A field of 10 will line up in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) including both contenders trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Medina Spirit was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite and drew the three post with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the irons.
His stablemate Concert Tour is the second choice on the morning line at 5-2. Hall of Fame Mike Smith will be on board the son of Street Sense, the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner. Third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park in his last outing, the colt will break from the 10 post.
Just hours before the post draw the Maryland Jockey Club announced they would permit Medina Spirit to run. Baffert announced on Sunday that the colt had tested positive for having 21 picograms of the therapeutic betamethasone in his system after the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Baffert first announced that he had not given the colt the substance. On Wednesday he sent out a statement saying the colt was given an ointment called Otomax for dermatitis. The ointment contains betamethasone. A split sample was sent to the lab with the results pending.
Added Testing for Preakness
As a condition of acceptance of the entry, Baffert has provided his consent to the Maryland Jockey Club to allow for rigorous testing and monitoring in addition to that conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission.
Those additional tests and monitoring are to ensure the fairness and integrity of the races entered by horses trained by Baffert, which are the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) where he sends out Beautiful Gift and his two Preakness starters.
If any of the three Baffert horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance that is above the designated limit, or if after medical review, reasonable conditions warrant, Baffert or MJC on his behalf, will scratch the horse in question.
“Integrity, accountability and safety in our sport are principles that 1/ST RACING puts above all else. Our company has a track record of instituting process and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reforms and we are unwavering in our commitment to put horse and rider safety at the forefront,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, 1/ST RACING. “We are well aware of the public outcry and calls for action that have been the natural outcome of a medication positive in one of the most iconic races in our sport and we share the disappointment and concern.”
Both Medina Spirit and Concert Tour jogged over the main track at Pimlico on Tuesday morning. They are being cared for by Baffert’s top assistant Jimmy Barnes. Baffert will not attend the Preakness on Saturday.
Medina Spirit Wins Kentucky Derby
“Everyone jogged today,” Barnes said. “We had a long travel day yesterday, but they all handled the trip very well. We’re up here early, it’s just Tuesday so I gave them a light jog day today. We’ll gallop everything tomorrow.”
Midnight Bourbon is the third choice on the morning line for the Preakness at 5-1. The colt was sixth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten 8 ¼ lengths. The colt is trained by Steve Asmussen and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle Crowded Tale (10-1), who was third in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct in his last outing. Javier Castellano will ride.
Rombauer (12-1) stamped his ticket to the Preakness by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 12. The Michael McCarthy trainee was third in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland in his last start.
Completing the field is Ram (30-1), Keepmeinmind (15-1), Unbridled Honor (15-1), Risk Taking (15-1) and the Japanese invader France Go de Ina (20-1).
The Preakness Stakes is the 13th of 14 races on Saturday’s card and will be televised on NBC.
146th Preakness Stakes
Purse: $1 million
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Post time: 6:47 p.m. Eastern
(Post, Horse, Jockey, Morning Line)
1. Ram, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1
2. Keepmeinmind, David Cohen, 15-1
3. Medina Spirit, John Velazquez, 9-5
4. Crowded Trade, Javier Castellano, 10-1
5. Midnight Bourbon, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-1
6. Rombauer, Flavien Prat, 12-1
7. France Go de Ina, Joel Rosario, 20-1
8. Unbridled Honor, Luis Saez, 15-1
9. Risk Taking, Jose Ortiz, 15-1
10. Concert Tour, Mike Smith, 5-2