Kentucky Derby 2021 Winner: Medina Spirit Takes Home the Title

by Emily Morgan
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Medina Spirit is officially the winner of Saturday’s 147th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY., during the “fastest two minutes in sports.”

Medina Spirit clocked in at just over 2 minutes and one second, narrowly defeating Mandaloun by less than half a horse length. It marks a considerable upset, as Medina Spirit had 12-1 odds for victory.

Capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival, fans saw horses return to their marquee spot at the historic Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville. As the oldest continuously held sporting event in American history, the Derby has no shortage of traditions and long-standing records. 

Nearly two dozen of the world’s best horses competed with the hopes of winning the coveted Triple Crown. After many postponements and hiccups, primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 edition of the classic running of the roses went on within its traditional yearly time slot. Honoring tradition, 20 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses competed for the bragging rights of wearing the coveted Derby roses.

After Tuesday’s draw for the Kentucky Derby’s postpositions, betting experts everywhere moved to readjust the odds. Following the postposition announcement, fan-favorite Essential Quality (+250) began his stride standing on stall #14, while the next best betting horse, Rock your World (+450), patiently waited right beside him on #15.

Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, and Highly Motivated shared the third best spot in the odds, with a +800 money line. The horses were posted at No. 1, No. 9, and No. 17 stalls, respectively. Below are the post positions for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, including the odds.

Kentucky Derby 2021: The Odds

PostHorseOdds
1Known Agenda6-1
2Like The King60-1
3Brooklyn Strong50-1
4Keepmeinmind50-1
5Sainthood50-1
60 Besos20-1
7Mandaloun15-1
8Medina Spirit15-1
9Hot Rod Charlie8-1
10Midnight Bourbon20-1
11Dynamic One20-1
12Helium50-1
13Hidden Stash50-1
14Essential Quality2-1
15Rock Your World5-1
16King FurySCR
17Highly Motivated10-1
18Super Stock30-1
19Soup and Sandwich30-1
20Bourbonic30-1

One of the first things fans may have noticed about this year’s Derby is that most contestants are relatively unknown. An exception to this would be Essential Quality, simply because he was featured prominently in the Road to the Kentucky Derby. He also obtained the top finishing position at the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland just a few weeks ago.

As odd as it may be, getting the No. 1 post position is not necessarily a good thing. Only one horse that started in the first spot came in first across the finish line during the last 30 years, and that was Ferdinand in 1986. This year, Known Agenda took that spot after winning over Greatest Honor at the Florida Derby in March. 

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