Medina Spirit wins the 147th Kentucky Derby

147th Kentucky Derby

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – MAY 01: Medina Spirit #8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Mandaloun #7, ridden by Florent Geroux, and Hot Rod Charlie #9 ridden by Flavien Prat, at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky

On May 1st, 2021 the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race took place, starting the three race series known as the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby went back to its traditional race on the first Saturday in May after having to postpone it in 2020 due to COVID after the global pandemic threw the horse racing schedule out the window with the rest of the sports world in 2020. Instead of being in May, the Kentucky Derby took place in September. It is traditionally the first race of the three race series but ended up being the second one last year.

Churchill Downs in Kentucky was capped at 50% capacity for this year’s Kentucky Derby after the race took place with no spectators, due to COVID in 2020. The attendance was announced at 51,838, making it the largest sporting event in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic.

Entering the race, Essential Quality was the clear favorite. He entered the race undefeated dating back to September 5th of 2020 making him 5-0. Although heavily favored, Essential Quality would go onto finish the race in 4th place. Medina Spirit started out by leading the race and never let off the gas. Entering the race, Medina Spirit had 12-1 odds.  This was one of the tightest races in the past 16 years but Medina Spirit pulled it out.

Medina Spirit won the race being ridden by jockey John Velazquez. This win gave Velazquez his fourth Kentucky Derby victory, putting him in second place for all time wins, only one win away from tying jockeys Eddie Arcaro. “There’s no words to describe it,” Velazquez said. “This doesn’t get old.”

“That little horse has got such a big heart,” said trainer Bob Baffert following the race. Bob Baffert has now won a record breaking seventh Kentucky Derby. “I just can’t believe it. It hasn’t sunken in yet. I love the record and all that, but it’s one of those things where I’m just so thrilled because when you win it, you never know if you’re going to be back. I couldn’t be prouder of my team.”

The next race in the three race series, the Triple Crown, is Preakness Stakes, which will be held on May 15th.