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Medina Spirit went straight to the front and held off all challengers in a gutsy front running triumph in the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1.

Medina Spirit, an overachieving $35,000 son of Protonico, out of Brilliant Speed mare Mongolian Changa, paid $26.20 to win and completed the mile and a quarter journey in 2:01.02. He was ridden by John Velazquez and is owned by Zadan Racing Stables. Bob Baffert was the winning trainer an this was his seventh Kentucky Derby winner.

Mandaloun was 2nd for trainer Brad Cox, and my top choice Hot Rod Charlie finished 3rd. Post time favorite Essential Quality was 4th and O Besos completed the Super High 5.

Complete order of finish:

1st – Medina Spirit – Made all the running under Johnny V. He is tenaciousness is his biggest attribute, and when he can hit the front he is tough to pass. The top contenders were evenly matched and any edge can make all the difference, and once Medina Spirit cleared the field he proved an elusive target.

2nd – Mandaloun – Risen Star hero had a head-scratching performance in the LA Derby. His morning activity leading up to the Derby was promising and he ran to his works on the first Saturday in May. He stalked inside, edged out and confronted Medina Spirit, and battled with that one the entire length of the stretch but could not get by.

3rd – Hot Rod Charlie – Stalked in traffic, settled into a nice rhythm, swung out in the stretch and had dead aim on the two leaders and just held 3rd.

4th – Essential Quality – Covered more ground than the top three finishers and might have been the difference between winning and losing. He was bumped at the start and was in striking position throughout, and had every chance in the lane but could not quite do enough. He just missed 3rd and the slightly shorter Preakness trip might help his cause.

5th – O Besos – Rallied from 12th to complete the Super High 5. He was no threat to the top four but was hardly disgraced as one of my live longshots. It looks like his connections will take a step back and look for some softer spots.

6th – Midnight Bourbon – Was bumped early and raced wide, floated wider in the lane and passed a handful of horses in a better than appears effort. The Preakness makes sense and he is a dangerous player in Baltimore if his connections go in that direction.

7th – Keepmeinmind – Went last to 7th and that really is the best he could have hoped for. He just has no early speed and is always at the mercy of the pace.

8th – Helium – Had not run since March 6 and did not fare poorly at all. He stalked from 4th and slowly weakened. He has some ability but this was not the spot to show it.

9th – Known Agenda – Probably lost this one at the post draw. His trip was not terrible from the rail but you do not want to break from the inside in a field this size. He was just too far back and ran just fine considering the race did not set up for him. The Belmont Stakes was always the Triple Crown race with his name on it.

10th – Highly Motivated – Was not able to get into the forward position they would have liked breaking from an outer post. He made a bit of a move before flattening out in a race that was probably too far for him.

11th- Sainthood – Just too inexperienced for a race like this. He saved ground from a striking position and weakened.

12th – Like the King – Bumped at the start and never seriously threatened.

13th – Bourbonic – Lightning did not strike twice for the Wood Memorial bomber. He had zero speed and never had a shot from the outside post.

14th – Hidden Stash – Was wide early and never made an impact.

15th – Brooklyn Strong – Completely unprepared to compete in a race like this. He was jostled around early and sort of ran in place.

16th – Super Stock – He was wide and no threat from an outer post.

17th – Rock Your World – His race was over before it began. The expected pace setter broke slow, got bumped around early, was hung out wide in mid pack, and weakened. Draw a line through this race.

18th – Dynamic One – Was rank between and wide after, and he never got into contention.

19th – Soup and Sandwich – Attended the pace for six panels, and faded from contention and was eased in the lane.

Article by Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.