One year after the coronavirus pandemic threw The Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown into disarray, the 147th running of the iconic race returned on Saturday. And with it, Medina Spirit managed to cross the finish line as the winner, topping 19 other horses.
The wind sets a record for Kentucky Derby wins for Bob Baffert. It is also the fourth win for jockey John Velasquez. Baffert credited his chat with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for giving him the winning edge at Churchill Downs, something he wasn't in the high running with other favorites. The win also comes after some controversy, with many critics and investigations into his training practices.
Medina Spirit and Bob Baffert win the Kentucky Derby! pic.twitter.com/YedbatOFwr— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 1, 2021
While it is still true that the Kentucky Derby has never been canceled in its history, 2020 saw it postponed for only the second time in history. In a year that turned everything upside down, the Kentucky Derby was moved to September and became the middle of a new schedule between the Belmont Stakes in June and the Preakness Stakes in October.
The return to May for 2021 also meant the return of fans to Churchill Downs. While the race on Saturday was at 40-50 percent capacity, this still was around 45-50 thousand guests in the stands. And while masks and social distancing were additions to the showcase this year, the classics were still present too. Fashion, hats and celebrities were still in attendance, including Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and his new fiancee Shailene Woodley. Hats were still out in force, with some in attendance even getting creative and matching their masks to their outfits to turn it all into a magic ensemble.
Medina Spirit is the winner of the @KentuckyDerby! 🏇🏆May 1, 2021
There were also plenty of mint juleps, though it likely wasn't as popular in years past. Still, the staple drink of the Derby did not disappoint for those in attendance. And likely tasted a lot sweeter if they managed to snag a winning ticket.
So after a year that tossed everything into confusion, the Triple Crown is back and the march toward another potential winner begins. Congratulations to Medina Spirit and best of luck going forward.