GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — All eyes are on Medina Spirit as the horse racing world's attention turns toward the Preakness Stakes.
Despite having Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez in the saddle, the Kentucky Derby win was a bit of a surprise.
It was Baffert's seventh Derby win as a trainer, which is a record.
Not long after the race, Baffert invoked the name of another beloved former champion who now enjoys retired life in central Kentucky.
"I kept waiting for everybody to pass him (Silver Charm) and he just dug in. He just had so much heart and Silver Charm was that way," said Baffert on Saturday.
Silver Charm won the 1997 Kentucky Derby. He now resides at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown.
"He's a superstar, it's like going to Graceland and finding out that Elvis still living," said Michael Blowen, the farm's founder.
Silver Charm arrived at the farm in 2015.
"And it's the greatest day in my life when that horse got out of the trailer. Apologies to my son's birth," said Blowen, while laughing.
At 27 years old, Blowen says Silver Charm still displays the intelligence and fighting spirit that made him a Hall of Fame inductee. He also sees similarities between the 1997 and 2021 Derby champions.
"Both came into the Derby under the radar, but they have a fighting spirit that you can't, it can't be reduced to a bunch of numbers. They have a spirit that they don't want to get passed in a race. And if you have a horse that doesn't want to get passed in the race, you're 90% of the way there," said Blowen.
Silver Charm went on to win the Preakness, but was denied the Triple Crown after finishing second in the Belmont Stakes to Touch Gold.
Once old rivals, Touch Gold and Silver Charm are now neighbors at Old Friends Farm.
After the 1997 Belmont loss, it would be 18 more years before American Pharoah finally captured the Triple Crown. His trainer was none other than Bob Baffert.