Rombauer won the Preakness. Photo by Allison Janezic.

That sound you heard around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night? 

That was the huge sigh of relief from so many in the Thoroughbred racing community, when Medina Spirit finished a well-beaten third in the Preakness Stakes, and the easy-to-root-for Michael McCarthy’s Rombauer took the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown, giving the trainer his first Classic winner.

So said Teresa Genaro in her Preakness recap story. Here’s how the race unfolded in pictures, from Nick Hahn.

The Preakness field breaks evenly. Rombauer is number 6 in the pink silks.

John Velazquez and Medina Spirit (#3) take the lead with Midnight Bourbon (#5) to their outside.
Medina Spirit winner maintains the lead with Midnight Bourbon (#5) spaced on his outside flank with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.  Preakness winner Rombauer (#6) with the pink jockey silks worn by Flavien Prat is between horses in the third flight.

Medina Spirit is engaged by Midnight Bourbon as Concert Tour (#10), who has Mike Smith aboard, races on the outside the first time under the wire.  Rombauer drops back in the third flight of horses but moves toward the rail.

Entering the first turn, Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon are out front setting the first quarter in 23.77.  In the middle of the third line of the tight group, Rombauer is in traffic but comfortably moving.

Midway on the turn, the frontrunners barely appear to be touching the ground before a gallery of racewatchers while separating from the next line of runners.  Rombauer’s brilliant pink silks are barely visible between horses in sixth position.

That same half length lead Medina Spirit has earned over Midnight Bourbon becomes visible.  Rombauer is in still in sixth position looking at three contenders in a line in front of him that includes Concert Tour, France Go de Ina ridden by Joel Rosario (#7) and Crowded Trade ridden by Javier Castellano (#4).  The first half mile is set in 46.93.

Midway up the backstretch France Go de Ina and Crowded Trade vie for room along the rail moving inside of a length to Medina Spirit.  France Go de Ina is nearly even with Midnight Bourbon.  Rombauer best of that early “third line,” can move into fifth position ahead of Concert Tour. Note people watching from the second floor of Barn 8.

Midway on the turn, Rombauer has passed Concert Tour and a Crowded Trade who drops behind.  Rombauer is near invisible in this photo running even with #7 France Go de Ina, while Concert Tour (#10) begins to throw in the towel.. The leading duo though a little more than two lengths ahead are unchanged with Medina Spirit maintaining a stubborn half-length lead.  The fraction for three quarters of a mile is 1:10.97.

With a quarter to go at Pimlico, Midnight Bourbon finally draws even with Medina Spirit as France Go de Ina fades, leaving Rombauer in space with an opportunity to launch a bid, which he does.
As the course straightens up Midnight Bourbon gets his first call in front edging away from Medina Spirit.  Rombauer, full of run, is two lengths back.  It’s a three-horse race now after going a mile in 1:34.78.

Still stubborn, Medina Spirit attempts to stay in contention as Rombauer draws even with him.  Midnight Bourbon has the lead by a neck, maybe a half-length as the charge of Rombauer continues.

Inside the three sixteenth’s pole Midnight Bourbon has put aside Medina Spirt by a length but the emerging threat of Rombauer now clearly in second takes more prominence. 

At the eighth pole, Rombauer quickly finds even terms with Midnight Bourbon as Medina Spirit gives, making it a two horse race to the wire.

Rombauer puts a neck in front of Midnight Bourbon, while Medina Spirit labors at the rail.

At the sixteenth pole, Rombauer has a clear two-length lead and is prepared to run away with the Preakness.

As they hit the wire, Rombauer wins by 3 1/2 lengths over Midnight Bourbon, who is two lengths clear of Medina Spirit in third, four lengths ahead of Keepmeinmind (#2).  The timer stops at 1:53.62, the eighth fastest Preakness recorded at a mile and three-sixteenths.

Photo Allison Janezic.