MEDINA SPIRIT INSTALLED AS PREAKNESS FAVORITE
Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit, who upset 18 rivals in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs at 12-1, was installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) following Tuesday’s post-position draw at Pimlico Race Course.
The son of Protonico, who drew Post. No. 3, is scheduled to face nine other 3-year-olds in the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
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Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard for Medina Spirit’s front-running half-length decision at Churchill Downs, was awarded the return mount Saturday by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who 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.
The $1 million Preakness will headline a program with 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million in purses.
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.
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.
- Ram (30-1)
- Keepmeinmind (15-1)
- Medina Spirit (9-5)
- Crowded Trade (10-1)
- Midnight Bourbon (5-1)
- Rombauer (12-1)
- France Go de Ina (15-1)
- Unbridled Honor (15-1)
- Risk Taking (15-1)
- Concert Tour (5-2)