On Saturday, Medina Spirit won the 147th Kentucky Derby, which saw fans return to Churchill Downs, after a year-long absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three-year-old racehorse, trained by two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, was led to victory by two-year-old John R. Velazquez, beating Essential Quality, who was the favorite to win. Medina Spirit’s odds of victory as the race approached were 12-1.
Mandaloun – ridden by jockey Florent Geroux – came in second. And third place went to Hot Rod Charlie, the Dark Bay colt ridden by Flavien Prat.
Medina Spirit’s triumph took Baffert to the top, in terms of Derby wins by a coach, with seven. Velazquez was coming off another major victory on Friday at the Kentucky Oaks competition, atop the undefeated American Thoroughbred, Malathaat.
While the Kentucky Derby typically draws a crowd of over 150,000 people, today’s event was held at a limited capacity, with only 51,838 spectators in attendance. At sporting events, socially distant spectators were required to wear masks when not eating or drinking, although some of the participants reportedly refused to comply.
After a year which saw the Derby held in the absence of fans, it has returned to its usual place on the calendar this year, with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes the other two races that must be won in order to claim the coveted Triple Crown. Preakness issues is scheduled for May 15, with Belmont Stakes on June 5.