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Preakness Horses: A Look at Top Contenders

Preakness Stakes Horses Odds

The show must go on and the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday will include Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Medina Spirit, the early wagering favorite for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

The colt’s participation was in doubt after trainer Bob Baffert announced the horse had tested positive for a therapeutic anti-inflammatory drug after his victory in the Run for the Roses. The drug in question was betamethasone. Baffert claimed Wednesday that his veterinarian had been treating Medina Spirit with an ointment called Otomax to fight a case of dermatitis. Otomax contains a trace amount of betamethasone.

While a split sample was sent to the lab for confirmation, the Maryland Jockey Club said it was fine for Baffert to enter Medina Spirit in the Preakness along with his stablemate Concert Tour. They are likely to be the top two Preakness contenders and betting favorites when the gate opens on Saturday afternoon. 

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What Horses Are Running in the Preakness Stakes?

The winner of the Preakness Stakes has come out of the Kentucky Derby 16 times in the last 20 editions. That is a good place to start when looking for the key Preakness 2021 horses. We only have three horses running in the Preakness that competed in the Kentucky Derby.

Medina Spirit

The now-controversial Kentucky Derby winner is most likely going to go off as the betting favorite on Saturday among the Preakness horses. His trainer has won the Preakness a record-tying seven times. Baffert ran second in last year’s delayed Preakness with Authentic. Medina Spirit was able to take the field gate to wire to pull off the upset in the Derby, returning his backers (including readers here at Odds Shark) $26.20.

The colt figures to be on or close to the lead again on Saturday, and his stablemate Concert Tour should be keeping him company. Baffert knows how to get Derby starters to wheel back on a 14-day break and not regress, and this colt is a logical threat although his current price of +185 at Bovada is on the short side.

Midnight Bourbon

The Steve Asmussen trainee is the current third choice in early Preakness wagering at Bovada at +500. The colt was bumped around early in the Derby, raced wide much of the trip and finished evenly in a sixth-place finish, beaten 8¼ lengths.

He picks up a new rider in Irad Ortiz Jr., as Mike Smith gets the ride on Baffert’s Concert Tour. The colt raced in all three Derby prep races at Fair Grounds and was part of the pace in each. He wired the field in the Lecomte (G3), then pressed the pace and did not have enough punch left late in a third-place finish in the Risen Star (G2). He then dueled for the early lead and could not go with the winner late in a runner-up finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

Keepmeinmind

This colt was a long shot in the Kentucky Derby and pretty much ran like one, breaking a beat slow, running next to last in the early going and passing a few tiring horses late to finish seventh.

The Robertino Diodoro trainee showed some real promise as a juvenile last year. He ran second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in his first start against winners and then was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). He capped off his 2020 campaign by winning the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.

He did not progress this year, running sixth in the Rebel and then fifth in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. The colt is currently +1600 in early Preakness betting at Bovada and probably should be higher.

The New Shooters

There are seven new shooters for this year’s Preakness. In just four of the last 20 editions of the Preakness did the winner not participate in the Derby. Two of those were fillies that ran in the Kentucky Oaks — Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and last year when Swiss Skydiver held off Derby winner Authentic by a neck.

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Here are the best of the newcomers:

Concert Tour

Baffert elected to skip the Kentucky Derby with his colt after he came up short in a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his final prep. The colt won the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park two back, which earned him enough points to run in the Derby.

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith will be on board this colt. Joel Rosario rode the colt in all four of his career starts but lands on the Japanese invader France Go de Ina. The colt raced forwardly, wiring the field in the Rebel, and there is the possibility of an early pace duel developing with the favorite, which would not be good for either one of them.

Crowded Trade

Trainer Chad Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with new shooter Cloud Computing, held out Crowded Trade from the Derby in favor of heading to Baltimore. The colt is currently listed at +800 in early Preakness betting.

The colt has just three starts under his belt, with a third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct in his last outing. The two who finished in front of him were long shots Bourbonic and Dynamic One, who came back to run 13th and 18th in the Kentucky Derby.

Rombauer

This colt earned an automatic berth in the Preakness by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields over the Tapeta synthetic surface back in February. He then was third in the Blue Grass at Keeneland in his last start.

The Michael McCarthy trainee has not run fast enough yet to be a major threat, but he did show some promise as a juvenile, running second in the American Pharoah (G1) at Santa Anita. The colt is currently at odds of +1200 in early Preakness betting.

Completing the Preakness field are Ram (+3000), France Go de Ina (+3000), Unbridled Honor (+1400) and Risk Taking (+1200).

When is the Preakness Horse Race?

The Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the Triple Crown and will be the 13th race on a 14-race card at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland.

Post time for the opening race at Pimlico on Saturday is 10:30 a.m. ET with the Preakness scheduled post being 6:47 p.m. ET. Television coverage will be from 2 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and then 5 to 7:30 on NBC.