A look at five key takeaways from the 2021 Kentucky Derby

| June 7, 2021

The Kentucky Derby is a great American tradition celebrated annually. The organizers did not hold it in 2020 because of the global pandemic that affected the sports industry. In 2021, horse racing fans were treated to the noble tradition on the first Saturday of May. Horse racing enthusiasts armed with their paddy power promo code also got the chance to bet on existing sports events, choosing from the top leading platforms. So, what are the highlights of the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

The Dynamic Duo

John Velazquez, 49, based in New York, did the hard work that made him the all-time leading rider on the East Coast in earnings. The West Coast highest earner is Baffert. The two have come together to form a dynamic team in the latter stages of their careers. 

They teamed up to win the Derby last year with the ultimate Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. They also clinched Horse of the Year Authentic and have now taken home the roses with Medina Spirit. Velazquez reiterated that he believes he does a great job at what he does. He also claimed that Baffert had given him an opportunity to stay around and ride top-rated horses. On the other hand, Baffert acknowledges Velazquez’s professionalism and awareness. 

Kendrick Carmouche’s Inspirational Message

Kendrick Carmouche got substantial media attention. His participation in the Derby highlighted the absence of top-flight African-American riders in horse racing. Marlon St. Julien was the first African-American when he ended the 79-year drought in the year 2000. Coincidentally, it was the same year that Carmouche began riding. 

The African American, son of a rider, did not complain about the situation. Instead, he stated that he was hopeful that his ability to get a Derby assignment would inspire jockeys of all races. 

It Seems a New Qualifying System Is Needed

Shadwell Farm general manager Rick Nichols and trainer Todd Pletcher recommend that Churchill Downs reevaluate the qualifying system. According to them, Churchill Downs should develop a qualifying system that allows top-rated fillies like Malathaat, a winner at the Longines Kentucky Oaks, a chance at the Derby without compromising their Oaks chances.    

The two gentlemen argued that no filly had competed in the Derby since the current qualifying system started in 2013. There are reports that Churchill Downs is already looking at several things. 

Brad Cox Put In a Fair Fight

Brad Cox was attempting to be the first person from Louisville to emerge triumphant at the Derby. His attempt almost bore fruit as he came within touching distance of making it happen without the colt everyone expected. Everyone was looking forward to seeing undefeated favorite Essential Quality. But, it was Mandaloun, a sixth-place finisher at the Louisiana Derby that came within half a length of Median Spirit. Essential Quality had to be content with fourth place after a tough trip. 

Cox was happy with Mandaloun’s performance. He stated that Mandaloun saved ground along the inside and gave his best. Cox believed that his horse had a real opportunity to win at the Derby. 

How Many More Triumphs Can Bob Baffert Add To His Tally?

Sixty-eight-year-old Bob Baffert moved past legendary “Plain Ben” Jones with a record seventh Kentucky Derby win. The logical question now is how far he can go. He got his first three triumphs in quick succession – War Emblem in 2002, Real Quiet in 1998, and Silver Charm in 1997.  

He then experienced a prolonged dry spell before the Triple Crown winners American Pharaoh in 2015, Justify in 2018, and Authentic in 2020. The latest was Median Spirit in 2021. Baffert acknowledges that they might not have another horse good enough to win, but they are not throwing in the towel. 

Category: International

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