Kentucky Derby-winning Medina Spirit has the No. 3 post and favored 9-5 on the morning line odds for the 146th Preakness Stakes Saturday from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Post time is 6:48 PM ET. Among Preakness picks, he’s impossible to ignore.
He’s also on a watch list.
Under an agreement reached between his trainer Bob Baffert and the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Pimlico, Medina Spirit has already been given a pre-race drug test by Maryland officials.
If any banned substances are found, particularly betamethasone, the anti-inflammatory drug found in a post-Kentucky Derby test, officials will ask Baffert to scratch Medina Spirit.
Results will be known by Friday.
Under the assumption he’s in, here’s the field with morning line odds and the jockey. Remember, horse racing is para-mutuel wagering, meaning these odds will shift in the lead up to the race, and your odds will match the odds of the horse when the starting gate opens no matter when you placed your bet.
|Post||Horse||Morning Line Odds||Trainer||Jockey|
|1||Ram||30-1||D. Wayne Lukas||Ricardo Santana Jr.|
|2||Keepmeinmind||15-1||Robertino Diodoro||David Cohen|
|3||Medina Spirit||9-5||Bob Baffert||John Velasquez|
|4||Crowded Trade||10-1||Chad Brown||Javier Castellano|
|5||Midnight Bourbon||5-1||Steve Asmussen||Irad Ortiz, Jr.|
|6||Rombauer||12-1||Michael McCarthy||Flavian Prat|
|7||France Go de Ina (Japan)||20-1||Hideyuki Mori||Joel Rosario|
|8||Unbridled Honor||15-1||Todd Pletcher||Luis Saez|
|9||Risk Taking||15-1||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz|
|10||Concert Tour||5-2||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith|
What to know before making your Preakness picks
1. Ram 30-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 81
Nice horse; has done everything that’s been asked. Won at maiden, then at allowance but now is asked to defeat Grade I company in the Preakness? Asking too much. Prefer others.
2. Keepmeinmind 15-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92
Don’t mind if I do keep him in mind at the bottom of a superfecta ticket. Sleepwalking start placed him dead last for most of the first mile, killing his Kentucky Derby chances. But Keepmeinmind then finished seventh. Later runner must be closer to the pace here. Fewer horses, no traffic conditions and a more alert break would give him a chance to be in the mix.
3. Medina Spirit 9-5
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 102
The chalk, deservedly so. Comes off a 102 Beyer in the Kentucky Derby and the appropriate speed-favoring running style that wins most Preakness Stakes. Will try to get the clean, alert break that put him in the Derby driver seat. Showed grit in outlasting Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality to preserve a narrow stretch lead. And he’s not up against them here. Should be able to outbreak horses to his left and immediate right and perhaps share the early pace with Concert Tour. That would give him strong positioning. Sets a theme for the race in winning the Derby after losing his previous outing, the Santa Anita Derby. Eight of the 10 horses in this field did not win their last outing.
4. Crowded Trade 10-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95
Do you like past history or recent history? Crowded Trade posted a career-best Beyer in the Gotham in March, the highest back-class number in the field. Hard to ignore, even as a coming-down-to-earth 92 number followed in the Wood Memorial. But the number is easy to temper. The Gotham was a one-turn race. This is two. He’s been outfinished in the last two races, maybe the biggest factor of all. In superfecta tickets. Maybe.
5. Midnight Bourbon 5-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 96
Always around, rarely on top. Proverbial bridesmaid’s pick, as he is in the money and runs consistently. Sixth in the Derby, third in the Blue Grass, runs hard at the end. Had a rough Kentucky Derby trip. A staple for trifecta and superfecta tickets, maybe a win line stab. Had a strong back-class Beyer in finishing third to Mandaloun in the Risen Star Stakes this year.
6. Rombauer 12-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 88
Stalk-to-closer type comes off career-high Beyer, although beaten decisively by Essential Quality and Highly Motivated in the Blue Grass. With top names disappearing, Rombauer could step up and be right there. Second race back off a layoff. Last race was April 3. Could be in good form cycle. Trifecta box tickets.
7. France Go De Ina 20-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: unknown
Ships in from Japan. Sixth in UAE Derby for most recent. Tough to compare overseas races, but sixth is sixth. Too much to ask to be considered in our Preakness picks.
8. Unbridled Honor 15-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91
Surged to obtain a good second at the Lexington Stakes in the slop behind King Fury. Prior to that, beaten decisively in Tampa Bay Derby. To have a chance, must be more forwardly placed than usual in the early going. Slop would help, but the track is supposed to be fast on Saturday. Tall task as run style does not fit Preakness. Needs a break via speed duel. Factors not in his favor.
9. Risk Taking 15-1
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 89
Ran well out of the money as the 2-1 chalk at the Wood Memorial. Hard to see improvement big enough to put him in. Toss from your Preakness picks.
10. Concert Tour 5-2
Career-Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94
The 5-2 second choice will obtain major money by virtue of being probable early speed with Medina Spirit and coming from the Baffert barn. The knock? He was outfinished decisively by Super Stock in the Arkansas Derby. You have to include because of the speed angle, but Concert Tour also is vulnerable. Betting angle on the favorites: respect, don’t genuflect.
Preakness Picks and Possibilities: How I’m Looking To Bet The Race
If Medina Spirit looks good on the track and stays 9-5, that’s a good-enough win-bet price for me. And that will be my chief bet. But if he drifts to 6-5, I’d rather put him in exotics. The exacta payout with Concert Tour may also be small. Here are some possibilities. Some, not all, will be played:
3,10/3,10/2,5,6/2,5,6 – $12 ticket
Take one of the three horses out in the third and fourth place spots, and it’s $4.
$1 Trifecta Boxes
2, 3, 10 boxed – $6 ticket
3, 5, 10 boxed – $6 ticket
3, 6, 10 boxed – $6 ticket
I would take some insurance exacta boxes without Concert Tour in case his last race indicates descent. I would also bet a $3 trifecta with Medina Spirit on top (in the first-place position of the ticket) with two other horses in the second and third-place positions for a total ticket cost of $6.
Wagering note: if Medina Spirt and Concert Tour finish in the top three, trifecta payouts will be small.
Low-Investment Preakness Picks
Want to take a stab to reel in the longshots? Go for an all-ticket. A $1 trifecta with one horse in the first-place position, another horse in the second-place position, and the rest of the field third for an $8 ticket.
If Medina Spirit does not run, Midnight Bourbon, Keepmeinmind and Rombauer move up on my list. All of this represents a spreading approach and only some of these bets will be made.
One thing the Kentucky Derby taught us is that these horses can take turns. And it won’t take much for an also-ran to hit the board. Good luck.