Ocala-bred Medina Spirit wins Kentucky Derby

 

Medina Spirit wins Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. [Coady Photography]
Ocala-bred Medina Spirit fought back after relinquishing the lead to Mandaloun at midstretch to post a half-length to win the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Bred locally by Gail Rice, the son Protonico out of the Brilliant Speed mare Mongolian Changa, sold as a yearling for $1,000 at the 2019 Ocala Breeders’ Sales winter mixed sale. He was consigned by Ocala’s Summerfield. The colt went through the 2020 OBS open sale in July where he sold for just $35,000.

The Derby earnes $1.86 million, bringing Medina Spirit’s total career earnings to more than $2.17 million.

On Saturday, Medina Spirit broke sharply from the gate but favored Essential Quality and second choice Rock Your World bumped shortly
after the start eliminating some pace pressure.

Medina Spirit led the field through fractions of :23.09, :46.70 and 1:11.21 while under mild pressure from fellow Florida-bred Soup and Sandwich with Mandaloun tracking in third.

Approaching the far turn, Hot Rod Charlie began an advance along the rail while Essential Quality mounted a bid four wide.

At the head of the stretch, Medina Spirit clung to a tenuous lead over Mandaloun with Hot Rod Charlie three wide and Essential Quality four wide. Mandaloun briefly stuck his head in front at midstretch only to have Medina Spirit regain a lead he never yielded.

Medina Spirit covered the classic mile and a quarter distance in 2:01.02.

The victory gave trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh Kentucky Derby victory and rider John Velazquez his fourth.

Baffert broke a tie with Ben Jones for most Derby victories with Saturday’s triumph. His previous wins came with Silver Charm
(1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015), Triple Crown winner Justify (2018) and Authentic (2020).

Velazquez, who won last year on Authentic had previous wins on Always Dreaming (2017) and Animal Kingdom (2011).

Mandaloun finished second and Hot Rod
Charlie finishing third. Essential Quality was fourth and followed in order by O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, Keepmeinmind,
Helium, Known Agenda, Highly Motivated, Sainthood, Like the King, Bourbonic, Hidden Stash, Brooklyn Strong, Super

Stock, Rock Your World, Dynamic One and Soup and Sandwich.

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