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Kentucky Derby 2021 Video: Replay Highlights, Race Results and Breakdown

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2021

John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit leads Florent Geroux on Mandaloun and Flavien Prat riding Hot Rod Charlie to win 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

Medina Spirit captured the 2021 Kentucky Derby, giving trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh win at horse racing's biggest race.

It was a shocking wire-to-wire victory for the 12-1 Medina Spirit, a horse once purchased for just $1,000—a pittance in the high-cost horse racing world. But the three-year-old colt managed to stave off pre-race favorites Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie down the stretch for the victory.

Essential Quality, undefeated in five races before Saturday, came in fourth. Hot Rod Carlie was third. Mandaloun, another relatively unheralded horse, finished just behind Medina Spirit in second. 

 

Results (Post)

1. Medina Spirit (8)

2. Mandaloun (7)

3. Hot Rod Charlie (9)

4. Essential Quality (14) 

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9. Known Agenda (1) 

10. Highly Motivated (17)

11. Sainthood (5)

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20. King Fury (Scratched)

 

Baffert was elated after the victory—one that not even he expected coming into the race.

"I knew he was training well, but I'm really surprised—when I saw him on an easy lead, I kept waiting for these horses to come at him," Baffert said on NBC. "But Johnny had him in the perfect spot, and if you have him on the lead, he'll fight. When those horses came to him—I cannot believe he won this race. This little horse, that's him—he was all guts.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I'm so spoiled bringing these heavy-duty horses in here, but that little horse he's got a heart, such a big heart."

Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, Lucien Laurin, H. A. Jones, Ben A. Jones and Herbert John Thompson are the only trainers who have won the Kentucky Derby in consecutive years. Baffert became the first trainer to pull off the feat twice Saturday.

The 68-year-old has won four times at Churchill Downs since 2015. With seven Preakness Stakes and three Belmont Stakes also in his trophy case, Baffert has established himself as the greatest trainer in horse racing history.