Crowd of 45,000 expected at Kentucky Derby as horse racing’s Triple Crown go back to Louisville

Crowd of 45,000 expected at Kentucky Derby as horse racing’s Triple Crown go back to Louisville

Medina Spirit stormed to victory in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday to provide fitness instructor Bob Baffert a record seventh win in the Run for the Roses.

Under jockey John Velazquez, Medina Spirit leapt to an early lead and fended off difficulties down the stretch to cross the line initially in front of 51,838 fans in the biggest U.S. sporting event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The win was Hall of Fame jockey Velazquez’s 4th in the Triple Crown race, which returned to its normal very first Saturday in May area on the sporting calendar having been pushed to September last year due to the pandemic.

Medina Spirit won by a half-length on Saturday, providing Baffert his seventh success, the most of any fitness instructor in the race’s 147- year history.

Medina Spirit # 8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the finish line to win the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby

John Velazquez celebrates with the winners trophy after directing Medina Spirit to win the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby

Medina Spirit # 8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the finish line to win the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Mandaloun # 7, ridden by Florent Geroux, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky

Fitness instructor Bob Baffert’s horse, Medina Spirit, saw him protect his seventh Kentucky Derby win

Medina Spirit # 8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, (R) crosses the goal to win the 147 th 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

Medina Spirit # 8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, leads the field around the very first bend

Some 51,800 attended – around 100,000 less than usual, and there are safety procedures in place

Medina Spirit held off Mandaloun in the final stretch of the fastest 2 minutes in horse racing

The jockey and trainer – both Hall of Famers – collaborated 8 months ago to win a pandemic-delayed Derby in September with Authentic, who raced to an early lead and held on. That wasn’t so surprising.

This one was.

Sent at 12 -1 – astronomical odds for a colt trained by the white-haired, two-time Triple Crown winner – Medina Spirit was in a street fight thundering down the stretch.

The dark brown colt was pushed by Mandaloun on his outside. Racer Charlie was coming fast outside of Mandaloun, with 5-2 preferred Necessary Quality providing chase on the far outdoors.

‘ I kept waiting for all those horses to pass him,’ Baffert said. ‘When he got to the eighth pole, we said, ‘This guy has got a shot. ´’

Velazquez knew he had lots of horse left.

‘ We got to the 16 th pole and he put his ears down and kept fighting,’ the jockey said. ‘I was so happy with him.’

In the paddock, Baffert enjoyed in amazement as one of the least heralded Derby runners of his long profession dug in at the front.

‘ You might inform he was laying it down and Johnny was riding hard,’ Baffert stated. ‘He was simply ruthless.’

Medina Spirit led all the way and ran 1 1/4 miles in 2: 01.02 He paid $2620, $12 and $7.60

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear provides Medina Spirit owner Amr F. Zedan the Kentucky Derby Prize after the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

John Velazquez on Medina Spirit, 3rd from right, leads the pack into the very first turn of the Kentucky Derby

Medina Spirit also offered Bob Baffert a record 7th Kentucky Derby win

Racegoers at The Kentucky Oaks on the day of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday

Elaborate hats were on full display at the Kentucky Derby 147 at Churchill Downs

Velazquez earned his fourth Derby victory aboard the dark brown colt that was purchased as a yearling for $1,000 and was a bargain-basement buy at $35,000 for present owner Amr Zedan of Saudi Arabia.

‘ He doesn ´ t know just how much he cost,’ Baffert stated, ‘but what a little racehorse.’

Baffert punched his ideal arm in the air after watching the surface on the video board in the paddock. He was swarmed by his spouse, Jill, and youngest son, Bode, with celebratory hugs.

‘ I’m really, actually surprised,’ the 68- year-old trainer said.

It wasn’t false modesty. Baffert had actually been subtle about his possibilities after 2 of his best horses – Life Is Great and Show Tour – were thwarted along the Derby trail.

Medina Spirit isn’t the normal pricey skill with a fancy pedigree in Baffert’s California barn.

‘ I can not believe he won this race,’ the trainer said. ‘That little horse, that was him, all guts. He’s constantly shown that he ´ s been an overachiever. His heart is larger than his body.’

Spectators cheer after Medina Spirit, ridden by John Velazquez wins 147 th Kentucky Derby

John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit acknowledges spectators after winning the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby

Medina Spirit # 8, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, leads the field into the fourth turn on his way to winning the race

John Velazquez sprays champaign in event after guiding Medina Spirit to win the race

Medina Spirit has actually never ever completed even worse than second in 6 profession starts and 2 of his 3 losses came to Life Is Good, who likely would have been the Derby favorite had he not been hurt.

‘ I ´ ve practiced this speech in the shower and treadmill,’ Zedan stated. ‘Never thought I was going to do it, however here I am.’

Mandaloun – one of Louisville fitness instructor Brad Cox’s 2 entries – finished second and returned $2300 and 13.40 Hot Rod Charlie, partly owned by 5 former Brown University football players, was another half-length back in 3rd and paid $5.20 to show.

Important Quality, also trained by Cox, ended up fourth.

Baffert won back-to-back, having actually tied Ben Jones with his sixth triumph last year when the race was run in September without viewers due to the fact that of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘ The seven wins? I can’t think I won two,’ Baffert stated. ‘That ´ s what I enjoy about this service: Nobody understands for sure.’

John Velazquez aboard Medina Spirit (8) celebrates after winning the race at Churchill Downs

From up above, Media Spirit’s triumph is clear for all to view as the horse won by almost half a length

Fitness Instructor Bob Baffert of Medina Spirit, raises the trophy after winning the 147 th running of the Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, his seventh profession Kentucky Derby win, at Churchill Downs

Jockey John Velazquez hugs Medina Spirit in the winner’s circle after securing success

Trainer Bob Baffert, his boy Bode Baffert and other half Jill Baffert commemorate with the trophy after Medina Spirit won the race

Two females wear intense dresses with plunging neck lines along with wide-brimmed sunhats and deal with masks to finish their Kentucky Derby appearance

A maskless guest makes her way to the extremely anticipated Kentucky Derby in an easy white clothing with matching white hat

Velazquez became the very first jockey to win consecutive Derbies since Victor Espinoza in 2014-15 The 49- year-old rider likewise completed the Kentucky Oaks-Derby double for the first time since Calvin Borel in 2009, winning the $1 million race for fillies on Friday.

Velazquez had informed Baffert a night earlier not to underestimate Medina Spirit, called for the second holiest city in Islam and capital of the Medina province in Saudi Arabia.

‘ Each time I asked him for a little more, he gave me more,’ Velazquez stated.

The Derby went off on a sun-splashed day with presence of 51,838 – about 100,000 less than usual. Fans were informed to wear masks inside the track, however lots of them did not.

O Besos finished fifth, followed by Midnight Bourbon, Keepmeinmind, Helium and Understood Program. Highly Motivated was 10 th, ahead of Sainthood, Like The King, Bourbonic, Hidden Stash, Brooklyn Strong, Super Stock, Rock Your World (the 9-2 second option), Dynamic One and Soup and Sandwich.

A fashion-forward spectator matches her color-block clothing with her bedazzled bag as she makes her way to the Kentucky Derby

A spectator keeps it chicwith a black face mask to go with her outfit as she makes her way to watch the horse race at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday

A viewer keeps it simple with a yellow hat with a pink flower to go with her large multi-colored locket for the extremely expected Kentucky Derby

A Kentucky Derby participant putting on a big brim pink hat with her pilot shades wont have any problems with the sun getting in her eyes as she sees the horse race

A lady makes a serious fashion declaration with her all white clothing with a coordinating white mask and hat at the Kentucky Derby

Florals was the style of this well-dressed couple’s attire as they participate in the Kentucky Derby one year after the horse race was interfered with by the pandemic

An attendee shines brilliant in her yellow getup with matching headwear for the 147 th Kentucky Derby this weekend

Images from Louisville’s Churchill Downs shows the bourbon to be flowing once again, flowery hats back on heads and individuals back on the scene together with 19 horses.

The 147 th edition race came less than 8 months after it was run without spectators last September since of COVID-19, making it the shortest time between Derbies in history.

‘ I was wishing to enjoy my Derby win a little bit longer,’ joked trainer Bob Baffert, who earned his 6th in 2015 with Authentic.

The eerie silence that settled over Churchill Downs in 2015 when no spectators were enabled is being changed by participation of about 45,000 – some 100,000 less than usual. Masks are required. Food and drinks are all-encompassing to minimize long lines and different payments for every single deal.

With the Derby brought back to its typical day, last year’s upside down Triple Crown has actually been. The Preakness follows on May 15 and the Belmont, which started the series a year back, concludes it on June 5.

A spectator is sure to standout in the crowd with her big white flower headpiece at the 147 th Kentucky Derby

A racegoer shows of her love of horses with a flower and plume hat featuring a horse figure right at the center to compete her Kentucky Derby appearance

One viewer goes all out in a homemade, uniquely embellished hat as she carries two packed horses to see the 147 th Kentucky Derby

A spectator stays in theme with a red beard that goes with his increased match and stovepipe hat including a horse figurine with a rose in its mouth

A woman uses a fancy green and pink hat with flowers to the 147 th Kentucky Derby at Louisville, Kentucky

Three dapper gentlemen use their brightest matches to the Kentucky Derby, an occasion that is understood drawing out the pageantry amongst viewers

One lady takes a picture with her cellphone as she dons a pink, feathery hat as she attends the Kentucky Oaks race at Churchill Downs

A participant at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky wears a horse-themed hat to opt for his increased facemask

A racegoer at the 147 th Kentucky Derby wears a matching mask including a lipstick mark to opt for her red and black clothing

Attendees will be needed to use mask to get in Churchill Downs for the 147 th Kentucky Derby due to COVID issues

A lady accessorizes her flowery hat with a matching pink mas and pink tinted tones at Churchill Downs for the 147 th Kentucky Derby

Attendees in their finest clothing form a line as they make their method to get in Churchill Downs on Saturday for the 147 th Kentucky Derby

Horse race fans pose for the electronic cameras as they sport marching horse-themed outfits at Churchill Downs on Friday

An overhead shot of a lady making her method to the Kentucky Derby in her finest hat to match her easy black clothing

A viewer uses a bedazzled mask to choose her wide brim white hat to the 147 th Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky

A woman wears a black and gold mask to choose her teal hat as she makes her method to watch the races at the Kentucky Derby

A group of trendy ladies stayed up to date with Kentucky Derby tradition and wore their best outfits with matching headwear

Three males put their best foot forward and flaunt their intense and vibrant footwear to choose their cool outfits for the 47 th Kentucky Derby

A viewer makes certain she get the shot on her cellphone while she wears a large, white floral headpiece to the 147 th Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission received a grievance this week from a group of human rights lawyers and students at the University of Louisville seeking to have Sheikh Mohammed banned from the Derby over alleged human rights abuses.

A judge in England ruled that he managed the kidnappings of two of his adult daughters.

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