Who is Amr Zedan? Owner of 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was an international polo player

The 47-year-old California-born entrepreneur chairs a family-owned group of businesses based in Saudi Arabia


                            Who is Amr Zedan? Owner of 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was an international polo player
Amr Zedan holding the trophy; Medina Spirit ridden by jockey John Velazquez (Getty Images)

Medina Spirit fought off three challengers in the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by a half-length on Saturday, May 1, making Bob Baffert the winningest trainer in the race’s 147-year history, with seven victories.

Now people want to know more about Medina Spirit and the person who owns the winning horse.

Businessman and philanthropist Amr F Zedan founded Lexington-based Zedan Racing Stables five years back and now he has a Kentucky Derby winner in Medina Spirit. Zedan stated that being victorious in the Derby was a dream realized, shortly after his Bob Baffert-trained, 3-year-old won the 147th edition of the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

"Naturally it was the Kentucky Derby, right? That's the show. That's what Bob said — that's the show, that's why we are here. I feel blessed, honored and humbled. I've rehearsed this speech in the shower and on the treadmill. Never thought I was going to do it, but here I am," Zedan said before thanking his family.

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Zedan Racing Stables tweeted, "Let’s celebrate our little horse that could — MEDINA SPIRIT made it into the record books as the 147th @kentuckyderby winner So humbled and grateful to have a #KyDerby winner & to help Baffert make history - What a fighter #DerbyDreams @ljlmvel for the ride!"



 

The 47-year-old California-born entrepreneur chairs a family-owned group of businesses based in Saudi Arabia. A horse enthusiast, Zedan is an international polo player who jumped into ownership in 2016. "Fifteen months ago we met in the Dubai airport and this was the plan, and here we are," Zedan said immediately after the race. "To Bob it's not a job; it's art. He's a Picasso or a Michaelango."

(L-R) Trainer Bob Baffert, jockey John Velazquez, and owner Amr Zedan of Medina Spirit raise the trophy after winning the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Getty Images)

Zedan is the chairman of the Saudi Polo Federation, a board member of the Saudi Equestrian Authority and the owner of Zedan Racing Stables. He also owns and runs Zedan Polo, a team he is currently representing at the Silver Cup in Dubai and in the forthcoming Gold Cup.

“When I was young, I always loved sports in general, and I always loved horses as well,” Zedan said. “I was exposed to various sports, and polo was one of the sports I gravitated toward because it combined the ball and the horse. I watched a few movies that featured polo. ‘Pretty Woman’ was one of those movies, and I was captivated by it when I was a kid. I picked up the sport in the late 90s and early 2000s in Dubai and London, and the rest was history.” 

“I’ve always been fascinated with horses, so it was just a natural progression. I do have my stables, Zedan Racing, based in Kentucky in the US, and my trainer is the Hall of Fame, six-time Kentucky Derby winner and two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert. Bob needs no introduction, so I’m very privileged to work with him. We have a couple of horses that have been successful and a few that we hope will be successful, one of which was is a filly, Princess Nour, who just retired due to injury," he added.

Medina Spirit has never finished worse than second in its six career starts and two of his three losses came to Life Is Good, who likely would have been the Derby favorite had he not been injured. “He doesn’t know how much he cost,” Baffert said, “but what a little racehorse.” Medina Spirit led all the way and ran one and a quarter miles in 2:01.02. Sent off at 12-1 odds, he paid $26.20, $12 and $7.60.

Jockey John Velazquez celebrates atop Medina Spirit #8, after winning the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 01, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Getty Images)

Baffert won back-to-back, having tied Ben Jones with his sixth victory last year when the race was run in September 2020 without spectators because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Velazquez became the first jockey to win consecutive Derbies since Victor Espinoza in 2014-15. The 49-year-old rider also completed the Kentucky Oaks-Derby double for the first time since Calvin Borel in 2009, having won the race for fillies on Friday, April 30.

The Derby, known as the Run for the Roses, is the longest-running sporting event in the United States, according to its website. It dates back to 1875. This year's race had 19 horses after trainer Kenny McPeek announced on Twitter that his horse, King Fury, was scratched from the game due to a high fever and elevated white count.

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