Medina Spirit runs away with the Awesome Again Stakes Grade 1
Left to himself at the head of the peloton in May, Medina spirit won the Kentucky Derby. Left to himself at the head of the peloton on Saturday afternoon, Medina Spirit won again, this time winning a place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
With John Velázquez rushing for a quick lead and then moderating the pace like he did five months ago at Churchill Downs, Medina Spirit (6-5) had plenty to do in the end for an unbalanced five-length victory in Grade 1, $ 300,000 Still impressive stakes on a parched and fast track in Santa Anita.
The fractions of 23.34, 47.72, 1: 11.76 and 1: 37.05 were made to order for trainer Bob Baffert. Held by Amr Zedan, Medina Spirit’s winning time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1: 49.67.
“I keep saying it and I probably sound like a record broken, but this guy, he has a ton of heart,” said Velázquez, who has ridden Medina Spirit in his last six starts. . “He’s very competitive and when the horses come to him he gives you all he can. That’s all you can ask of a horse. ”
Stilleto Boy (50-1) moved from the middle of the pack to second place. The express train (6-1) closed to finish third. Tripoli (5-2) had a strong run in the second half of the race to finish fourth.
“I am happy for Zedan and what we had to face,” said Baffert. “We stayed focused on the horses. The fans have come to see this horse and they are supporting him. I could tell by the noise of the crowd. They all shoot for him. It’s an emotional victory for us. Johnny V. can do anything with the horse. He can wait, stalk, whatever. his horse keeps getting better.
Medina Spirit, a 3 year old Protonico colt, has won 3 of 4 races since being a beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Although his Kentucky Derby triumph is disputed – and in court – due to a failed doping control, Medina Spirit has led on every appeal in both races since finishing third in the Preakness. He won the Shared Belief Stakes on August 29 in Del Mar before his one-sided victory on Saturday.
“He’s not very tall, he’s not very handsome, but obviously he has all the heart and you can’t ask for anything else,” Velazquez said. “The way he raced today was impressive. Maybe they’ll give him the credit he deserves now.