Medina Spirit’s ashes interred in Kentucky

Medina Spirit's gravestone at Old Friends. The farm hosted an open day on April 5 for fans to play their respects.
Medina Spirit’s gravestone at Old Friends. The farm hosted an open day on April 5 for fans to pay their respects. @ Pyrois Media/Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Medina Spirit’s ashes have been buried on Old Friends Farm, the thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky.

The three-year-old died suddenly after completing a workout at Santa Anita on December 6. Following a necropsy, a definitive cause of death was not established.

In May 2021, he bested a field of 19 in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, including unbeaten favourite Essential Quality, and earned $US1.86 million for his efforts.

A win in the GR3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes and a second-place finish in the GR1 Santa Anita Derby earned the dark bay son of Protonico a berth in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Despite being a long shot behind favorites Essential Quality and Rock Your World, Medina Spirit went wire-to-wire against his rivals.

He was disqualified by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards from his 2021 Kentucky Derby win, following test results that were found to contain betamethasone, a Class C drug. The race was awarded to Mandaloun, with Hot Rod Charlie second and Essential Quality third.

Medina Spirit’s ashes were interred in the farm’s Nikki Bacharach Memorial Garden alongside Kentucky Derby winners Charismatic (1999) and War Emblem (2002), both of whom were retired to Old Friends following breeding careers, as well as Eclipse Winner Hidden Lake and Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner Alphabet Soup.

Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Zedan Racing, Medina Spirit had a short but brilliant career on the track.

Later that year Medina Spirit won the Shared Belief Stakes and the GR1 Awesome Again stakes. His last race was on November 6, when he was second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar.

Medina Spirit's grave at Old Friends is alongside Charismatic and War Emblem.
Medina Spirit’s grave at Old Friends is alongside Charismatic and War Emblem. @ Pyrois Media/Melissa Bauer-Herzog

“The Zedan Racing family was deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our beloved Medina Spirit,” said Amr Zedan. “He brought us great joy during his time, and we will forever cherish his spectacular win in the Kentucky Derby.

“Medina Spirit truly had the heart of a champion,” Zedan added, “and it is very comforting to know that he will be laid to rest with many of racing’s greats and the wonderful people at Old Friends Farm.”

Trainer Bob Baffert and his wife Jill said in a statement: “To most, Medina Spirit was an over-achiever, the kind of colt who surprised the experts.

“But he would not have agreed with that assessment. He carried himself like the champion he was through all his days. From his first race to his last, he was a confident and competitive thoroughbred who always gave his best. We were lucky and blessed to have known him.

“Medina Spirit was loved deeply by us and everyone at the barn,” the Bafferts said. “We grieve his loss, but take comfort knowing he will be buried among some of racing’s all-time greats at Old Friends.”

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