Medina Spirit Wins the 2021 Kentucky Derby
Jockey John Velazquez and Medina Spirit were victorious at the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky
The 2021 Kentucky Derby has come and gone in a matter of minutes.
Jockey John Velazquez and Medina Spirit won the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, defeating 19 other horses to secure the win, including the favorite Essential Quality.
With Medina Spirit's win, trainer Bob Baffert broke the record for most Derby wins with seven. "I'm the luckiest guy in the world," Baffert said after the race, adding, "That little horse has heart ... he won today, he doesn't know how much he costs but he was a little race horse today."
Meanwhile, the victory marked Velazquez's fourth Derby win. "There's no words to describe it," he said after his win. "What an incredible feeling man this doesn't get old. I want to come back next year again."
The derby — a 1 ¼-mile race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky — is the first leg of the American Triple Crown. It will be followed by the Preakness Stakes on May 15, and finally, the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Ahead of the race, experts favored horses Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda and Hot Rod Charlie to lead the pack.
Derby fans were allowed back at Churchill Downs for the race for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The 2020 derby was initially postponed, before ultimately happening far from its traditional May date, in September.
The venue was at diminished capacity, and fans were required to wear masks and socially distance themselves.
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"The health and safety of our entire community, including our team and our fans, is always our primary concern and we remain focused on following sound and proven health and safety protocols while working toward the best experience possible for our guests," the derby organizers said in a statement on the event's website ahead of Saturday.