Pennsylvania Derby 2021: Bob Baffert scratches KY Derby winner Medina Spirit

BREAKING NEWS ... Trainer Bob Baffert scratches Medina Spirit from this weekend's Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. See why below ...
BREAKING NEWS ... Trainer Bob Baffert scratches Medina Spirit from this weekend's Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. See why below ...

Midday, trainer Bob Baffert from his base in Southern California confirmed through the Albany Times Union's Tim Wilkin that he would indeed scratch Medina Spirit who was slated to start in Saturday's Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.

The $1 Million race is not in the cards evidently, since Baffert did not care for the outside post draw. Breaking from gate No.9 would have put the controversial son of Protonico in a tough position, given that he exhibits a front-running-type of style. Jockey John Velazquez would just have too much to do. The Morning Line favorite at odds of 2/1, this would have been the colt's 9th start of his career. So, far he has won half of those contests, although many believe that he will be disqualified by the Kentucky Horseracing Commission after a positive of an illegal substance was discovered in a post-race test after the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs ... one of the world's most famous races. That case is pending, and with the litigation that will probably ensue, we can expect this could drag the results out for years.

What we do know is that the Zedan-owned runner was 3rd in the Preakness (G1) in mid-May before laying off for the majority of the summer. Baffert put him back into training, and his charge made his return at Del Mar in the Shared Belief Stakes. That was a convincing win, with Velazquez (his regular rider), guiding him to victory. With the Parx withdrawal, Baffert confirmed that his 3-yr-old's next target will be the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, which offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar in November. That will be the 1st time that Medina Spirit will challenge older horses, and his trainer confirmed that a return to Del Mar could be a possibility, if all goes well.

When Wilkin asked the HOF conditioner, who continues to weather many storms concerning his treatment of Thoroughbreds in his stable, he responded by saying in-part that, "I feel part of my success is knowing when to run and doing what's right for the horse." As for the remaining field at Parx for the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, Doug O'Neill's colt, Hot Rod Charlie, will probably take the place of Medina Spirit as the "deserving favorite" come Saturday.