Saudi-owned horse defies odds to win prestigious Kentucky Derby

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A racehorse owned by a Saudi businessman defied the odds to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

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An underdog by a huge margin, Medina Spirit beat competitors including Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s Essential Quality, which was a 5-2 favorite to win. Medina Spirit, on the other hand, was looking at odds of 12-1.

The colt was purchased by Saudi Amr Zedan for a bargain price of $35,000. In comparison, Zedan recently paid $1.7 million for an unraced two-year-old.

“I’ve rehearsed this speech in the shower and treadmill,” Zedan said. “Never thought I was going to do it, but here I am.”

Bob Baffert became the derby’s most successful trainer when Medina Spirit brought him his seventh victory. It was veteran jockey John Velazquez’s fourth win, making him the third most successful Derby jockey, tied with Bill Shoemaker.

“He doesn’t know how much he cost,” Baffert said, “but what a little racehorse.”

Medina Spirit isn’t the typical high-priced talent with a fancy pedigree in Baffert’s California barn.

“I cannot believe he won this race,” Baffert added. “That little horse, that was him, all guts. He’s always shown that he’s been an overachiever. His heart is bigger than his body.”

Medina Spirit has never finished worse than second in six career starts and two of his three losses came to Life Is Good, who likely would have been the Derby favorite had he not been injured.

Zedan, who chairs engineering consultancy firm Zedan Group, founded Zedan Racing Stables in 2016.

With The Associated Press

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