Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit returns with a win in $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, who had been out of racing action for 3 1/2 months, made a winning return in the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes on Aug. 29 at Del Mar.
The dark bay colt led wire-to-wire and held off rival Rock Your World by 1 1/4 lengths. Stilleto Boy was an additional 2 1/4 lengths back in third place.
Under jockey John Velazquez, Medina Spirit finished the 1-mile race on the main track in 1:37.29.
“It’s a relief. A Shared Belief relief,” said his trainer, Bob Baffert. “It’s good that the fans were here for the showdown (with Rock Your World, who beat Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby). I did not have any intention of running him in this race until a couple weeks ago. I started thinking about it, figuring it couldn’t come up that tough. Then (son) Bode said, ‘You know Rock Your World’s running there?’ For what this horse has gone through, he’s such a game horse, and I wanted to run him here and see if he likes Del Mar. I’ve never had a Derby winner come back and win here, so that’s a first. He looks good, and John (Velazquez) said he feels better than ever. There’s still some good racing for him out there. We’re waiting for the process to happen.”
Medina Spirit is owned by Zedan Racing Stables.
Other major events at Del Mar last weekend were the $202,000, Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes - a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event - won by Ginobili; and the $83,436 Tranquility Lake Stakes, in which Miss Bigly prevailed by a neck.
With earlier sunset times and a desire to run all of its races under optimal conditions, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced that it will move up its first post to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 4, 5 and 6, which are the final three days of the racetrack’s summer meet.
“We need to be sure that we’ve got plenty of daylight to keep our horses and riders safe,” said David Jerkens, DMTC vice president and racing secretary.
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