Medina Spirit goes wire-to-wire to win 2021 Kentucky Derby

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Medina Spirit put up a wire-to-wire effort to win the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

He set off at 12-1 odds and pushed the pace early. Mandaloun and Florent Geroux gave chase, but Medina Spirit outlasted him to the wire. Last year’s Champion 2-Year-Old Male and early Derby favorite Essential Quality finished in 4th.

This is a record seventh Kentucky Derby win for his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who also won last year’s Derby with Authentic.

“If you have him on the lead, he’ll fight,” Baffert told NBC Sports’ Kenny Rice after the race.

Baffert was previously tied with Ben Jones for most Derby wins by a trainer.

John Velazquez had the ride about 25 hours after winning the 147th Kentucky Oaks aboard Malathaat. Velazquez also rode Authentic to Derby victory last year. This is his fourth Kentucky Derby win.

The Florida-bred colt was originally bought for a mere $1,000 as a yearling before being purchased by Zedan Racing Stables last July.

Medina Spirit paid $26.20 to win, $12.00 to place and $7.60 to show. Mandaloun (26-1) paid $23.00 to place and $13.40 to show. Hot Rod Charlie (5-1) paid $5.20 to show.

Bourbonic, who finished 13th, was ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, the first Black Kentucky Derby jockey since 2013. 14th-place finisher Hidden Stash’s trainer Vicki Oliver was the first woman to saddle a Derby horse since 2015.

Mike Smith, who finished 6th aboard Midnight Bourbon, rode in his record-breaking 27th Kentucky Derby, ending the tie he held with legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker for most Derby rides of all time.

Medina Spirit is likely to be pointed to the Preakness Stakes next. The second leg of the Triple Crown sets off from Pimlico in two weeks on Saturday, May 15.

Full order of finish in the 2021 Kentucky Derby:

  1. Medina Spirit
  2. Mandaloun
  3. Hot Rod Charlie
  4. Essential Quality
  5. O Besos
  6. Midnight Bourbon
  7. Keepmeinmind
  8. Helium
  9. Known Agenda
  10. Highly Motivated
  11. Sainthood
  12. Like the King
  13. Bourbonic
  14. Hidden Stash
  15. Brooklyn Strong
  16. Super Stock
  17. Rock Your World
  18. Dynamic One
  19. Soup and Sandwich
  20. King Fury (SCRATCH)

Watch the Preakness on Saturday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7:15 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.