Another Kentucky Derby Weekend in the books and certainly one to remember.
Fans returned to the big stage and while they didn’t pack Churchill Downs things did feel a bit more normal.
Nearly 100,000 turned out for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Day programs, highlighted of course by the victories of Malathaat and Medina Spirit. John Velazquez rode both winners, further enhancing his status as not only one of the best active riders but of all time.
We’ve got some leftover quotes, notes and other tidbits for our final wrap-up and first Here & There of the 2021 Triple Crown season. Enjoy.
“I liked this little horse. I know he's all heart. Strategy was very simple ‑‑ break out of there and try to put him in the lead. If somebody wanted to go him faster than me, let him have it.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez on Derby winner Medina Spirit
“It's just been a Cinderella story. Even today, he was asking me: ‘Can we light the board?’ I don't know. We might. You never know. That's what I love about this business. Nobody knows for sure.”
Winning trainer Bob Baffert on owner Amr Zedan
“He’s tall and skinny, different than what you see when they’re in pads. And nice as could be, doing all the stuff, taking pictures with everyone.”
John Sadler, a few minutes before the walkover on seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady
“Where is Todd’s barn anyway?”
Owner Vinny Viola on his way to find Known Agenda and Dynamic One
Bloodstock agent Steve Young, pointing out how much time until Saratoga
“I don’t want to be known as the outrider that ended up in the infield.”
Churchill head outrider Greg Blasi, making an adjustment before the walkover
“I thought it was a bad bob, that it was either a dead-heat or I got beat. Then I said ‘I’ll take a heater, thank you Lord.’ ”
Chad Brown after his Domestic Dispute got up in the last few strides to dead heat with Colonel Liam in the Old Forester Turf Classic
“How great is it to see fans out here … some normalcy in America.”
Sadler on his way to the paddock for the Derby
“West Coast baby.”
}Doug O’Neill wishing fellow California-based trainer John Sadler good luck in the tunnel before the Derby
“Nobody fell down. It was great.”
Baffert, knocked to the ground last year by Authentic, after a much smoother winner’s presentation
“We’re happy with the horse. You don’t want to be happy with seventh, but we are.”
Trainer Robertino Diodor on Keepmeinmind
“I got a dream trip. I hate to waste that kind of trip in the Derby on a horse that didn't fire.”
Brown on Derby 10th Highly Motivated
“It was pretty much over after the break. We got out of position from there and it was a tough trip to overcome in a race like the Derby.”
Jockey Joel Rosario after Rock Your World finished 17th
By the Numbers
51,838: Attendance for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill.
41,472: Kentucky Oaks Day attendance.
15 million: Preliminary audience figure for NBC’s coverage of the Derby, more than the Oscars, NFL Draft and final round of The Masters.
$155.4 million: All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race, an increase of 96 percent from last year’s Derby race.
$233 million: Total wagering for the 14-race Kentucky Derby Day program, up 85 percent from 2020.
The bulked-up handicapping team from the ST Publishing family produced mixed results over the weekend.
The Saratoga Special’s leading handicapper John Shapazian and ST co-publisher and co-editor Sean Clancy finished on top for the two days with five winners apiece. John picked four winners on the Derby Day card – Gamine in the Grade 1 La Troienne, Du Jour in the Grade 2 American Turf, Flagstaff in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs and Colonel Liam in the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic. Sean added two wins to his haul of three from Friday, tabbing Gamine and Colonel Liam on Saturday’s card.
Joe Clancy, Charles Bedard, Paul Halloran, Rob Whitlock and Jessica Paquette finished in a tie for third with four winners apiece. Joe came up with all of his on Derby Day – Gamine, Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile, Flagstaff and Colonel Liam. Tom Law trailed the group with three winners.
As for the Bankroll Challenge, Rob fared the best thanks to a big score Friday. Rob’s two successful $20 win bets - on Obligatory in the Eight Belles for a $350 payoff and on Shedaresthedevil in the La Troienne for a payoff of $54, gave him a $304 mythical profit heading into Saturday. He was blanked on the Derby Day card with losses of $200 but still finished with a positive ROI of $104.
Rob edged Tom, who scored on a $20 exacta box bet on Colonel Liam and Domestic Spending in the Old Forester Turf Classic. When those two finished in a dead heat for the win he collected on both bets to the tune of $294. Factoring in $6.40 in losses from Friday and a $4 refund from a scratch Saturday, Tom finished with a two-day profit of $91.60.
John finished with a $30 profit on the weekend. After being blanked Friday, John cashed a $50 win bet on Du Jour in the Grade 2 American Turf for $330.
Charles didn’t cash on any of his wagers.
Tweet of the weekend
SaraFagan_1: “Baffert wins when he’s not even trying to win.”