Even one of the greatest trainers in horse racing history couldn't believe his luck as Medina Spirit crossed the Kentucky Derby finish line.
Bob Baffert made Kentucky Derby history on Saturday with his record seventh win at the biggest event in horse racing, watching the 12-to-1 underdog Medina Spirit go nearly wire-to-wire for the victory. The win broke a tie with Ben Jones for sole possession of the all-time Derby record as a trainer.
After the race, Baffert was blunt about his expectations for the race.
"I cannot believe he won this race," Baffert said in an interview with NBC. "That little horse, that was him, It was all guts. I was a little disappointed with his last race, he didn't run well. He came in here, trained well for it. I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
"I'm so spoiled bringing these heavy duty horses in here, but I'm telling you that horse has got a heart, such a big heart."
Medina Spirit had been the favorite in his previous race, the Santa Anita Derby, but finished second to Rock Your World.
Bob Baffert stands alone at Kentucky Derby
Baffert's seventh win comes only seven months after his record-tying sixth, when Authentic pulled out a thrilling win over heavy favorite Tiz the Law. The 2020 Kentucky Derby had been rescheduled to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to Medina Spirit and Authentic, Baffert has trained Derby winners Justify (2018), American Pharoah (2015), War Emblem (2002), Real Quiet (1998) and Silver Charm (1997). He credited his horse, his team and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for the historic achievement.
"I just can't believe it. It hasn't sunken in yet," Baffert said after the race. "I'm just so thrilled because when you win it, you never know if you're going to be back. It is so difficult.
"I think Bill Belichick gave me a lot of good luck that other day when we did that little interview. We stay focused, keep working at it and hopefully you'll get there. I couldn't be prouder of my team, but that little horse, he won it today. He doesn't know how much he cost, but what a little race horse."
Baffert and Belichick, both six time champions in their sport's marquee event, had taken part in an interview with NBC's Mike Tirico before the race. With seven wins to Baffert's name, he may have to do one with Tom Brady next year instead.
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