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Medina Spirit wins Kentucky Derby to deny Godolphin’s Essential Quality

Dubai: Medina Spirit, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by the two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, held off Mandaloun by half a length to capture the 147th Kentucky Derby in front of a limited crowd at sun-splashed Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Baffert, who won the 2020 Derby with Authentic, overtook Ben Jones for the most Derby wins by a trainer with seven. (Jones won six times between 1938 and 1952.)

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” Baffert said on NBC. “I’m so spoiled bringing these heavy-duty horses in here, and this little horse has a big heart.”

Velazquez, who rode Authentic last year, also rode the winner of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, Malathaat. It was his fourth Derby victory.

Hot Rod Charlie finished third. Godolphin’s favourite, Essential Quality, who was previously undefeated in five starts, finished fourth.

The race, which regularly brings a crowd of more than 150,000 to Churchill Downs but was run without spectators in 2020 and with limited fans in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, had an announced attendance of 51,838.