke strong from the post and quickly took the lead during the opening stretch of the race. The pack of horses at the front were tight for a bit, but Medina Spirit had a clear lead through the first turn.

Medina Spirit maintained his lead down the backstretch with a pair of 26-1 long shots (Soup and Sandwich and Mandaloun) running second and third behind him. Helium (another long shot at 38-1) was in fourth and right there with the lead three horses at that point.

Going through the final turn, Mandaloun made his move. He pulled into second place and was neck and neck with Medina Spirit as the horses entered the final stretch of the race. While several other horses were close, it became a battle for the win between these two colts.

While Mandaloun tried to push past Medina Spirit, he was unsuccessful. Medina Spirit cruised down the final stretch (just as he had done at the beginning of the race) and went on to secure the victory, finishing with a time of 2 minutes, 1.02 seconds.

"I just can't believe it; it hasn't sunken it yet," Baffert said on the NBC broadcast moments after his record-setting seventh Derby win. "I love the record and all that, but you know what, it's one of those things where I'm just so thrilled, because when you win it, you never know if you're ever going to be back, because it's so difficult."

Baffert didn't have to wait long at all between his past two Kentucky Derby wins. Authentic won the race last September, as it had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Only eight months later, Baffert is again a Derby champion with a new horse.

Medina Spirit has never finished worse than second through six career races. Despite that, there wasn't much hype surrounding the colt, as he was coming off a second-place finish at the Santa Anita Derby (where he finished behind Rock Your World) and there were numerous horses with better Kentucky Derby odds than him.

Yet, Medina Spirit was the clear top horse Saturday, as he dominated the Derby from the beginning.

While Mandaloun came up short, it was still an impressive showing by one of the two Brad Cox-trained horses in the field. Most of the attention was on Essential Quality leading up to the race, as many believed the betting favorite could make Cox the first Louisville-born trainer to win the Kentucky Derby.

Essential Quality never made it to the front of the pack, but he still ended up fourth. Meanwhile, it was Mandaloun that nearly overtook Medina Spirit heading into the final stretch of the race and posted a strong runner-up finish.