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(Reuters) – Medina Spirit stormed to victory in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday to deliver trainer Bob Baffert a record seventh win in the Run for the Roses.

Under jockey John Velazquez, Medina Spirit jumped to an early lead and fended off challenges down the stretch to cross the line first in front of 51,838 fans in the largest U.S. sporting event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The win was Hall of Fame jockey Velazquez’s fourth in the Triple Crown race, which returned to its usual first Saturday in May spot on the sport’s calendar after being pushed to September last year due to the pandemic.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)