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The fans were back in full force at Churchill Downs this week, which was wonderful to see, as well as an amazing experience being there in person. As far as the racing, it definitely did not disappoint the hyped up and racing starved patrons, producing several tremendous finishes. Let’s take a look at the three performances that stood out above the rest:
It’s Bob Baffert’s world, we’re just living in it. For his latest magic trick, he brought what seemingly looked like his third string horse to Churchill Downs, and won America’s biggest race. Medina Spirit took to the front right out of the gate, set contested fractions on the front end, and kept on going in the stretch for half-length victory over the hard charging Mandaloun. What this horse might lack in talent, he makes up for in heart, as he has never let a horse pass him in the stretch of any of his five starts. It’s on to Baltimore for this one!
Wow, the 2021 Old Forrester Turf Classic Stakes (G1) will go down as one of the best races ever on a Kentucky Derby undercard. The Todd Pletcher trained Colonel Liam came into the race as the leading turf horse in the country; however, the Chad Brown trained Domestic Spending fired a monster race, giving us a quite the finish as these two hit the wire together. At first glance, it looked at though Domestic Spending had gotten his nose down first, but after a closer look you could tell it was going to be ultra-close. In the end, the two super stars hit the wire together, causing the rare dead heat in a Grade 1 stakes race. Let’s hope these two match up a few more times this year!
This horse was all heart in the Pat Day Mile Stakes (G3) on Saturday. After breaking sharply, the Steve Asmussen trainee went straight to the front, setting very fast early fractions of 21.75 and 43.68 while being tracked closely by Dream Shake. Turning for home, it looked as though Dream Shake was going to overtake Jackie’s Warrior, but he courageously dug down deep, and held off the charge for a dramatic victory by a head. After this performance, there is no doubt Jackie’s Warrior is going to be a force this year in one-turn events.
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