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Rombauer wins the Preakness, ending Medina Spirit’s Triple Crown bid

Rombauer won the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday, finishing ahead of Midnight Bourbon.

Flavien Prat celebrates as Rombauer gallops to victory in the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

BALTIMORE — Rombauer won the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, finishing ahead of Midnight Bourbon.

The victory ended Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s bid to become only the 14th horse to win a Triple Crown. Medina Spirit finished third after leading early on.

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Rombauer wins the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes

Rombauer, right, breaks away from Midnight Bourbon moments before crossing the finish line to win the Preakness.
Rombauer, right, breaks away from Midnight Bourbon moments before crossing the finish line to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — A Southern California-based horse won the 146th running of the Preakness Stakes, just not the one you thought.

Rombauer, trained by Mike McCarthy and ridden by Flavien Prat, came charging on the outside to win the race by 3 1/2 lengths.

It appeared the race would go as expected as Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon ran together at the front of the race. Midnight Bourbon put his head in front exiting the far turn. It seemed it was his race to win, but then Rombauer was gaining on every jump.

Rombauer paid $25.60, $10.00 and $5.20. Midnight Bourbon was second followed by Medina Spirit, Keepmeinmind, Crowded Table, Unbridled Honor, France Go De Ina, Risk Taking, Concert Tour and Ram.

Rombauer, second from right, leads the pack before winning the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Rombauer qualified for the Preakness by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. Both Pimlico and Golden Gate are owned by the Stronach Group and it was a deal that has been run in the past. The problem is that Golden Gate has a synthetic surface and sometimes horses that run well there don’t always do well on dirt. But, clearly that wasn’t a problem Saturday.

It was Prat’s second Triple Crown win but the first in which he crossed the finish line first. In 2019 he was aboard Country House in the Kentucky Derby and finished second to Maximum Security, who was disqualified.

The talk this week was all about Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner who may be facing a disqualification for a positive drug test. The drug is betamethasone, a corticosteroid that acts as an anti-inflammatory and is not considered a performance enhancer. It’s a legal medication but not on race day.

At first, trainer Bob Baffert did not know how the drug, which is usually injected into a joint, got into Medina Spirit’s system. But two days later, he learned that the horse had been treated with a topical ointment for a rash on his hind quarter.

Flavien Prat rides atop Rombauer as he crosses the finish line to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)
Flavien Prat sits atop Rombauer after winning the 146th Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Will Newton / Associated Press)

Baffert has not been charged with anything pending the results of a split sample to verify the original findings. On Thursday, Craig Robertson, Baffert’s Kentucky-based attorney, said the sample has not been sent off yet.

“The particular lab has not been chosen,” Robertson said. “We are working through those issues and I suspect everything will be finalized shortly. Given the importance of the matter everyone is rightfully proceeding in a careful and thoughtful manner to make sure everything is done correctly.”

The delay could very well be beneficial to Baffert if he wants to run in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. It takes about two to four weeks to get a sample tested and returned. The lack of the results of the second sample could make it easier for the New York Racing Assn. to allow him to enter horses in the Belmont.

John Velazquez rides Medina Spirit to a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Baffert has been barred from racing at Churchill Downs, more of a symbolic gesture as he runs very few horses at that track. The Maryland Jockey Club and Baffert came to an understanding before the Preakness that his horses would be given three pre-race tests before being allowed to run. They passed all those tests.

If the split sample test comes back positive, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will set a date for a hearing and the case will be heard. If Baffert loses, the case probably will be appealed with it eventually ending in the courts. The only medication disqualification in the Kentucky Derby was in 1968 when Dancer’s Image was disqualified and Forward Pass was made the winner. The case took four years to resolve itself.

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Latest betting odds as post time approaches for Preakness Stakes

A woman places a bet at Pimlico Race Course before the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — With less than an hour to go, you’re starting to see a little more money to Concert Tour, who dropped from 4-1 to 7-2. So, the top three horses are all within one number of each other. Midnight Bourbon stays at 5-2 and Medina Spirit also remains at 3-1.

Other moves in the last hour saw France Go de Ina go from 21-1 to 22-1 and Risk Taking dropped from 12-1 to 13-1.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 6 p.m. EDT in Baltimore. Post is 6:47 p.m. EDT.

1. Ram 13-1

2. Keepmeinmind 12-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 13-1

7. France Go de Ina 22-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 13-1

10. Concert Tour 7-2

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Bob Baffert breaks his silence: ‘Medina Spirit earned his Kentucky Derby win’

Horse trainer Bob Baffert walks through a stable.
Horse trainer Bob Baffert is not attending the Preakness Stakes on Saturday as his horse, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, tries to stay in the Triple Crown chase.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer Bob Baffert has broken his silence.

The normally very accessible Baffert stopped talking to media Monday after a flurry of interviews Sunday and early Monday. In one of his last interviews, on Fox News, he said he might have been the victim of “cancel culture.”

That didn’t even sit well on Fox News as “Primetime” host Brian Kilmeade shot back saying: “Cancel culture? Bob Baffert, you are no Dr. Seuss.”

It was shortly after that remark he stopped speaking to the media.

On Saturday, Baffert issued a lengthy statement exclusively to NBC, which is airing the Preakness Stakes.

Here’s the transcript of that statement:

“As Medina Spirit prepares to run in the Preakness Stakes today, I want to keep the focus on this amazing equine athlete and not me, which is the primary reason I will not personally be in attendance. I do not want to serve as a distraction to what has always been of paramount importance — the joy of this great sport and the horses that make it possible.

“As I have stated from the beginning, there was never any attempt to game or cheat the system and Medina Spirit earned his Kentucky Derby win. While the presence of 21 picograms of an allowable therapeutic medication has yet to be confirmed by the split sample analysis, it would have nothing to do with Medina Spirit’s hard earned and deserved win. That win was the result of the horse’s tremendous heart and nothing else.

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, I acknowledge that I am not perfect and I could have better handled the initial announcement of this news. Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby win was so personally meaningful to me, and I had such a wonderful experience on May 1 at Churchill Downs, that when I got the news of the test results, it truly was the biggest gut punch I had ever received and I was devastated. That, coupled with the fact that I always try to be accommodating and transparent with the media, led to an emotional press conference on May 9 in which I said some things that have been perceived as hurtful to some in the industry. For that I am truly sorry. I have devoted my life’s work to this great sport and I owe it, and those who make it possible, nothing but an eternal debt of gratitude.

“For those who want an explanation for what transpired with Medina Spirit, I have tried to be open and transparent from the beginning. Our investigation is continuing and I don’t have definitive answers at this point. What I do know is that neither my barn, nor my veterinarians, directly treated Medina Spirit with the anti-inflammatory medication betamethasone. Even though it is allowable, it is just not something we have ever used with this horse. The only possible explanation that we have uncovered to date — and I emphasize the word possible — is that betamethasone is an ingredient in a topical ointment that was being applied to Medina Spirit to treat a dermatitis skin condition he developed after the Santa Anita Derby.

“I have been deeply saddened to see this case portrayed as a ‘doping’ scandal or betamethasone labeled as a ‘banned’ substance. Neither is remotely true. Betamethasone is an allowable and commonly used medication in horse racing. Further, 21 picograms would have zero pharmacology in a horse. All I ask is that everyone not rush to judgment and allow all of the facts, evidence and science to come to light.

“Lastly, while this has been extremely hard and emotionally draining on me and my family, today is not about Bob Baffert. Instead it is about Medina Spirit and all of the other equine athletes in our tremendous sport. I hope that everyone will direct their attention to them and give them the love and respect they so richly deserve.”

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Latest betting odds: Midnight Bourbon set to leave the gate as the favorite

Midnight Bourbon works out in April.
Midnight Bourbon works out at Churchill Downs in April.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — The race is less than two hours away, and barring some big late dumps of money, Midnight Bourbon will go off as the favorite around 5-2. His number has not changed all day and his odds have remained below those of Medina Spirit (3-1) and Concert Tour (4-1).

The only horse to change odds in the last hour was Ram, the Wayne Lukas longshot, who went from 12-1 to 13-1. He was 30-1 on the morning line.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 5 p.m. in Baltimore. Post is 6:47 p.m. EDT.

1. Ram 13-1

2. Keepmeinmind 12-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go de Ina 21-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 4-1

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Early races at Pimlico mostly go as predicted

Market Cap crosses the finish line without a jockey
Market Cap crosses the finish line after its jockey, Johan Rosado, was unseated near the starting gate during the Sir Barton Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — Form has been holding up pretty well at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday in the stakes races preceding the Preakness Stakes. There has only been horse that might be considered a longshot winning a stakes as Firecrow paid $21.60 while winning the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes. That race is five furlongs on the turf.

Here are the other winners of stakes races on Saturday:

—The King Cheek ($10.40) won the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles.

—Mighty Mischief ($5.60) won the Grade 3 $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

—Mean Mary ($3.60) was the winner of the Grade 3 $150,000 Gallorette Stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

—T D Dance ($3.80) was the winner of the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf.

—Chub Wagon ($4.40) won the $100,000 Skipat Stakes for fillies and mares going six furlongs.

—Special Reserve ($9.80) won the Grade 3 $150,000 Maryland Sprint Match Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

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Preakness Stakes latest odds: Board remains consistent

Socially distanced seats are set up at the Preakness Stakes.
Socially distanced seats are seen in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the running of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday in Baltimore.
(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — The Preakness odds board has been amazingly consistent since wagering opened Friday with Midnight Bourbon (5-2) a slight favorite over Medina Spirit (3-1) and Concert Tour (4-1). It’s getting to the point where a lot of money has already been bet into the pool so it’s more difficult to change the odds. In the last hour, only one horse changed with France Go de Ina going from 20-1 to 21-1.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 4 p.m. in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 12-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go de Ina 21-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 4-1

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Concert Tour

Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, left, and grooms give Concert Tour a bath
Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes helps give Concert Tour a bath Wednesday ahead of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Post 10: Concert Tour

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Owners: Gary and Mary West

Purchase price: Homebred

Morning line: 5-2

Jon White’s analysis: In early April (after Life Is Good had been sidelined by a hind ankle injury), Concert Tour was widely considered to be Baffert’s top contender for the Kentucky Derby. But then Concert Tour ran third as an overwhelming 3-10 favorite in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 10. It was Concert Tour’s first defeat in four starts. Shortly after Concert Tour’s setback in the Arkansas Derby, the decision was made by Baffert and owners Gary and Mary West to skip the Kentucky Derby with the Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt. “Concert Tour out. Wait for Preakness,” Baffert texted Churchill Downs officials regarding the Run for the Roses. After such a disappointing loss in the Arkansas Derby, the thinking was Concert Tour needed more time than the three weeks between that race and the Kentucky Derby. “Three weeks just wasn’t enough to really feel comfortable to go” to the Kentucky Derby, Baffert explained. “And Gary West really didn’t feel comfortable running in the Derby after a race like that” by Concert Tour in the Arkansas Derby.

Consequently, Concert Tour is going into the Preakness fresher than Medina Spirit. Whereas Medina Spirit is being asked to race again just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, it will have been five weeks since Concert Tour’s last start. Concert Tour registered a front-running 4¼-length victory in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes on March 13. “To me, it was kind of an American Pharoah-type run,” Baffert said. “He was doing it with ease, with plenty left.” That was high praise. In 2015, the Baffert-trained American Pharoah won the Rebel and Arkansas Derby before taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to end a 37-year Triple Crown drought.

In the Rebel, Concert Tour dashed immediately to the front. Don’t be surprised if he likewise seizes the early lead Saturday. If Concert Tour does get the early lead, it will force Medina Spirit to have to try and win the race from off the pace. The two races in which Medina Spirit did not get the early lead this year, he lost both times, finishing second.

White’s ranking: First

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Preakness Stakes latest odds: Midnight Bourbon remains favorite to win

Midnight Bourbon is led onto the track.
Preakness entrant Midnight Bourbon has a steady lead among odds makers ahead of the race.
(Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — The odds board at the Preakness stayed exactly the same in the past hour as the race drew within four hours of being run. In fact, the order of the three top horses has not changed since betting was first accepted Friday. Midnight Bourbon, who was 5-1 on the morning line, was the favorite of the betting public from the start around 5-2. Medina Spirit, 9-5 on the morning line, is the second favorite at 3-1. And Concert Tour is higher than his morning-line odds of 5-2 as he is at 4-1, down from a high of 9-2.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 3 p.m. in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 12-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go de Ina 20-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 4-1

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Risk Taking

Risk Taking arrives at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the horse race.
Risk Taking, a Preakness Stakes entrant, arrives Tuesday at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the horse race in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Post 9: Risk Taking

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Owner: Klaravich Stables

Purchase price: $240,000

Morning line: 15-1

Jon White’s analysis: Risk Taking was scratched from May 8’s Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park to go instead in the Preakness. After winning Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths on Feb. 6, he was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Wood at that track April 3. Risk Taking never threatened and finished seventh in the Wood. Perhaps he will rebound and give a good account of himself in the Preakness. Brown has talked about how he believes the longer 1 3/16-mile distance of Saturday’s race is going to suit the Kentucky-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt.

White’s ranking: Sixth

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Unbridled Honor

Todd Pletcher watches horses on the track at Churchill Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher has Unbridled Honor in the Preakness Stakes.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Post 8: Unbridled Honor

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Whisper Hill Farm

Purchase price: Homebred

Morning line: 15-1

Jon White’s analysis: After finishing fourth in the March 6 Tampa Bay Derby, Unbridled Honor ran second on a sloppy track in Keeneland’s April 10 Lexington Stakes. His trainer, who has been elected to the Hall of Fame this year, certainly is a plus. But any way you slice it, a Preakness victory by Unbridled Honor would be a huge upset.

White’s ranking: Ninth

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: France Go de Ina

An exercise rider works out with France Go de Ina on a track.
An exercise rider works out Tuesday with France Go de Ina at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Post 7: France Go de Ina

Trainer: Hideyuki Mori

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Owner: Yuji Inaida

Purchase price: $100,000

Morning line: 20-1

Jon White’s analysis: France Go de Ina is this year’s Preakness wild card. Bred in Kentucky and based in Japan, France Go de Ina will be making his first U.S. start. Runners based in Japan have been doing well in important races on the world stage in recent years. In his only 2021 race to date, France Go de Ina lacked early speed after a tardy beginning and finished sixth in the UAE Derby when ridden by Rosario. France Go de Ina won two of three starts in Japan last year. In his two 2020 victories, he set or forced the pace. Will he break well this time and show early zip? What’s especially interesting is rather than jump ship, Rosario is riding the colt again in the Preakness. France Go de Ina’s dam is a daughter of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin.

White’s ranking: Eighth

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Preakness Stakes latest odds: Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour loses points

Concert Tour is walked to the track for a morning exercise
Concert Tour is walked to the track for a morning exercise Tuesday at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — There were a couple of small moves on the odds board in the last hour, the more important being that Concert Tour has dropped a little. The Bob Baffert-trained colt went from 9-2 to 4-1 in the last hour. The colt was thought to be one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby until he ran a lackluster third in the Arkansas Derby. Owners Gary and Mary West decided to skip the Kentucky Derby and point to the Preakness.

The other move was that Keepmeinmind went from 11-1 to 12-1. Midnight Bourbon remains the favorite at 5-2.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 2 p.m. in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 12-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go de Ina 20-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 4-1

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Rombauer

Rombauer works out
Rombauer works out during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Wednesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Post 6: Rombauer

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Owners: John Fradkin and Diane Fradkin

Purchase price: Homebred

Morning line: 12-1

Jon White’s analysis: Rombauer earned an automatic berth in the Preakness by winning the El Camino Real Derby on a synthetic surface on Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields in his 2021 debut. In his only subsequent start, the Kentucky-bred Twirling Candy colt finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes on dirt at Keeneland on April 3. It appears he has trained well for the Preakness. Finishing fourth or better Saturday is far from out of the question.

White’s ranking: Seventh

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France Go de Ina racing in Preakness Stakes under quarantine restrictions

An exercise rider works out with France Go de Ina.
An exercise rider works out with France Go de Ina during a Tuesday morning workout at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — One thing different about the Preakness is there is a separate paddock on the turf course rather than the traditional saddling barn. Legend has it that it dates back to Seattle Slew, when the owners thought it would be less chaotic to saddle the horse away from people on the grass course to the inside of the main track.

When this happens later Saturday afternoon, it will be noted that one horse will be saddled about 50 yards away from the other nine. France Go de Ina will do his final race preparations by himself. It’s not like he has no friends or is aggressive to other horses. It’s just that the Japanese-based horse is under some quarantine restrictions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He is stabled away from other horses, works out by himself and will be saddled by himself. His only exposure to other horses will be during the race.

It’s actually a good thing. On Wednesday, the colt was out for a breeze by himself when his exercise rider, Masaki Takano, fell off the horse. Because there was no one around, the rider was never in any peril. Here’s a video of it (Incident at about the 1:30 mark).

“The only casualty from the fall was a pair of Oakley sunglasses,” said Kate Hunter, the Preakness representative to the Japan Racing Assn. “His pride was the only thing that was broken. When he passed the finish, [Takano] was switching his weight to do the gallop out and he lost his balance. He tried to regain it, which is why the horse looked a bit wobbly and he just fell.”

France Go de Ina starts in the seventh gate.

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Midnight Bourbon

Midnight Bourbon works out
Midnight Bourbon works out during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Wednesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Post 5: Midnight Bourbon

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owners: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Purchase price: $525,000

Morning line: 5-1

Jon White’s analysis: Midnight Bourbon has the look of a Preakness contender. His trainer has two Preakness victories, Curlin in 2007 and the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Midnight Bourbon had never finished worse than third in seven career starts. But he was taken out of his game when he broke sluggishly and found himself much farther back early than ever before. After being 14th at one point, according to the Equibase chart, he actually did well to finish sixth in the field of 19. It looks like Midnight Bourbon will be close up early Saturday. And the Kentucky-bred colt by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow just might prove a tough customer all the way to the end.

White’s ranking: Third

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Latest Preakness Stakes odds: Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit remain close contenders

Grooms give Medina Spirit a post-workout sponge bath
Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit is bathed after a workout ahead of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — There was no movement by any horse on the Preakness odds board in the past hour. Midnight Bourbon is a mild surprise as the 5-2 favorite. Just a tick behind is Medina Spirit at 3-1 and there could be some value in Concert Tour at 9-2.

Here are the Preakness odds as of 1 p.m. in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 11-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go De Ina 20-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 9-2

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Crowded Trade

Preakness entrant Crowded Trade works out
Preakness entrant Crowded Trade works out during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Wednesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Post 4: Crowded Trade

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Owners: Klaravich Stables

Purchase price: $185,000

Morning line: 10-1

Jon White’s analysis: Crowded Trade is light on experience. This will be just his fourth career start. But the Kentucky-bred More Than Ready colt does seem to possess talent. Brown won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing. There is a striking similarity between Crowded Trade and Cloud Computing. They both won an Aqueduct maiden race at first asking. They both then finished second in Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes. They both then ran third in the Wood Memorial at the Big A. And they both then started in the Preakness.

White’s ranking: fourth

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Medina Spirit

Exercise rider Humberto Gomez takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit over the track.
Exercise rider Humberto Gomez takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Medina Spirit over the track during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Post 3: Medina Spirit

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owners: Zedan Racing Stables

Purchase price: $35,000

Morning line: 9-5

Jon White’s analysis: Medina Spirit is the official 2021 Kentucky Derby winner … for now. His status as such is in serious jeopardy after Baffert’s announcement Sunday that the Florida-bred Protonico colt had tested positive for 21 picograms of the corticosteroid betamethasone, a legal therapeutic medication that is not allowed to be in a horse’s system in a race. Baffert initially stated categorically that betamethasone had “never” been administered to Medina Spirit. But the trainer then said Tuesday that because Medina Spirit had “developed dermatitis on his hind end” after finishing second in the April 3 Santa Anita Derby, the colt had been treated with “an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax,” which does contain betamethasone. In light of that revelation, it now seems highly likely that Medina Spirit is, at some point, going to be disqualified from his Kentucky Derby victory.

Medina Spirit certainly can win the Preakness. After all, before this year, all five of Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winners in May (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2015) returned two weeks later to win the Preakness.

Last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness were run later than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baffert won the Sept. 3 Kentucky Derby with Authentic, who then lost the Oct. 5 Preakness by a head to the filly Swiss Skydiver.

Baffert has won the Preakness seven times. Besides doing so with the aforementioned five Kentucky Derby winners, Baffert won the Preakness with Point Given in 2001 and Lookin At Lucky in 2010. Baffert and R. Wyndham Walden, who won the race seven times from 1875 to 1888, share the Preakness record for most victories by a trainer.

When Medina Spirit gets the early lead, he is one tough dude to get by. The two races in which Medina Spirit has set the pace this year, he won both times, taking Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30 and the Kentucky Derby. In the Derby, he refused to relinquish the lead all the way down the stretch while fending off Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and 5-2 favorite Essential Quality, who finished 2-3-4. Baffert said Medina Spirit’s determination during the stretch drive of the Derby “was sort of the same race he ran when he won the Robert Lewis.”

Another reason Medina Spirit merits the utmost respect is his consistency. He has never finished worse than second in six lifetime starts. But a concern regarding Medina Spirit is what he will do if he’s not able to get the early lead. As noted earlier, in his two races this year in which he did not get the early lead, he was unable to win.

White’s ranking: Second

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Latest Preakness Stakes odds: Medina Spirit in close second

Medina Spirit, Roman Centurian and Hot Rod Charlie race.
(Benoit Photo/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE—The odds board didn’t move much in the last hour as Midnight Bourbon continued to be the favorite by a slight 5-2 to 3-1 for Medina Spirit. Two horses did move one point as Unbridled Honor went from 12-1 to 11-1 and Risk Taking dropped from 13-1 to 12-1.

Here are the Preakness odds as of noon in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 11-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go De Ina 20-1

8. Unbridled Honor 11-1

9. Risk Taking 12-1

10. Concert Tour 9-2

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Keepmeinmind

Preakness entrant Keepmeinmind works out during a training session
Preakness entrant Keepmeinmind works out during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday in Baltimore.
(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Post 2: Keepmeinmind

Trainer: Robertino Diodoro

Jockey: David Cohen

Owners: Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm

Purchase price: Not sold publicly

Morning line: 15-1

Jon White’s analysis: The feeling here is Keepmeinmind is a live longshot. The Kentucky-bred Laoban colt was good enough to finish third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Oh, sure, he has not finished better than fifth in three starts this year. But he’s been forced to play catch-up ever since he missed some training early in the year when Oaklawn Park was hit by a severe winter storm. His performance in the Kentucky Derby was better than it might seem at first glance. Last among the 19 starters during the initial six furlongs, he rallied to finish seventh. The late zest he exhibited in Louisville on May 1 suggests he should not be cavalierly dismissed Saturday in Baltimore.

White’s ranking: Fifth

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Bob Baffert’s Hozier a beaten favorite in first race

Trainer Bob Baffert talks with jockey Florent Geroux outside of his stable.
Trainer Bob Baffert talks with jockey Florent Geroux outside of his stable at Churchill Downs in 2020.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — A harbinger of what’s to come or just another horse race?

Lost in all the chatter over Medina Spirit, trainer Bob Baffert also sent his highly regarded 3-year-old Hozier to Pimlico Race Course to run in the $100,000 Sir Barton Sakes, the first race on the 14-race Saturday card.

It looked like a simple walkover for Hozier with only five horses in the field, which was cut down to four when Market Cap stumbled out of the gate and lost his rider. (Both horse and jockey were unhurt.) But even running against three other horses, the $625,000 purchase could do no better than second.

Hozier was the betting favorite at 1-2 ($2 bet returns $3 to win). He had no excuses in the 1 1/16 -mile race after going to the lead entering the far turn. He was beaten by a head by The King Cheek, who paid $10.40 to win.

“He ran a very good race,” said assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who is handling Baffert’s horses at Pimlico this week. “Joel [Rosario, Hozier’s jockey] thought he made the right move, getting down to the inside. Give a lot of credit to the horse that won. He fought back on and passed us.”

Hozier underwent standard drug screening while stablemates Medina Spirit, Concert Tour and Beautiful Gift all were subjected to special enhanced pre-race drug testing.

Hozier was once on the Kentucky Derby trail after breaking his maiden in his second start on Feb. 15. He then finished second in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, losing to Concert Tour by 4¼ lengths. He then ran in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and finished a well-beaten sixth.

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Preakness Stakes 2021 horses: Ram

Guadalupe Guerrero, left, and exercise rider Jade Cunningham give Preakness hopeful Ram a bath.
Guadalupe Guerrero, left, and exercise rider Jade Cunningham give Preakness hopeful Ram a bath after a morning exercise at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Post 1: Ram

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Owners: Christina Baker and William L. Mack

Purchase price: $375,000

Morning line: 30-1

Jon White’s analysis: This is by far Ram’s toughest assignment yet in that he’s making his stakes debut. But Ram is coming into the race with improving form. After losing his first seven starts, Ram has won two in a row. His sire, American Pharoah, won the Preakness during his 2015 Triple Crown sweep. Ram is the longest shot on Keith Feustel’s Preakness morning line at 30-1. But keep in mind that Lukas managed to pull off a 15-1 Preakness upset in 2013 with Oxbow. And Lukas has executed a number of other upsets in big races, such as Spain at 55-1 in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Cash Run at 32-1 in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Charismatic at 31-1 in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, Thunder Gulch at 24-1 in the 1995 Kentucky Derby, Cat Thief at 19-1 in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Commendable at 18-1 in the 2000 Belmont.

White’s ranking: 10th

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First odds for Preakness Stakes 2021: Midnight Bourbon early favorite

Kentucky Derby entrant Midnight Bourbon works out.
Kentucky Derby entrant Midnight Bourbon works out at Churchill Downs on April 28. He’s the early favorite for the Preakness Stakes.
(Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

BALTIMORE—The third favorite on the morning-line, Midnight Bourbon is the betting favorite as wagering has started for the Preakness Stakes. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt, at 5-2, has a slight betting edge over morning-line favorite Medina Spirit (3-1) and his stablemate Concert Tour (9-2).

Here are the Preakness odds as of 11 a.m. in Baltimore. Post is 3:47 p.m. PDT.

1. Ram 12-1

2. Keepmeinmind 11-1

3. Medina Spirit 3-1

4. Crowded Trade 8-1

5. Midnight Bourbon 5-2

6. Rombauer 12-1

7. France Go De Ina 20-1

8. Unbridled Honor 12-1

9. Risk Taking 13-1

10. Concert Tour 9-2

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What time does the Preakness Stakes start? What TV channel is it on?

France Go De Ina exercises at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown doesn’t have quite the fanfare as the Kentucky Derby. In fact, raise your hand if you’re going to a Preakness party. Thought so.

But this year, there is so much off-the-track drama that it just might generate more interest than normal. All of which begs the question: What time is the Preakness Stakes ?

We’ll start in Los Angeles, where it is in its usual mid-afternoon position of 3:47 p.m. Moving east, it means 4:47 p.m. if you are in the Mountain time zone, 5:47 p.m. in Chicago and 6:47 p.m. if you are munching on crab cakes in Baltimore.

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What time does the Preakness Stakes start? What TV channel is it on?

BALTIMORE — The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown doesn’t have quite the fanfare as the Kentucky Derby. In fact, raise your hand if you’re going to a Preakness party. Thought so.

But this year, there is so much off-the-track drama that it just might generate more interest than normal. All of which begs the question: What time is the Preakness Stakes ?

We’ll start in Los Angeles, where it is in its usual mid-afternoon position of 3:47 p.m. Moving east, it means 4:47 p.m. if you are in the Mountain time zone, 5:47 p.m. in Chicago and 6:47 p.m. if you are munching on crab cakes in Baltimore.

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Ram tops latest Preakness payout figures

BALTIMORE — One of the best indicators of how the betting will go in the Preakness is to look a two-day wager where you pick the winner of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday and connect it with the winner of the Preakness Stakes.

Army Wife, in the one post, was the winner of the Black-Eyed Susan, and what it tells us is that Midnight Bourbon will be chosen as the favorite by post time. He will be followed by Concert Tour and Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will only be the third choice. Here are the prices the $2 bet will pay with the Preakness horses:

1. Ram $437.40

2. Keepmeinmind $184.80

3. Medina Spirit $64.00

4. Crowded Trade $90.60

5. Midnight Bourbon $46.80

6. Rombauer $137.00

7. France Go De Ina $287.00

8. Unbridled Honor $239.80

9. Risk Taking $180.80

10. Concert Tour $59.60

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All horses, including Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, cleared to run Preakness

Exercise rider Humberto Gomez rides Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit during a training run.
Exercise rider Humberto Gomez rides Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit during a training run at Pimlico Race Course on Wednesday.
(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

BALTIMORE — Bob Baffert is the most recognizable person in horse racing. His unbridled success mixed with a folksy charm and near unlimited media accessibility has served him well. Until now.

The Hall of Fame trainer has found himself enmeshed in a scandal that cuts to the core of why some people hate horse racing: drugs. Medina Spirit, winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, had tested positive for a legal medication that is not considered performance enhancing. It’s just not legal on race day.

Medina Spirit is back racing Saturday as the favorite in the 146th Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. He and stablemates Concert Tour, Beautiful Gift and Hozier had to undergo pre-race screenings for prohibited substances. The horses all passed. Beautiful Gift finished seventh as the favorite in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Concert Tour is the second favorite in the Preakness. And Hozier, who underwent only routine screening, is the favorite in the Sir Barton Stakes.

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