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BALTIMORE, MD – Sporting the pink silks of his owners/breeders John and Diane Fradkin, Rombauer roared past Midnight Bourbon in mid-stretch en route to winning Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
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Rombauer broke from post 6 under Flavien Prat at 11/1 odds and settled off the pace as the 2/1 favorite Medina Spirit went to the lead as expected under John Velazquez.
With Midnight Bourbon (the 3/1 second choice) and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. closely giving watch, Medina Spirit – the beleagured Kentucky Derby (G1) winner* – posted comfortable opening fractions of :23.77, :46.93, and 1:10.97.
Japanese-based runner France Go de Ina made a mid-backstretch move to Medina Spirit’s inside that didn’t hold heading into the clubhouse turn, but Midnight Bourbon advanced alongside the pacesetter and took the lead by the top of the stretch.
Midnight Bourbon looked momentarily home free, but Rombauer unleashed a devastating turn of foot once straightened for home that put him up alongside the new leader halfway home.
Continuing to power his way over the 1 3/16-mile fast dirt through to the wire, the Michael McCarthy trainee stopped the clock in 1:53.62.
“I’m so thankful to Michael and all his team,” said Prat, who won the 2019 Kentucky Derby when Country House was placed first ahead of the disqualified Maximum Security. “I want to thank the groom and the pony girl because he was quite on his toes before the race and I thought they did a great job.”
Midnight Bourbon was 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner in second for trainer Steve Asmussen, who was attempting to win his third Preakness title.
“Irad gave him a dream trip,” Asmussen said. “When he went under the wire the first time, I was thinking, ‘Man, I wish the Derby would have looked like that.’ But he ran hard; he really did. … I thought he ran extremely well. He showed up and he ran his race. Congratulations to the winner, but (Midnight Bourbon) took it to Medina Spirit. I think he showed some true ability and he’s a very good horse that’s getting better.”
For the first time in his career, Medina Spirit allowed a horse (two, in fact) to pass him, but he remained 4 lengths clear of the rest of the field for third.
“I knew he was going to be pressed today and I was hoping he wasn’t going to overdo it, but he did,” Velazquez said. “By the 1/4 pole, the other horse put his head in front, but he kept fighting. He didn’t stop; he just got beat.”
Keepmeinmind, Crowded Trade, Unbridled Honor, France Go de Ina, Risk Taking, Concert Tour, and Ram completed the order of finish in the second leg of the American Triple Crown.
Rombauer’s win was his first on dirt and the third of his career following a maiden-breaking debut score on the Del Mar turf last July and the El Camino Real Derby – on the Golden Gate Fields synthetic – in February. The latter victory came with a “Win and You’re In” berth for the Preakness and gave McCarthy an alternative to the Kentucky Derby after Rombauer subsequently finished third in April’s Blue Grass Stakes (G1).
Rombauer is a son of Twirling Candy out of the unraced Cowboy Cal mare Cashmere, herself a descendant of another Fradkin-owned mare named Ultrafleet. Rombauer’s career record now stands at 7-3-1-1 with $890,500 earned.
“I’m so proud of this horse, everybody involved,” McCarthy said. “It means a lot to be here and participate on a day like this. I’m happy for the Fradkins. It just goes to show you that small players in the game can be successful as well. Hats off to everybody. I wish my family could be here. Fantastic.”
Rombauer returned $25.60 to win, $10 to place, and $5.20 to show. Midnight Bourbon brought back $4.60 to place and $3 to show. Medina Spirit paid $2.80 to show.
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