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Rombauer Wins Preakness Stakes As 11-1 Underdog

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • 11-1 choice Rombauer was the upset winner of the 2021 Preakness Stakes.
  • Midnight Bourbon finished second with Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit taking third.
  • Medina Spirit will not continue on to the Belmont.

After a week of controversy involving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and a failed drug test the Preakness Stakes offered very little of the same. Instead, it was 11-1 underdog Rombauer who prevailed as the upset winner in the second leg of the Triple Crown run at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday. Midnight Bourbon finished 3.5 lengths back in second place with Medina Spirit settling for a well beaten third.

Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, didn’t come to Baltimore this week opting to avoid a media circus by remaining home in California. Given the way his horses ran it was a good decision. Medina Spirit at least showed some spirit and competitive fight. The same can’t be said for Baffert’s once highly touted Concert Tour with jockey Mike Smith aboard. Smith was on Midnight Bourbon for the Kentucky Derby and switched to Concert Tour for the Preakness. It sounds as if he wished he could have that decision back:

“I am at a loss for words. He didn’t seem to participate at all down the backside. He just wasn’t going anywhere, and when I put my hands down, he just backed off. It was very strange.”

Comments from Medina Spirit’s jockey John Velazquez suggest that his horse just ran out of gas late:

“I had to come out running to get my position. I knew that he was going to be pressed today. I was hoping that he wouldn’t overdo it, and we did. I already knew by the quarter pole, the other horse put a head in front of me. He didn’t give it up but he didn’t continue going on with the other horse. You got to give it to the little horse, he fought the whole way around. At least he held for third.”

Midnight Bourbon trainer Steve Asmussen had a cryptic assessment of his horse’s performance:

“He broke as expected and I thought he put enough pressure on Medina Spirit to make it a horse race and then he ended up second. He showed up. He’s improving. And he’s not there yet, all at the same time.”

Rombauer is owned by John and Diane Fradkin and trained by former Todd Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy. It was McCarthy’s first victory in a Triple Crown race. McCarthy was very emotional as he celebrated Rombaur’s third win in seven starts:

“Means a lot to be here, participate on a day like this. Happy for the Fradkins. Just goes to show you that small players in the game can be successful, as well.”

Rombauer jockey Flavian Prat said that his horse was running well giving him plenty of confidence heading down the stretch:

“I was pretty confident going to the three-eighths pole. I was behind the two favorites in the race and I was traveling well. I thought if he switched leads and give me a good kick, I might be able to run them down.”

According to horse owner John Fradkin, he made the call to skip the Kentucky Derby:

“I believe in running him in the easier spots if possible. I didn’t think the Kentucky Derby really suited him. I thought there was a pretty good chance we would not hit the board just because of his running style. So yeah, we did this against lesser competition and got lucky today.”

No decision yet as to whether Rombauer will continue on to the Belmont Stakes. Medina Spirit will likely pass the Belmont Stakes and it’s difficult to see Concert Tour running in such a tough race either.

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