Medina Spirit Wins The Kentucky Derby, With Longines Timing The Split-Second Action
As the official Title Partner, Official Timekeeper, and Official Watch of the Kentucky Derby, Longines also rewards the victorious horse’s jockey, trainer, and owner with its Swiss-made timepieces.
This year, the Kentucky Derby crowd was reduced to 40 percent capacity because of COVID restrictions, but that didn’t stop the electric spirit among the approximately 52,000 attendees at the Grade One stakes race. Those in attendance enthusiastically appeared at Churchill Downs in all their Derby finery with the women in fanciful hats and the men looking dandy in spring suits.
The Longines DolceVita was the official watch year. With its diamond-set rectangular case, the watch is a sleek, sparkling fashion statement. It’s a perfect symbol for the return to the glamour of the fashionable crowds.
A Major Return on Investment
Medina Spirit, a horse who was originally sold for only $1,000 as a yearling, galloped to victory, leading from the start through the finish line of the 1 ¼ mile race. No other horse managed to overtake the 12-1 long shot at any point during the race. And his time (measured by Longines, of course) was a solid 2:01.02.
Medina Spirit’s jockey John Velazquez, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner Amr F. Zedan, founder of Zedan Racing Stables, were all rewarded with Longines timepieces. Medina Spirit won a prize of $1,860,000, bringing his total career earnings to $2,175,200. Not bad for a $1,000 horse.
A Winner for the Record Books
“This little horse coming in here, he's always shown he's an overachiever,” Medina Spirit’s trainer Bob Baffert said. “His heart is bigger than his body. When he turned for home, something just told me,” that the horse would win. “He doesn't know how much he cost. He wouldn't let anyone pass him.”
Jockey John Velazquez concurred. He told Baffert that Medina Spirit was all heart. “Let's put him in the game and let him fight the whole way around.” And so he did, never relinquishing the lead.
But that’s not all. This year’s Derby marked Bob Baffert’s seventh winner, an all-time record. Velazquez, too, recorded a career milestone. His fourth Derby win puts him just one victory away from the all-time record of five wins.
High Style Beyond The Downs
The exuberantly fashionable crowd in attendance was quite the sight to see. But Longines showcased Derby fashion outside Churchill Downs, with its second Virtual Kentucky Derby Fashion Contest. The brand accepted entrants in the contest via photos on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtags #MyDerbyFashion and #Longines. The entries were accepted until 1:59 PM on the day of the race.
Luminaries from the fashion and style world will join Longines’ U.S. Brand President Brittany Garcia in selecting the winners. The judges include Olivia Rink, a personal and lifestyle blogger; Beau Hayhoe, a style and lifestyle writer; and Rachel Weigler-Benson, the 2019 Kentucky Derby Fashion Contest winner.
Entrants, including equestrian and style aficionados, posted their Derby-inspired outfits that showcased “the elegance embodied by Longines and classic Oaks and Derby style.” Multiple entries were allowed, but only if their ensemble was entirely different clothing and accessories, from head to toe.
No word on the Kentucky Oaks and Derby Fashion Contest winners just yet, but the lucky man and woman will certainly get an excellent prize. The female winner of the Longines Prize for Elegance will receive a DolceVita watch (ref. L22.214.171.124.7) with a silver dial and diamond bezel on a blue alligator strap.
The men’s style winner will receive a 40mm automatic watch from the Longines Master collection (ref. L2.909.4.78.3) with a silver barleycorn dial and a moonphase on a brown alligator strap.
(Images © Longines)