Bob Baffert mum on Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit's plans

www.latimes.com
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Surprise Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit delighted trainer Bob Baffert, but he has yet to commit to sending the horse to the Preakness Stakes.
The morning after the Kentucky Derby is normally when thoughts turn to winning the Triple Crown. The winning trainer tries to temper expectations while at the same time making everyone believe that it's a possibility.

Bob Baffert has had that conversation six of the seven times a horse he trained won the world's most recognizable race. Last year, the Derby was the second race in the Triple Crown, so there was no such talk.

But Sunday morning, outside Barn 33 on the Churchill Downs backside, Baffert was more about the past than the future. He didn't even commit to sending Medina Spirit, winner of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby, to the next stop on the Triple Crown road — the Preakness Stakes in two weeks at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. But the smart money is on his presence.

"Can he win the Triple Crown?" Baffert asked rhetorically. "I don't know, but he's the Derby winner and that's all that matters."

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It's very different than in 2018, when Baffert brought out Justify for a photo op, only to have it turn into a faux-controversy about how Justify was standing on one of his back legs. It didn't matter, as Justify became Baffert's second Triple Crown winner in four years.

The field for this year's Preakness is a work in progress, and perhaps the biggest threat to Medina Spirit winning is one of his stablemates, Concert Tour.

Concert Tour was Baffert's top horse before he ran third in the Arkansas Derby. Baffert and owners Gary and Mary West elected to skip the Kentucky Derby with an eye toward the Preakness.

Now that Medina Spirit is the surprise winner of…
John Cherwa
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