Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby to give coach Bob Baffert a record seventh victory in the race.
Jockey John Velazquez Medina Spirit led from the front and fought off three home competitors in a row to clinch his fourth derby win.
It was Vlásquez’s second successive win together and after that Authentic won the late 2020 edition in September.
“I can’t believe he won this race,” Buffert told NBC Sports.
“This little horse, that is – it was all guts.”
Mandalon finished second, directly ahead of Hot Road Charlie, while Louisville finished fourth, 5-2.
American Baffert was unable to enter Life is Good, which was likely the race favorite, due to an injury he sustained last month.
“When I saw him in an easy front, I kept waiting for these horses to reach him, but Johnny was in his perfect place,” said 68-year-old Buffett.
“I’m the luckiest man in the world. The record hasn’t affected yet. I’m so happy. You never know if you will ever come back – it’s so difficult.”
Buffett surpassed the record set as Ben Jones, who won the derby six times between 1938 and 1952.
Puerto Rico Velasquez, 49, is now one win outside the record five wins shared by Eddie Arkaro and Bill Hartack.
“What an unbelievable feeling – this is not getting old,” Velasquez said.
“I said to Bob,” We’re going to put him first and see what happens and I think he’s the horse to beat. “It works.
King Fury – named after British world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury – was withdrawn before the race due to illness.
The 147th edition of the derby was held in front of a socially distant crowd of 51,838 at Churchill Downs, having been reduced from the usual 150,000 capacity.
Last year’s race was held behind closed doors and was moved into September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.