LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As Medina Spirit triumphed at the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert became the most awarded trainer in the race’s 147-year history, with seven victories.
After his latest win Saturday, Baffert told WAVE 3 News he was grateful for the team that helped him achieve the milestone.
“Five always sounded good and six sounded really good, seven now. I just feel fortunate,” Baffert said. “Everybody who works for me, we have a great organization. They do a lot of the heavy lifting. If the horses could talk they would say he had nothing to do with it, it was me.”
Baffert’s first win came in 1997 – his timeline to becoming the Derby’s winningest trainer took 24 years:
- 1997: Silver Charm
- 1998: Real Quiet
- 2002: War Emblem
- 2015: American Pharoah (won Triple Crown)
- 2018: Justify (won Triple Crown)
- 2020: Authentic
- 2021: Medina Spirit
Baffert said his latest victory was “one of the most thrilling” as he didn’t expect Medina Spirit to win.
“His latest two races were just okay, but then he trained well, he got here, he showed signs he would run a good race,” Baffert said. “[Jockey] John Velazquez, he got him nice and relaxed. He told me last night he’s a lot better than you think he is. He just kicked in gear, he just has so much heart and will to win, and Silver Charm was that way.”
Velazquez earned his fourth Derby victory Saturday; his third win came in 2020 when he first partnered with Baffert and rode Authentic to the finish.
Medina Spirit won with 12 to 1 odds. The thoroughbred was originally purchased for just $1,000 and cost current owner Amr Zedan $35,000. Zedan credited Baffert for his work Saturday.
“To Bob, it’s not a job, it’s art, he’s like Picasso or Michelangelo, it just comes naturally, and I just thank him,” Zedan said.