Still In Triple Crown Hunt: Kentucky Derby Winner Medina Spirit Makes Preakness Stakes Draw

Posted By Dave Bontempo on May 12, 2021 - Last Updated on May 13, 2021

New Jersey online sports bettors, who can access Saturday’s $ 1million Preakness Stakes via 4NJBETS powered by TVG, may see the 146th running proceed as normal.

Kentucky Derby-winning Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert cleared a speed bump Tuesday for the middle jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown series.

They reached an agreement with Maryland officials allowing Medina Spirit, who failed a post-Derby drug test, to compete in the Preakness if a pre-race test conducted Tuesday comes back clean.

Results will be known Friday.

Expecting all systems go, Pimlico Race Course conducted Tuesday’s draw that included both Medina Spirit and his stablemate Concert Tour. They are the 1-2 favorites.

Here are the post positions, odds, and jockeys for the Preakness, conducted at 1 3-16 miles and dating back to 1873. Post time is about 6:48 p.m.

Number Horse Odds Jockey
1)Ram          30-1 Ricardo Santana Jr.
2)Keepmeinmind 15-1  David Cohen
3)Medina Spirit    9-5John Velazquez
4)Crowded Trade  10-1Javier Castellano
5)Midnight Bourbon  5-1Irad Ortiz Jr.
6)Rombauer           12-1Flavien Prat
7)France Go De Ina 20-1Joel Rosario
8)Unbridled Honor 15-1Luis Saez
9)Risk Taking      15-1 Jose Ortiz
10)Concert Tour 5-2Mike Smith

More about the Preakness Stakes

Although the track will allow roughly 10,000 spectators, Garden State gamblers can participate in New Jersey via mobile apps, tablets, computers, and various simulcast facilities.

Bear in mind there are social-distancing rules at simulcast facilities.  This affects betting lines and overall comfort.

Mobile horse betting may be the easiest and most convenient wagering venue.

The Preakness also sports an extraordinary undercard throughout the afternoon.

Here’s the lineup:

  • The $250,000 Dinner Party Stakes, began in 1870 and Pimlico’s oldest stakes event
  • The $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes
  • The $150,000 Gallorette Stakes
  • The $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes

Plus, there is a  group of $100,000 races that include the Arabian Derby, Sir Barton Stakes, James Murphy Stakes, Jim McKay Stakes Race, and Skipat Stakes.

They round out an excellent betting card. This practice follows an industry norm of stacking major events on one card to support a blockbuster race. Track officials hope to corner the market and betting handle with this strategy.

 

Baffert and Pimlico: A bittersweet symphony

The ironic main player in the drug-test saga is Baffert, the Hall of Fame trainer. He is tied for the most Preakness wins, seven with R. Wyndham Walden.

Baffert has also guided the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018), who, naturally, won the Preakness Stakes along the way.

A victory by Medina Spirit or Concert Tour would give Baffert an unprecedented eighth Preakness. A win by Medina Spirit would presumably send him to the Belmont Stakes on June 5 in search of horse racing’s 14th Triple Crown sweep.

That would create stratospheric betting interest at the Belmont.

Besides Baffert, nobody is rooting harder for Medina Spirit than officials at Belmont Park.

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Breaking down the Preakness field

Medina Spirit got to the lead early in the Kentucky Derby and held off chief contenders Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie, and Essential Quality, who won’t run here.

He is expected to gun for the lead from the 3 hole and has more early speed than the horses near him.

Concert Tour, on the far outside, also breaks alertly.

Trainers with two horses in one race often direct different strategies to their jockeys. One horse will shoot to the lead, trying to engage competitors in a speed duel, while the other stalks and runs them all down.

But Baffert has two speed-type horses here. They may both try to go to the lead and then settle in.

The field overall has been inconsistent.

Concert Tour, the second favorite, was beaten decisively by Super Stock in the Arkansas Derby. Can he regain the form that brought him a Rebel Stakes victory before that?

Midnight Bourbon ran third in the Blue Grass and then sixth in the Kentucky Derby because of traffic problems. He likes to run near the lead.

Keepmeinmind may be aptly named. A seventh-place Derby finish could entice bettors to forget about him. But his break, he came out of the Derby gate about two seconds after the race began, comes under the “excuse” category.

The break prompted him to be dead last for more than a mile, but he rallied into seventh. A normal break puts him in a position to do much better. This horse runs late and must be closer to the front-runners early to have a chance.

Rombauer was third in the Blue Grass Stakes and competes exactly five weeks after that race. For some horses, this is a perfect length between events. Rombauer is thus eligible to improve but also is a closer in a speed-favoring race.

Risk Taking was a soundly-beaten 2-1 favorite in the Wood Memorial. The winner of that race, Bourbonic, did not run well in the Derby.

Unbridled Honor will run late and his best effort, second in the Lexington Stakes, came in the slop. Conditions are expected to be ideal on Saturday.

Crowded Trade was also beaten in the Wood Memorial. He’s another closer in a race profile that favors speed.

France Go De Ina was sixth in the UAE Derby and has an uphill climb here.

Ram joins Medina Spirit as the only horses in the race entering off of a victory. His odds are long because he won at claiming level, then allowance and now he’s put in a $1 million race. Colossal jump.

Final thoughts

Don’t hesitate to back mid-range horses or longshots. The favorites are good, but not great.

Taking a $1 trifecta key with your favorite horse over four others costs $12. Your horse must win and any combo of the other four can finish second and third.

For a $1 superfecta, that same bet costs $24.

You want some long shots in the mix with this strategy.

If Concert Tour and Medina spirit both finish in the top three, trifecta payouts will be small.

 

 

Photo by AP/Julio Cortez
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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