Saturday May 15, 2021
This Saturday marks the official running of the 146th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the second race of the Triple Crown and is sandwiched between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. The Preakness is a Grade I race that has a distance of 9.5 furlongs which is approximately the equivalent of just under one and a quarter miles, and is held on a dirt track. It is the equestrian event with the second highest total attendance behind only the Kentucky Derby in North America.
Like the 2021 Kentucky Derby, this year’s Preakness will have a limited attendance capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pimlico Race Course will be limited to about 10,000 spectators, which is slightly less than the 15,000 who attended the Kentucky Derby. Last year, Swiss Skydiver took home the Preakness with no fans in attendance, and with no Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law in the race.
There has already been some controversy this year, as the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance following the race. A second test cleared Medina Spirit, but he will be monitored closely leading up to the start of the race. As the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit is one of the odds on favorites to take home the Preakness as well, but is that who we would pick? Read on to see who we like in this year’s Preakness Stakes.
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Concert Tour (5-2): Concert Tour comes from the same trainer as Medina Spirit in Bob Baffert, but does not get as much love amongst bettors. Obviously the natural feeling is to lean towards the horse that has already won at the Kentucky Derby, but last year was a classic case where three different horses won the three legs of the Triple Crown. But Concert Tour did not compete in the Kentucky Derby, and his last race, the Arkansas Derby, was the first loss of his career and he still managed to come in third place. Concert Tour is the son of the 2007 Preakness runner up and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, and has a good chance alongside Medina Spirit, to provide Baffert with his 18th career Triple Crown race win.
Medina Spirit (9-5): You have to like one of Baffert’s horses to take the Preakness this year, especially with how the oddsmakers are looking at them too. One stat stands out in terms of Baffert’s success: as a trainer he has won the Preakness Stakes seven times and six of those wins came on the back of the Kentucky Derby winner as well. That points to Medina Spirit having a historical edge over Concert Tour. One thing that makes us lean towards Concert Tour is that he is fresh and Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby just under fourteen days ago. To win two races of this calibre within that amount of time is an extraordinary feat, and it remains to be seen if Medina Spirit is truly an extraordinary horse. What’s more this is Medina Spirit’s sixth straight graded race without a break, meaning fatigue is going to catch up with him at some point.
Midnight Bourbon (5-1): The horse with the smoothes name in the race comes from trainer Steve Asmussen, who has already won the Preakness Stakes twice in his career. Like Medina Spirit, Midnight Bourbon has not had a break in some time with the Preakness being his seventh straight graded race. His sixth place finish at the Kentucky Derby is a little misleading as he took an early bump, and still came back to finish strong. Midnight Bourbon always seems to be in the mix, but just has not been able to put together enough strong races to be considered a favorite like Baffert’s two horses, but perhaps he should be. If Midnight Bourbon can get out to a lead or near the lead at the start of the race, he definitely has what it takes to finish the race strong, something he was able to do when he won the Lecomte Stakes.
Rombauer (12-1): This horse placed third at the Blue Grass Stakes in April, and like Concert Tour, skipped the Kentucky Derby. Rombauer is actually trainer Mike McCarthy’s first ever entry into the Preakness, so there is no historical data to show how McCarthy’s horses have fared. The one problem with Rombauer? So far in his career he is 0-3 on dirt tracks. This speedy colt seemingly runs better as an off-the pace horse, so if some of the faster horses get out to a quick start, lok for Rombauer to come on strong at the end where race finishes have been his strong suit. At 12-1, Rombauer might be worth a small wager as he is flying under the radar of most sharp bettors.
France Go de Ina (25-1): Here is a real long shot bet that is sometimes fun to make even if they have a small chance of actually winning. France Go de Ina is a Japanese racehorse that is making his American debut at the Preakness Stakes. He recently placed sixth at the UAE Derby, although a tough start derailed his chances early on and he could never really get back into the race. What you have to like about France Go de Ina is that nobody really has much information or knowledge of how he performs, which can be an advantage as a bettor. The low odds to win show that casual and sharp bettors are not willing to risk it with the unknown factor. He is being ridden by famed jockey Joel Rosario, who has a Kentucky Derby and two Belmont Stakes’ victories under his belt.
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