Medina Spirit finished third in the 1 3/16 mile race and was passed for the first time in his career after becoming the 2-1 favorite. All eyes were on Medina Spirit after failing a post-Derby drug test for the presence of the steroid betamethasone.
“I had to run to get my place,” said Medina Spirit jockey John Velazquez. “I knew he was going to be in a hurry today. I hoped he wouldn’t overdo it, and we did.
Midnight Bourbon, who was 3-1, was second. Keepmeinmind finished fourth and the concert tour coached by Baffert ninth in the 10 horse field.
Rombauer broke the bias of horses hugging the rail on gravel at Pimlico Race Course all day, passing Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit on the stretch and winning by 3 1/2 lengths.
Jockey Flavien Prat won the Preakness two years after being elevated to Derby winner aboard Country House when Maximum Security was disqualified.
“Of course, it’s a lot different when you cross the wire first: you get that feeling,” Prat said. “It’s a lot of joy.”
Coach Michael McCarthy won his first Triple Crown race and captured the Preakness ahead of Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, for whom he worked as an assistant before opening his own barn. Pletcher gave McCarthy a big hug after the race.
Rombauer is owned by John and Diane Fradkin, a far cry from the Zedan Racing Stables of Medina Spirit and other horse racing conglomerates. He won for the third time in seven starts.
McCarthy choked back tears as he spoke about everyone involved in Rombauer.
“It means a lot to be here, to be part of a day like this,” he said. “Happy for the Fradkins. It’s just okay to show you that the little players in the game can be successful too. “
McCarthy said this week that Rombauer’s best weapon is between his ears and that his colt trains well. But few chose the long shot to win the Preakness, which was raced in front of 10,000 fans at the Pimlico Race Course.
Baffert was not present, staying on the sidelines due to the controversy with Medina Spirit, who could still be disqualified from the Derby. His Derby victory is still at stake with a second test yet to be analyzed.
Maryland racing officials have demanded a concert tour and Medina Spirit undergo additional testing and monitoring as conditions for racing in the Preakness. These three sets of tests returned on Friday, allowing them to race.
With Baffert’s shadow hanging over the race, the Preakness was run in front of a limited capacity of 10,000 fans, a fraction of the 100,000-plus crowd that typically races Pimlico on the third Saturday in May. Masks were still needed due to city and track protocols.
It was a short turnaround from Preakness 2020, which took place last fall as the third stop of the Triple Crown with no fans allowed.
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