If you haven’t heard by now, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit may be disqualified. The Bob Baffert trained runner tested positive for betamethasone. Although things are up in the air regarding the Derby winner, there’s no doubt the Preakness Stakes will see new runners looking to grab their spot in history.
Preakness Stakes Rumors: New Shooters Lineup to Take on Derby Winner
2021 Preakness Stakes
- When: Saturday, May 15
- Where: Pimlico Racecourse, Baltimore, MD
- TV / Streaming: NBC
Medina Spirit ready to extend Triple Crown bid . . . but may not run
On the Monday before the Preakness Stakes, Bob Baffert said that his lawyer had prepared paperwork asking a judge to issue a temporary restraining order should Pimlico deny Medina Spirit’s entry.
The chances of the Belinda Stronach run racetrack denying Baffert and Medina Spirit is close to zero. Why? Churchill Downs Inc. runs Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Belinda Stronach runs Pimlico, home of the Preakness Stakes.
The Stronach family are direct competitors with Churchill Downs. They’re the two largest racetrack operators in North America. No doubt, Belinda Stronach, who runs the organization for her father Frank, will bask in the glow for running the Derby winner in the Preakness and not giving in to what feels like Churchill’s fun-killing move.
We write fun-killing because Medina Spirit tested positive by a trace amount. Also, Baffert insists he doesn’t use that specific anti-inflammatory for Medina Spirit.
In 2019, the stewards under the Twin Spires disqualified Maximum Security, the horse that crossed the finish line first, even though to everyone watching, he was the obvious best horse in the race. 2020 saw Churchill move the Derby from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September.
And, now, this issue in 2021. It feels as if Churchill Downs has a desire to kill it’s most famous event.
Midnight Bourbon’s connections say horse never got a shot in the Derby
Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bourbon’s trainer, said his horse had no chance in the Kentucky Derby. Asmussen implied he wanted the son of Tiznow to go to the front.
Midnight Bourbon not only didn’t get to the front, but he wasn’t in the first flight. That may have cost him the race after Medina Spirit got away with a soft second-quarter.
In the Preakness, a race Asmussen won with filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009, we should expect Midnight Bourbon to go right to the lead. Either that, or stay off the flank of the front-runner.
New shooters have tools to upset the Kentucky Derby winner
Midnight Bourbon could have trouble getting the lead in the Preakness, though. Expected runners include Baffert trained Concert Tour, the Grade 2 Rebel winner that buried the competition when leading gate-to-wire.
Also Mike McCarthy trained Rombauer won’t be far off. Neither will Median Spirit if he isn’t denied a start. Nor will D. Wayne Lukas trained Ram, a son of American Pharoah. Crowded Trade, the Chad Brown trained entry, is likely to press the pace as well.
So even if Steve Asmussen and Midnight Bourbon’s connections want their horse to grab the lead, the chances of that happening aren’t great. The Preakness field should produce more front-running speed than the Derby and after witnessing Medina Spirit grab the lead under the Twin Spires and win, jockeys and trainers will all fight for the lead as soon as they break from the gate in the Triple Crown’s second jewel.