Medina Spirit, Bob Baffert Win 2021 Kentucky Derby

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The “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” has come and gone, and Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit is walking away victorious after snagging first in the 147th annual Kentucky Derby. 

Medina Spirit pulled off a shocking upset over crowd favorite Essential Quality as trainer Baffert set the record with a seventh Derby win. The horse had sixth-best odds at 12-1, and held off Mandaloun in the final stretch.

After last year's race was bumped to September due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and held at very limited spectators and extensive safety protocols, this year's event was held at 40-50% capacity with spectators socially distanced and wearing masks.

The official attendance of the Derby was 51,838 spectators—the largest crowd at an American sporting event since the pandemic began. It tops Alabama's spring football game, which hosted 47,218 fans several weeks ago.

As fans sported their most elaborate hats and finest outfits, sports royalty, like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Tampa Bay signal-caller Tom Brady, were spotted in the crowd.  

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The 1 1/4-mile race marks the first leg of the Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Coming into the Saturday showdown, Essential Quality was the heavy favorite. Eighteen of the 20 contenders are descendants of Secretariat, who is largely considered the greatest racehorse of all time.

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