Kentucky Derby: Baffert couldn’t believe his eyes on Madina Spirit win

Its a photo finish for Madina Spirit at the Kentucky Derby at Church Downs on Sat May 1, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Jessica Kwong

Medina Spirit made history at the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday with an upset that gave trainer Bob Baffert his record seventh win in “The Run for the Roses.”

The yearling only had the sixth best odds in the race at 12-1 but took an early lead. Essential Quality, the favorite at 3-1 odds, was well off the lead early but started closing in at the half-mile mark, along with Hot Rod Charlie with odds at 5-1. Essential Quality started making the move from fifth at the three-quarter mile mark, but Medina Spirit maintained the lead. Medina Spirit also held off a late charge from Mandaloun, who finished in second place followed by Hot Rod Charlie.

Medina Spirit crossed the finish line at 2:01:02, with jockey John Velazquez. His victory was a shock to his trainer.

“I knew he was training well, but I’m really, really surprised,” Baffert said. “When I saw him on the easy lead, I kept waiting for these horses to come at him, but Johnny had him in a perfect spot. If you have him on the lead, he’ll fight.”

Baffert is the only trainer with seven Kentucky Derby wins.

Medina Spirit also boosted Velazquez’s career as one of the best jockeys in the sport. His name may sound familiar, as he won the 2020 race in September riding Authentic. Velazquez has won four Kentucky Derbys and is one of only seven jockeys to win consecutive ones.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d win four Derbys,” Velazquez said. “I never look at the numbers … I just want to come and do my job.”

The $3 million purse is distributed among the top five finishers. Medina Spirit earned $1.86 million, Mandaloun got $600,000, Hot Rod Charlie received $300,000 and Essential Quality took $100,000.

Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, typically draws more than 150,000 people for the race that is part of the Triple Crown. Due to the pandemic, the attendance this year was just 51,838. Last year, the race was run without spectators.

Here’s the Kentucky Derby 2021 finish order:

1 – Medina Spirit

2 – Mandaloun

3 – Hot Rod Charlie

4 – Essential Quality

5 – O Besos

146th Kentucky Derby report: Authentic is the real deal, finishes ahead of Tiz the Law in Run for the Roses

Authentic gets to the finish line first in the 146th Kentucky Derby Sat Sep 5, 2020 as jockey John Velazquez  rides to victory (AP News photo)

By Jessica Kwong

Against the odds, Authentic raced ahead of favorite Tiz the Law to win the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening, giving its trainer Bob Baffert a record-tying sixth Run for the Roses victory.

Authentic, at 8-1 odds, showed he was the real deal, maintaining the lead from start to finish. Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law, at 3-5 odds, attempted to overtake Authentic in the final turn but was unable to and finished second. Authentic’s upset win brought an end to Tiz the Law’s bid for the Triple Crown.

“Yes! Yes!” Baffert exclaimed from the paddock where he viewed the race on video.

Authentic, ridden by John Velazquez, completed 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.61. Mr. Big News, at 46-1 odds, finished third and Honor A. P. came in fourth.

Velazquez, who captured his third Kentucky Derby victory, said, “Obviously, Bob, from the beginning, said ‘I’ve got a good one for you.’ This is it.”

Baffert, in turn, complimented Velazquez for “the most incredible ride.”

“The training was lights out. He was fresh. He’s a good horse, he’s our No. 1 pick from the beginning, and here we are,” Baffert said. “The greatest race in the world, and I feel very blessed and fortunate.”

Baffert is now tied with Ben Jones for the most all-time Kentucky Derby wins among trainers. In addition to Authentic, Baffert trained the last two thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown, American Pharoah and Justify.

Authentic’s win was particularly meaningful for Baffert given his other horse, Thousand Words, reared in the paddock and got scratched minutes before post time. A few other thoroughbreds were scratched prior, making it a field of 15, the smallest since 1998.

The Kentucky Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, but was postponed to the first Saturday in September due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year saw a “backwards Triple Crown” with the Belmont Stakes in June, followed by the Kentucky Derby and finally the Preakness Stakes scheduled for October 3.

Tiz the Law was the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes since 1882.

Churchill Downs was without the more than 150,000 spectators who usually attend with elaborate hats and outfits. This year’s Derby was also unusual with several protest groups converging outside the Louisville venue, including Until Freedom calling for justice for Breonna Taylor, the “Black militia” NFAC and Back the Blue counter-protesters.

2020 Kentucky Derby results:

1. Authentic – 8/1 – WIN: $18.80 – PLACE: $6.00 – SHOW: $5.00

2. Tiz The Law – 3/5 – PLACE: $3.40 – SHOW: $3.20

3. Mr. Big News – 46-1 – SHOW: $16.80

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Decision at Kentucky Derby impacts the event; Warriors-Rockets could be evenly matched teams; plus more

Photo credit: apnews.com

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason:

#1 How much of an impact was the decision of the officials at the Kentucky Derby to eliminate and disqualify Maximum Security and allow Country House the winner? The first time a winning horse has ever been disqualified in 145 years.

#2 With the Golden State Warriors, you never know what team is going to show up, They handled the Houston Rockets in first two games with a four-point win in Game 1 and a six-point win in Game 2, but it was Game 3 where they lost to the Rockets by five and lost another one in game 4 on Wednesday night as the series is tied 2-2.

#3 After having two comeback victories against the Cincinnati Reds during their four-game series, the San Francisco Giants split with the Reds, losing Monday. Giants starter Drew Pomeranz got lit up in 1.2 innings, nine hits and seven runs. While striking out two batters, Pomeranz continues to labor in the 12-4 loss.

#4 The LPGA Mediheal Championship was held at Lake Merced in Daly City from April 29th through May 5th. The leaderboard showed Sei Young Kim taking the $270,000 winnings finishing on top with a par 281 on Sunday.

#5 The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche battled in Game 6. The Avs came away with a 4-3 win to tie the series in overtime 3-3, to force a Game 7, bringing the game back to San Jose.

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury Pi-Gonzalez for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast at www,sportsradioservice.com

After an objection review, Country House declared winner of the Kentucky Derby

Photo credit: @KentuckyDerby

By: Ana Kieu

For horse racing fans, the Kentucky Derby is the greatest two minutes in sports. This year’s was Country House. Last year’s winner was Justify.

Rain poured in Louisville, Ky. for about an hour before the post time. As a result, officials were forced to downgrade the track condition to sloppy for the third year in a row.

Despite a muddy track at Churchill Downs, the 65-1 Country House won the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Country House, however, was technically not supposed to be the winner. The favorite, Omaha Beach, was pulled out of the race days ago.

There was a controversial objection on the field and the officials reviewed a light touch between Maximum Security and Country House. Jockeys briefed while the judges watched replays of the race. The official results and payouts were determined after the completed objection review.

The initial winner was Maximum Security, who was immediately disqualified after the objective review. Maximum Security was 4-1.

During the objection review process, Maximum Security jockey Luis Saez told NBC that he did all he could to help his horse stay straight after he became scared of the muddy surface.

Maximum Security trainer Jason Servis said, “He straightened up right away and I don’t think it affected the outcome of the race.” Servis reportedly prayed to the racing gods.

This was the first time in Kentucky Derby history where the horse who finished first was disqualified.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Raiders’ Crowell injured in team practice, out for season; Kentucky Derby coming up, will dying horses spell an end for industry?; plus more

photo bleacherreport.com: 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. The Kentucky Derby kicks off this Saturday.

On the Headlines Sports podcast with London Marq:

#1 The Oakland Raiders’ running back Isaiah Crowell, during a team workout, suffered a season-ending injury, tearing his Achilles. Crowell is a five-year NFL veteran and played with the New York Jets last season. He was signed on with the Raiders for this season for $2.5 million.

#2 With the Kentucky Derby coming up this Saturday, all the talk has been about horses dying at Santa Anita in just seven months. Looking at the year between 2017-18, a reported 37 deaths have been reported, and the New York Times reported since 2018 to the present, the deaths have not subsided. The questions raised were why? Was it that the horses are physically driven to exhaustion on race days, was it the medications the injury-masking painkillers? Is the sport due to die out because of these horse deaths?

#3 If it wasn’t for the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees could very well be the top team in the AL East. The Yankees are just 2.5 games behind first place Tampa have won eight of their last 10 and also swept the San Francisco Giants and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks behind CC Sabathia’s 3,000 career strikeout. The Yanks lost the game, but Sabathia went down in the record books.

#4 The Oakland A’s are really off track. The club has lost six straight games. They’re coming off getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox and have three more road games with the Pittsburgh Pirates starting on Friday night at PNC Park.

#5 Could the Golden State Warriors put the Houston Rockets away? It even looks a lot easier for Golden State than it did last postseason last year when they played the Rockets. Kevin Durant (29), Klay Thompson (20), and Stephen Curry (19) were the top three scorers for Golden State in Game 3. The Warriors lead the series 2-0.

London Marq does the Headlines Sports podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com