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It’s time to wrap up a memorable 2021 Preakness Stakes (G1) that saw Micheal McCarthy’s Rombauer charge past the Steve Asmussen-trained Midnight Bourbon in an impressive stretch run effort.
The big upset makes for an interesting lead-up to the Belmont Stakes (G1) in 3 weeks at Belmont Park. Before we move on, here are my thoughts on the trips and performances of all 10 Preakness runners, as well as what the future holds for each horse.
1st: Rombauer – This performance was just unbelievable. After sitting a little closer to the lead than usual, Flavien Prat tipped this horse to the outside turning for home and he just exploded with an incredible stretch run to win going away by 3 1/2 lengths. The move to keep him a little closer to the pace reminded me of what Prat did with Country House in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and we all know that ended up working out quite well. Now, can Rombauer repeat that type of performance in the Belmont Stakes? That remains to be seen, but his Preakness effort was the best performance we’ve seen from a 3-year-old male this season.
2nd: Midnight Bourbon – If you backed Midnight Bourbon like me, then you had to feel great when horse took over turning for home. He showed class by going after Medina Spirit early and putting the Kentucky Derby winner away on the turn. Heading for home, he looked like he was going to win, at least until you looked back and saw Rombauer unwinding a major move. Bottom line, Midnight Bourbon ran as well as he could, but he just ran into a freakish effort from Rombauer. The trip, ride, and performance was all you could ask for out of this horse and jockey.
3rd: Medina Spirit – Many will point to this race and say Medina Spirit “sucks without the drugs,” but he didn’t run all that poorly here. He was pressed by a much larger horse on the lead and still fought for a bit before ultimately giving way in the stretch. This is a lightly-framed horse who trainer Bob Baffert admitted way back in February might have trouble shipping. That aspect, plus just two weeks’ rest, PLUS everything else that was going on, did this horse no favors.
4th: Keepmeinmind – We basically know what to expect from this horse now: drop off to the back of the field early before making a mild run to finish fourth. He was never close to threatening the top group, but he still gave a respectable showing. He remains a hit the board-type at this level.
5th: Crowded Trade – He sat in the perfect stalking position early, just a couple of lengths off the pace-setting duo, but he lost ground in the far turn and failed to make any impact. The horse was able to hold his ground for fifth, but he’s not as good as the top horses in the crop.
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6th: Unbridled Honor – After dropping to the back of the field early, he passed a few horses in the stretch, but most of them were pretty much stopping in front of him. He had no impact on the actual race, signaling that he was overmatched in this spot.
7th: France Go de Ina – This Japanese-based horse was very rank early and tried tugging his jockey all around the track while sitting in third. His actions proved costly when the real running started, as he had nothing left in the tank. Add this horse to yet another overseas shipper who’s struggled mightily in our Triple Crown series.
8th: Risk Taking – Trainer Chad Brown had to have expected better than this effort, especially after skipping the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) last weekend to run here. He did very little running whatsoever, dropping towards the back of the field and never picking up his feet.
9th: Concert Tour – This horse has turned into a total disaster. He broke well but got bumped out of the gate by Risk Taking, then never found his best position. After traveling wide throughout, he threw in the towel entering the turn before gradually fading to the back of the field. They need to build his confidence back up after this poor effort.
10th: Ram – What can you really say about this guy? He was way overmatched and ran like it, never making any impact in the race. He couldn’t even pass Concert Tour, who basically walked down the stretch. A distance cut back and class drop is needed.
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