All Testing Apart, Baffert’s Two Preakness Horses Are The Ones To Beat

Take your possibilities while you guess in opposition to the winningest Triple Crown coach Bob Baffert, who seems to be bullet-proof within the eyes of racing officers.

After a controversial failed post-race drug check by his Kentucky Derby-winning Medina Spirit, it was determined this week by The Maryland Jockey Membership that Baffert might be allowed to run (what most contemplate) the two prime horses in Saturday’s Preakness at Pimlico race monitor in Baltimore.

Baffert horses have failed 5 drug checks in additional than the previous yr. Nonetheless, he’s obtained minimal penalty, and a few established horse racing fans are starting to ask: What’s going to it take for Baffert to obtain a big punishment from racing officers?

Preakness put up time is 6:47 p.m. ET, with NBC offering intensive protection. It’s race 13 on a 14-race card that begins at 10:30 a.m. Right here, we’ll present all it is advisable know to make some educated wagers on Preakness Day.

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Baffert is operating the controversial morning line favourite

Kentucky Derby winner (for now) Medina Spirit was put in because the 9-5 morning line favourite for Saturday. Derby host Churchill Downs has since suspended Baffert from competing there and is conducting a split-sample check on Medina Spirit from the Derby.

Race officers say that if the horse additionally fails the split-sample, his win can be invalidated. Outcomes from the check won’t doubtless be out there till after the Preakness.

The preliminary post-race check confirmed traces of banned steroid betamethasone. Baffert initially claimed that Medina Spirit had not obtained betamethasone, however later his lawyer stated the horse obtained it by way of an anti-fungal ointment used to deal with dermatitis main as much as the race, and which will have prompted the horse to fail the post-race check.

In an settlement reached Tuesday that enables Medina Spirit to race, the horse might be topic to “rigorous testing and monitoring.” The identical scrutiny might be utilized to Baffert’s different entry, Live performance Tour.

Live performance Tour Takes the Massive Stage

Baffert’s different horse – Live performance Tour – is the following selection at 5-2

Live performance Tour rated because the prime 3-year-old throughout the two months main as much as the primary Saturday in Could.

Live performance Tour didn’t run within the Kentucky Derby. Within the week main as much as the race, Baffert stated the horse was “not prepared.” However he’s entered on Saturday and might be ridden by 55-year-old, two-time Preakness winner Mike Smith (most up-to-date Preakness win was 2018 with Justify).

Baffert has gained the Preakness seven instances – six of them have been Kentucky Derby winners. An eighth win would set the all-time mark. If he breaks the mark, he’ll witness it from residence in California. Baffert won’t be in Baltimore all week, citing an unwillingness to be a “distraction” amid the raging controversy, in line with DRF

Derby horses becoming a member of Medina Spirit on Saturday are Midnight Bourbon (5-1) and Keepmeinmind (15-1). Midnight Bourbon closed effectively from 14th place to earn a sixth-place end within the Kentucky Derby. Coach Steve Asmussen’s horse can have prime jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. Ortiz rode Recognized Agenda to a disappointing ninth-place end at Churchill. 

Keepmeinmind (15-1), who positioned seventh after rallying late within the Derby, is entered for coach Robertino Diodoro. The horse has one win in seven lifetime begins.

Not racing on Saturday is Derby runner-up Mandaloun, who Churchill Downs stated can be declared the Kentucky Derby winner if Medina Spirit’s break up pattern is optimistic. Some say that given Baffert’s admission of the ointment, that may be sufficient to disqualify Medina Spirit, regardless.

Why ‘New Shooters’ Matter

Handicappers will concentrate on the numerous traits associated to the possibilities of “new shooters” (horses that didn’t run within the Kentucky Derby) and people numbers are intriguing. Largely, although, historical past has proven that merely having entered the Derby at Churchill Downs is usually on the profitable Preakness horse’s resume.

Since 2000 (not together with 2020), solely 4 new shooters have gained the Preakness. one of the best efficiency of a brand new shooter annually throughout that interval, they’ve 20 begins and a 4-8-4 mark. The Derby horses swept all three of the trifecta positions 4 instances, however there has not been a brand new shooter trifecta since 2000, reviews HorseRacingNation.

When a Derby horse wins the Preakness, 60 p.c of the time no less than one new shooter is a part of the trifecta.

The final “new shooter” to win the Preakness was Cloud Computing in 2017, educated by Chad Brown.

The horse paid $28.80 to win in 2017, regardless of posting a pedestrian profitable velocity determine. Derby winner All the time Dreaming pale to an eighth-place end that day.

There are eerie similarities between Cloud Computing and Crowded Commerce (10-1), Brown’s entrant for Saturday. Every got here into the race with three profession begins – each gained their six-furlong debuts at Aqueduct; each completed second within the one-mile Gotham (G3) and each positioned third within the Wooden Memorial (G2). Javier Castellano had the Preakness mount on Cloud Computing and is scheduled to journey Crowded Commerce.

From put up place 1, a win by coach D. Wayne LukasRam (30-1) can be his seventh within the Preakness, placing him in a tie for many within the race’s historical past. Lukas has run 41 horses within the Preakness. Ram is from American Pharoah, however his highest Beyer Pace Determine is 81. Lukas final gained the Preakness in 2013 with Oxbow.

Preakness Tempo Favors Baffert’s Horses

Live performance Tour (put up 10) and Medina Spirit (put up 3) are front-runners. It’s anticipated, in line with HorseRacingNation’s Reinier Macatangay, for Medina Spirit to interrupt effectively to the lead early and let Live performance Tour come over to hitch him earlier than assuming the front-running place within the 1 3/16th mile race. (The Derby is run at a mile and 1 / 4).

“Proper behind them, Midnight Bourbon is possible to settle right into a stalking place. Whereas this horse has the velocity to set or press the tempo in most traditional route races, he figures to get outrun by the 2 speedier Baffert-trained pacesetters into the primary flip.

“Crowded Commerce, Rombauer (12-1), Threat Taking (15-1) and Ram (30-1) are possible to make up the mid-pack runners. Rombauer may personal sufficient tactical velocity to hitch Midnight Bourbon, as proven early on earlier than his third-place end within the Blue Grass Stakes (G2).”

Coach Todd Pletcher’s Unbridled Honor (15-1); worldwide shipper France Go De Ina (20-1) and Keepmeinmind “make up the rear and can want an unlikely tempo meltdown to steal the race.”

Macatangay additionally writes that the idea that closers can’t win at Pimlico is fake. You’ll hear all concerning the monitor’s “tight turns,” which tends to favor velocity, however “with the suitable setup and talent, mid-pack and deep closers can win on this monitor if there isn’t any apparent bias.”

A speedy tempo anticipated on Saturday is due to the kinds of the horses entered and the general discipline. And let’s keep in mind: tempo is usually decided by “human technique” irrespective of the horses’ capability.

Beyer Pace Figures

Medina Spirit has the solely triple-digit Beyer within the discipline, operating a 102 within the Kentucky Derby. He additionally has 5 Beyers of 94 or larger in his previous 5 races. Live performance Tour has run a pair of 94s.

Crowded Commerce’s velocity determine was 95 two races again within the Grade 3 Gotham.

Midnight Bourbon has run a pair of 96s, however solely a 90 within the Kentucky Derby; similar as Keepmeinmind.

Unbridled Honor is coming off his finest (91) within the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes; Rombauer and Threat Taking have by no means hit 90; and France Go De Ina has solely run overseas and has no Beyer Pace Figures on his resume.

Good luck!

2021 Preakness Stakes odds

Put up Place Horse Jockey Morning Line Odds
1 Ram Ricardo Santana 30-1
2 Keepmeinmind David Cohen 15-1
3 Medina Spirit John Velazquez 9-5
4 Crowded Commerce Javier Castellano 10-1
5 Midnight Bourbon Irad Ortiz Jr. 5-1
6 Rombauer Flavien Prat 12-1
7 France Go de Ina Joel Rosario 20-1
8 Unbridled Honor Luis Saez 15-1
9 Threat Taking Jose Ortiz 15-1
11 Live performance Tour Mike Smith 5-2

Lead picture credit score: AP Photograph/Julio Cortez

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