Medina Spirit Looks To Sprint By Controversy And Claim Preakness Stakes

Written By Dave Bontempo on 05/12/2021 - Last Updated on March 21, 2024
Colorado 2021 Preakness betting

Medina Spirit cleared a legal hurdle on Tuesday, tries to vault a medical issue on Friday and then battle nine opponents on Saturday as the favorite in the 146th Preakness Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby winning horse who failed a post-race drug test needed special parameters to enter the Preakness. Colorado can place online Preakness bets via TVG and TwinSpires for the 4:47 p.m. MST post.

A legal arrangement between lawyers for trainer Bob Baffert and Maryland racing officials called for Medina Spirit to take a pre-Preakness drug test, which occurred.

The draw unfolded Tuesday for the $1 million race with the presumption he will run.

On Friday, results will determine the horse’s entry. If no banned substances are found — and prevailing wisdom is that there will be none — he will be cleared to run. If any banned substances occur, Baffert will be asked to scratch the horse.

Preakness post positions and odds

Here are the post positions, jockeys and initial Preakness horse betting odds for the Saturday’s race. Odds will be final at post time.

Post PositionHorseJockeyMorning Line Odds
1RamRicardo Santana30-1
2KeepmeinmindDavid Cohen15-1
3Medina SpiritJohn Velazquez9-5
4Crowded TradeJavier Castellano10-1
5Midnight BourbonIrad Ortiz Jr.5-1
6RombauerFlavien Prat12-1
7France Go de InaJoel Rosario20-1
8Unbridled HonorLuis Saez15-1
9Risk TakingJose Ortiz15-1
10Concert TourMike Smith5-2

The Preakness Backdrop

Several angles impact this 1 3–16-mile showcase, first run in 1873.

Will there be a speed duel?

Recent Preakness winners have been right near the lead throughout most of the race.

Medina Spirit is one of the early speed horses. Concert Tour, on the far outside, is another. Perhaps Ram will try to gun from the rail. Concert Tour is Medina Spirit’s stablemate.

Will Baffert instruct jockeys to let one of his horses get loose on the lead and the other to stalk? Baffert would become the all-time Preakness wins leader with eight if either of these horses prevail.

Medina Spirit gained an uncontested early lead in the 1 1–4-mile Kentucky Derby. He barely held on to win against late-charging Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun, who won’t run here. Mandaloun would be declared the winner of the Derby if medical results disqualify Medina Spirit, but bettors are not affected.

How about the stalkers?

Midnight Bourbon always runs hard and finished sixth in the 20-horse Derby field after a tough trip.

Keepmeinmind got out of the Derby gate two seconds behind the field and had no chance. But after being last for a mile, he rallied for seventh. No money and an under-the-radar finish, but an alert break puts him in the picture.

Rombauer races exactly five weeks after his third-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. The horses who beat him — Essential Quality and Highly Motivated — aren’t here. Perhaps he moves up.

All three of these horses may do their best running in the stalk position just behind the leaders, and try to win in the homestretch.

What if the race “falls apart?”

That is race jargon for speed horses having nothing left for the final quarter-mile after dueling?

Unbridled Honor would join the stalkers as having a chance. He’s a good late runner, who needs a speed duel to have a chance. But if that duel develops, he’d have a shot.

The others, Ram, Crowded Trade, Risk Taking and France Go De Ina, would need to advance a level to become serious contenders.

What about the inconsistency factor?

It definitely looms large. Concert Tour, the second-favorite, was a badly-beaten third in his last outing at the Arkansas Derby. Even Medina Spirit lost his final pre-Derby race, to Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby.

This is a year in which horses cannot compile a string of big performances.

That spells opportunity for Colorado horse racing bettors who grasp an angle on any horse believed to be finding a good form cycle. This justifies betting mid-range and longshot-priced horses even more.

What about the “new shooters”?

These are horses that skipped the Kentucky Derby. They represent 70% of this field. If the favorites falter, they can help produce a good payoff. Put them liberally into your ticket mix.

Preakness betting tips

Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta offer enticing options for horse betting at TVG, but first put a win bet on your favorite choice, especially at odds of 2-1 or higher. You’d hate to pick the winner and not collect.

If both Concert Tour and Medina Spirit run in the Top 3, trifecta prices will be small.

“Key” your horse first and second with several others, if you believe some longshots can finish in the top three.

A $1 trifecta key for $6, for example, could be Medina Spirit over any other three horses. He must win and the other can combine for second and third in any order.

But the real money could be putting him second with those horses. The others must fill in the first and third spots and he runs second.

Last year, 3-2 favorite Tiz the Law ran second to 11-1 filly Swiss Skydiver in a thrilling stretch duel. Jesus’ Team, at 40-1, nipped Art Collector for third.

The $1 trifecta paid more than $1,200, with the favorite second. Key to the money is the favorite not winning and only one chalk horse in the top three.

This happens often enough to bet it.

Other betting options

The Preakness also sports an extraordinary undercard throughout the afternoon. Perfect for online bettors:

  • The $250,000 Dinner Party Stakes began in 1870 and is Pimlico’s oldest stakes event.
  • The $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes.
  • The $150,000 Gallorette Stakes.
  • The $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes.

A group of $100,000 races include the Arabian Derby, Sir Barton Stakes, James Murphy Stakes, Jim McKay Stakes Race and Skipat Stakes, all for $100,000, round out an excellent betting card.

This practice follows an industry norm of stacking major events on one card to support a blockbuster race. Track officials hope to corner the market and betting handle on a given day with this strategy.

Photo by AP / Julio Cortez
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Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is PlayColorado's resident horse racing and combat sports betting expert whose work can be found regularly around major races and bouts. He is a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer and also authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.

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