Shared Belief Stakes 2021 Entries: The return of Medina Spirit

Medina Spirit makes his long awaited return on Sunday in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar
Medina Spirit makes his long awaited return on Sunday in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar

Medina Spirit returns to the track as part of a surprisingly competitive looking field of six for the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar this Sunday. Neil Monnery has an overview of the runners ahead of J.N. Campbell's handicapping later in the weekend...

Shared Belief Stakes 2021 Entries & Post Positions
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  • Horse

Post Position

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  • Willy The Cobbler
  • Medina Spirit
  • Rock Your World
  • Team Merchants
  • The Great One
  • Stilleto Boy

A $100,000 Stakes Race is not where you’d expect to see the reigning (for now) Kentucky Derby winner emerge just four months or so after they had triumphed under the Twin Spires but here we are. It has been quite the ride for the Bob Baffert trained Medina Spirit.

Having surprised many when leading from the front and holding on to cross the line first at the Derby, Bob Baffert had potentially another run at the Triple Crown on his hands. A couple of days and a positive drug test later however, he didn’t know if he had a Derby winner or even if he could run at the Preakness. We all know the story that has unfolded but for the horse himself - he finished third at Pimlico and hasn’t been seen since.

In other years the Derby winner would be among the favorites for the Grade I Travers over at Saratoga but Baffert and the connections of MS have decided to give him time off this summer and are using Sunday’s race as a prep for the $1million Pennsylvania Derby in late September.

Regular jockey John Velazquez gets the ride and this relatively small race will get an awful lot of attention due to the presence of Medina Spirit.

This won’t be a canter however as Rock Your World - who remember blew Medina Spirit away in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby earlier this year also steps back on to the track for the first time since the Triple Crown. Disappointing trips east to Churchill Downs and Belmont Park can be moved to one side as on his home ground in California - this Candy Ride colt is undefeated. This race has two Grade I winners involved so plenty of betting interest.

Doug O’Neill will also be sending out Nyquist colt The Great One. This three-year-old looked like he was going places after a good run at the Los Alamitos Futurity where he was beaten by Spielberg and then breaking his Maiden in January. Poor runs at Santa Anita though in the San Felipe and SA Derby saw him take some time away from the track. Lovely breeding however keeps me at least semi-intrigued as to what he can do going forward.

The 53 year-old trainer also has Team Merchants in the field who returned to dirt in July after a failed dalliance with the turf. Another Nyquist colt who is well-bred and might well be the better of the two O’Neill horses in this field. I like this three-year-old to hit the board.

Stiletto Boy comes in off the back of finishing fifth in his turf debut. That race however came on the heels of winning the Iowa Derby over at Prairie Meadows. The second and third place horses that day are the two short-price betting choices for the renewed St Louis Derby and FanDuel Racing on Saturday. Another nicely bred three-year-old who could upset the apple cart.

Willy The Cobbler rounds out the field of six and must be considered the longshot of the bunch.

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