The following appeared in The Paulick Report May 11. The Preakness Stakes will be contested Saturday May 15 at 6:48 PM at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. Betting is available at VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Centers in Henrico (Breakers) and Chesapeake (Buckets), at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond, New Kent, Vinton, Hampton and Dumfries, and online via TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com.
The first place-finisher in the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit has been installed as the 9-5 favorite for Saturday’s running of the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Conditioned by Bob Baffert, the 3-year-old son of Protonico owned by Zedan Racing Stable will leave the starting gate from post position three under jockey John Velazquez.
“Post 3 won’t win the race for him and it won’t lose the race for him,” said Zedan’s racing manager and bloodstock agent Gary Young. “We anticipate that he and Concert Tour will be 1-2 early in the race. One will be in front, one is probably going to be second – unless someone alters their plan totally. And may the best horse win, whether it be one of those two horses or one of the other eight.”
The Preakness post position draw was originally scheduled for Monday, May 10, but officials pushed the draw back to Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. after trainer Bob Baffert announced Sunday that Medina Spirit’s post-race sample from the Kentucky Derby returned a positive result for betamethasone. Baffert initially claimed the colt had never been treated with betamethasone, but on Tuesday morning announced that he had been treated with a topical ointment containing the medication.
An agreement was reached Tuesday afternoon between Baffert’s attorney and the Maryland Jockey Club to allow Baffert’s horses, both Medina Spirit and Concert Tour, to run in the Preakness. For more details about that agreement, click here.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the Preakness a record seven times, most notably with Triple Crown champions American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
Gary and Mary West’s Concert Tour, who incurred his first loss in four starts while finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn last time out, will also represent Baffert in the Preakness after skipping the Kentucky Derby. The homebred son of Street Sense, who will be ridden by Mike Smith for the first time, was rated second in the morning line at 5-2 after drawing Post. No. 10.
“He’s a speed horse so he will get out of there and get a position and be on the outside somewhere,” Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes said of Concert Tour. “I think we’re fine with both our positions. They are both front-running horses, so they will probably will be up there in the clear, hopefully. He’s one that is placed forwardly in the racing. Being on the outside should be fine.”
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Midnight Bourbon will remain on the Triple Crown Trail Saturday after finishing a troubled sixth in the Kentucky Derby, 8 ½ lengths behind Medina Spirit. The son of Tiznow is rated third in the morning line at 5-1 and will break from Post No. 5.
Midnight Bourbon finished second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds prior to his Derby run. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has enjoyed success in the Preakness Stakes twice, saddling Curlin and filly Rachel Alexandra for victories in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Irad Ortiz Jr., the defending three-time Eclipse Award winner, is scheduled to ride Midnight Bourbon for the first time.
“Good draw,” Asmussen said. “With dual loading, he’s second-to-last to load. Middle of the field. Good run to the first turn. Obviously, post-position draw in a 10-horse field is half as important as in a 20-horse field, but I think it gives you all the options you would ever have wanted with a talented horse.”
Trainer Chad Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing, will saddle Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Crowded Trade and Risk Taking in search of his second success in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Crowded Trade, who finished third in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct last time out, is rated at 10-1 in the morning line, while Risk Taking, who won the Withers (G3) before finishing a disappointing seventh in the Wood Memorial, is rated at 15-1. Crowded Trade drew Post No. 4, while Risk Taking will break from Post No. 9.
John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer, who most recently finished third in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland, has been shipped from Southern California for the Preakness. The son of Twirling Candy, who is rated at 12-1 in the morning line, earned a fees-paid berth in the Preakness Stakes by capturing the ‘Win & In’ El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 13. Rombauer will break from Post No. 6
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, will seek his first Preakness Stakes victory with Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Unbridled Honor. The son of Honor Code, who finished second in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland last time out, was rated at 15-1 in the morning line after drawing Post No. 8.
Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Keepmeinmind will join Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon as the only horses in the Preakness starting gate that ran in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Laoban trailed the Derby field before closing well to finish seventh. The Robertino Diodoro-trained colt, who has been winless in three starts this year after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill last fall, is rated at 15-1 in the morning line and will break from Post. No. 2.
Yuji Inaida’s France Go de Ina, who raced three times in Japan before finishing sixth in the March 27 UAE Derby (G2) in Dubai, is rated at 20-1 in the Preakness morning line and will break from Post No. 7. The son of Will Take Charge will go to post in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown five years after Japan-based Lani finished fifth in 2016.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled six Preakness winners during his Hall of Fame career, will be represented in Preakness 146 by Ram, who is slated to make his stakes debut following back-to-back victories in a $50,000 maiden claiming race at Oaklawn Park and an allowance race at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Christina Baker and William Mack’s son of American Pharoah was rated at 30-1 in the morning line after drawing the Post No. 1.
The full field for the Preakness Stakes is as follows:
- Ram – D. Wayne Lukas – Ricardo Santana, Jr. – 30/1
- Keepmeinmind – Robertino Diodoro – David Cohen – 15/1
- Medina Spirit – Bob Baffert – John Velazquez – 9/5
- Crowded Trade – Chad Brown – Javier Castellano – 10/1
- Midnight Bourbon – Steve Asmussen – Irad Ortiz, Jr. – 5/1
- Rombauer – Michael McCarthy – Flavien Prat – 12/1
- France Go De Ina – Hideyuki Mori – Joel Rosario – 20/1
- Unbridled Honor – Todd Pletcher – Luis Saez – 6/1
- Risk Taking – Chad Brown – Jose Ortiz – 15/1
- Concert Tour – Bob Baffert – Mike Smith – 5/2