Derby Upset! Medina Spirit Wins

Derby upset

With all attention focused on Essential Quality, Medina Spirit (12-1) put in a perfect trip, led almost the entire way, and fought off a home stretch challenge by Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie. Essential Quality made a bid on the stretch but finished fourth. In fact the run down the stretch was quite exciting, with Medina Spirit, Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie, and Essential Quality spread out four deep across the track.

The Baffert-trained colt started at 12-1. He was expected to break fast . . . and fade. In the after race commentary, the announcers speculated that other jockeys didn’t try to chase him down because they didn’t think he’d win. Until he did.

Medina Spirit was not considered trainer Bob Baffert’s best horse in the race. The colt was sold as a yearling for only $1,000, as his breeder was in financial trouble and put no reserve on him. Even last year, when he was sold to his current owner he commanded only $35,000 as a two year old.

“Medina Spirit might be overlooked because he doesn’t have a flashy pedigree or expensive price tag, but to me he has more heart than any horse in the field.

“Medina Spirit has never lost to any horse that has stared him in the eye, and if everyone else doesn’t get a picture-perfect trip on the front end, and Medina can take them head-on to a battle down the lane, then he’s got a fighting chance to win something big for all us no-pedigreed little people.”

Christy Whitman – who bought the colt from breeder Gail Rice for $1,000

Medina Spirit is a fighter who doesn’t like to be passed and he had the advantage of being ridden by Johnny Velazquez, who last year won the Derby on Authentic (also an underrated Baffert horse). Churchill Downs proved to be an excellent meet for Velazquez who also won the Kentucky Oaks on Malathaat. This was Velasquez’s fourth Kentucky Derby win and Baffert’s seventh, giving him the most Derby wins of any trainer.

One thought on “Derby Upset! Medina Spirit Wins

  1. It was a good race. I’d hoped Mandaloun…who wasn’t well regarded..would be there and he was. I had also rooted for Bourbonic, who’d won the Wood Memorial at 72-1. I confess, I wanted Bourbonic more because he was a Calumet horse. I have a soft spot in my head…and heart, for Calumet, after all, I grew up knowing the Devil Red and Blue colors had been carried by the likes of Citation, Whirlaway, et al. Calumet went bankrupt after the last of the blue bloods died, but was rescued by a Polish horse breeder who bred something other than TB’s…and now it’s back, although with different colors. Gold sergeants stripes on black background? That’s Army…I spent 21 years in, and at one time, wore those exact same stripes. But I have to admit, the racing colors of the new Calumet are pretty homely.

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