Del Mar: Medina Spirit wins Shared Belief Stakes in return

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Sunday’s $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes astatine Del Mar was not circled connected galore calenders astatine the commencement of the summertime conscionable arsenic thing peculiarly special.

It’s an ungraded race, and though specified apical horses arsenic Accelerate (2016), Battle of Midway (2018) and Improbable (2019) person won it successful caller years, it’s not 1 of Del Mar’s go-to races.

But the 47th moving of the 1-mile lawsuit for 3-year-olds had a chiseled spirit — a rematch betwixt Kentucky Derby victor Medina Spirit and Santa Anita Derby victor Rock Your World.Rock Your World bushed Medina Spirit by 4 1/4 lengths successful the Santa Anita Derby connected April 3, and their ensuing matchup successful the Kentucky Derby 4 weeks later, erstwhile the erstwhile mislaid each accidental with a horrendous trip, was fundamentally a propulsion out.

The 2 colts didn’t disappoint Sunday, putting connected a amusement that ended with Medina Spirit prevailing by 1 1/4 lengths nether John Velazquez implicit Umberto Rispoli and Rock Your World.

Medina Spirit, prepping for an expected commencement successful the Pennsylvania Derby astatine Parx Racing connected Sept. 25, went postward arsenic the 4-5 favourite successful the six-horse tract and ran the region implicit a accelerated main way successful 1:37.29.

It was Medina Spirit’s 4th triumph successful 8 starts, pending the authoritative result of the Kentucky Derby. The Protonico colt tested affirmative for a banned substance aft the Derby and the authoritative effect remains the taxable of a tribunal battle.

Rock Your World, the 8-5 2nd choice, mislaid for the 3rd consecutive clip pursuing his Santa Anita Derby victory. He was 17th successful the Kentucky Derby and past finished sixth successful the Belmont Stakes.

“It went the mode we wanted it,” said Velazquez, who has ridden Medina Spirit successful his past 5 races. “Once I made the pb into the archetypal turn, I felt better. He was moving well. When helium got connected the backside, his ears went up and helium was truly cruising. When a equine would travel to him, he’d prime it up connected his own.

“When we got to the 4th pole, I said, ‘Let’s go. Time to prime it up.’ And helium was close into it. He finished strong, and the gallop retired was strong, too. He tin physique disconnected this race.”

It was Medina Spirit’s archetypal commencement since a third-place decorativeness down Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon successful the Preakness Stakes connected May 15.

Winning trainer Bob Baffert said helium had nary volition of moving Medina Spirit successful the Shared Belief until a mates of weeks ago.

“I started reasoning astir it, figuring it couldn’t travel up that tough,” helium said. “Then (son) Bode said, ‘You cognize Rock Your World’s moving there?’”

It’s been a tumultuous 4 months for Baffert and his colt since the Derby controversy.

“For what this equine has gone through, he’s specified a crippled horse,” Baffert said. “I wanted to tally him present and spot if helium likes Del Mar. I’ve ne'er had a Derby victor (of his grounds seven) travel backmost and triumph here, truthful that’s a first.

“He looks good, and John said helium feels amended than ever. There’s inactive immoderate bully racing for him retired there. We’re waiting for the process to happen.”

Medina Spirit took the pb close retired of the gross and ne'er gave it up portion carving retired fractions of 22.52, 46.92 and 1:11.81. Rock Your World stayed close down the full way, but could ne'er get by the winner.

“He ran well. He ran a immense race,” Rispoli, who exchanged fist bumps with Velazquez soon aft the finish, said of Rock Your World. “He got bushed by the victor of the Kentucky Derby. What are you going to do? I can’t inquire thing much of my horse.”

Said Juan Leyva, adjunct to Rock Your World’s trainer, John Sadler: “Rock Your World ran his race, but Medina Spirit is simply a precise bully equine and (gets) my respects. He got the champion of us. No excuses.”

Stilleto Boy, a 22-1 longshot with Kent Desormeaux aboard, finished third.

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