MEDINA SPIRIT went from being an unfancied £723 purchase – to a world-beating £1.4MILLION Kentucky Derby winner.
You have heard of outsiders, longshots and runners defying the odds.
But has there ever been a rags to riches tale quite so impressive as Medina Spirit’s?
The Bob Baffert-trained three-year-old surged clear to win America’s most famous race at Churchill Downs last night.
Behind were the likes of Essential Quality, the 5-2 pre-race favourite owned by racing powerhouses Godolphin.
Backed by the billionaire ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin are famed for spending big and winning big.
So are Juddmonte, the Saudi-backed yard who own runner-up Mandaloun.
These are billionaires who think nothing of dropping hundreds of thousands on the top talent from a young age.
Then there is Medina Spirit.
Bred by Gail Rice in Florida, Rice had a trying few days with the youngster when Medina Spirit’s mare failed to produce any milk.
She had to turn to her only other broodmare for assistance, with Medina Spirit forming a close bond with the horse who was not his own mother.
It did not stop the eventual Kentucky Derby winner from showing promise at an early age however – and it was only Rice’s devastating personal situation which forced the sale.
She was going through a divorce with trainer Wayne Rice, and reluctantly had to give the horse up.
Amazingly, she would sell this eventual money-maker for just £723 as a yearling in winter 2019.
That was the only bid that came in, and for the lowest amount of money accepted.
Rice had no choice but to say yes.
She said: “I kept telling people, ‘this horse can run!’
“Just his body and his leg, and the intelligent attitude he had. I always thought he was special.”
Medina Spirit was subsequently spotted by a top bloodstock agent, who informed current owner and Saudi businessman Amr bin Fareer bin Mohammed bin Zedan of the promising sort.
Zedan, not short of a few bob himself, bought the two-year-old for just over £25,000 in July last year.
He then sent Medina Spirit to top US trainer Bob Baffert, who turned this once unfancied horse into a genuine superstar.
Going off at odds of 12-1 last night, it’s fair to say Medina Spirit was up against it.
But no one could get close down the home straight, and the win scooped a first-place prize of £1,357,664.
That amounts to more than 54 times what Zedan paid – and almost 2,000 times what Medina Spirit was originally sold for.
No wonder Baffert, who won the race for a record seventh time, said afterwards: “I cannot believe he won this race. This little horse, that’s him – he was all guts.”
Turns out you can’t put a price on heart.
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