Medina Spirit Makes Successful Return In Shared Belief At Del Mar

With his title as 2021 Kentucky Derby winner still in legal limbo, Medina Spirit made his first start since finishing third in the Preakness Stakes, winning the Shared Belief Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar.

The son of Protonico went off as the race’s favorite, broke fast, and led at every call to win the one-mile stakes under jockey John Velazquez.

The field of six broke cleanly from the gate, with Velazquez hustling Medina Spirit to the lead, followed by Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World on his outside and Reddam Racing’s Team Merchants third. Through a first quarter in :22.52 and a half-mile in :46.92, Medina Spirit maintained his front-runner status, with Umberto Rispoli and Rock Your World close, never allowing the Bob Baffert trainee to be more than a three-quarters of a length ahead. They stayed 1-2 into the far turn, as both Rock Your World and Team Merchants loomed to Medina Spirit’s outside entering the stretch.

Coming out of the turn, Rock Your World drifted out slightly, causing Team Merchants to veer into Stilleto Boy and forcing the latter to steady before running on down the center of the track. Rock Your World could not gain on Medina Spirit, who tenaciously hung on to his lead throughout the stretch run, flashing under the wire in front. Rock Your World was second, with Stilleto Boy third and The Great One fourth.

The final time for the one-mile Shared Belief Stakes was 1:37.29. Find this race’s chart here.

The inquiry sign went up not long after the finish as the Del Mar stewards examined the action coming out of the far turn into the stretch when Team Merchants veered into Stilleto Boy. Because Team Merchants finished behind Stilleto Boy, the stewards decided not to make any changes to the order of finish. Medina Spirit was not affected by the inquiry.

Medina Spirit paid $3.80, $2.40, and $2.10. Rock Your World paid $2.80 and $2.20. Stilleto Boy paid $3.80 to show.

“It went the way we wanted it. Once I made the lead into the first turn, I felt better. He was moving well. When he got on the backside, his ears went up and he was really cruising. When a horse would come to him, he’d pick it up on his own. When we got to the quarter pole, I said ‘Let’s go; time to pick it up.’ And he was right into it. He finished strong and the gallop out was strong, too. He can build off this race,” Velazquez said after the Shared Belief.

“It’s a relief. A Shared Belief relief,” Baffert told the Del Mar media office after the race. “It’s good that the fans were here for the showdown. 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.”

Bred in Florida by Gail Rice, Medina Spirit is out of the Brilliant Speed mare Mongolian Changa. He is owned by Zedan Racing Stables, who purchased the 3-year-old colt from Whitman Sales for $35,000 at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company July Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale. With this win in the Shared Belief, Medina Spirit has three wins in seven starts in 2021, for a lifetime record of 8-4-3-1.

Additional stories about Baffert’s Kentucky Derby positive and ensuing legal battles can be found here.

The post Medina Spirit Makes Successful Return In Shared Belief At Del Mar appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.