Medina Spirit Favored At 2021 Preakness Stakes…If He Actually Races

Posted on May 12, 2021

Volunteer State bettors are in for a soap-opera saga surrounding Saturday’s $1 million 2021 Preakness Stakes.

Those looking to bet on the Preakness Stakes can do so via TwinSpires.

The middle jewel of horse-racing’s Triple Crown has a 5:48 p.m. CT post.

Drama heading into 2021 Preakness Stakes

Most of the race’s drama will occur on the track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

But some already did.

Lawyers and racing officials needed to structure a deal this week allowing Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner who failed a post-race drug test, to compete. 

The agreement called for Medina Spirit to take a drug test before the Preakness, which he did. If all goes fine, he’s in.

If the test detects a banned substance, his trainer Bob Baffert will be asked to scratch the horse. The test results will be released on Friday.

With the expectation that Medina Spirit will compete, the Preakness conducted its race draw on Tuesday. Here are the post positions, early odds, and jockeys.

Medina Spirit and stablemate Concert Tour are the early favorites.  Odds don’t become official until post time.

Horse/Post PositionOddsJockey
1. Ram 30-1Ricardo Santana Jr.
2. Keep Me in Mind 15-1David Cohen
3. Medina Spirit 9-5John Velazquez
4. Crowded Trade10-1Javier Castellano
5. Midnight Bourbon 5-1Irad Ortiz
6. Rombauer 12-1Flavien Prat
7. France Go De Ina 20-1Joel Rosario
8. Unbridled Honor 15-1Luis Saez
9. Risk Taking15-1Jose Ortiz
10. Concert Tour5-2Mike Smith

Those looking to get in on the Preakness betting action can head over to TwinSpires Tennessee to place wagers online.

What about THE race?

The first Preakness was run in 1873.

At just over a mile, it is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races. The Preakness bridges the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby from May 1 with the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, which occurs June 5.

If a horse wins the Derby and Preakness, betting interest becomes monumental for the Belmont Stakes.

Medina Spirit will thus be in position to seek racing’s 14th Triple Crown by winning here.

Preakness Running Style and Conditions

Sunny weather and a fast track are expected Saturday. Winners usually run near the lead early or stalk just behind the pace. A closer from the back of the pack occasionally wins.

Another element that is unique to this race is the crop of horses that run in it.

The term “new shooters” is tailor-made for the Preakness. It signifies horses that did not run in the Kentucky Derby but are competing in this race.

A new shooter often finishes in the top three at a good price.

This year’s crop of “newbies” includes:

  • Ram
  • Crowded Trade
  • Rombauer
  • France Go De Ina
  • Unbridled Honor
  • Risk Taking
  • Concert Tour

Favorites usually hit the top three at the Preakness, but don’t always win.

Swiss Skydiver became the sixth filly to win the Preakness last year, outgunning Derby-winning Authentic in a thrilling stride-for-stride homestretch duel. 

Because Swiss Skydiver won at 11-1, the $1 superfecta (top four horses) paid $5,053. Authentic, in second, was heavily favored.

What to look for at this year’s race

Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are expected to be the early speed

Midnight Bourbon and Keepmeinmind, who both had troubled Derby trips, are projected to stalk near the pace.

Rombauer has gained betting respect after finishing third in the Blue Grass Stakes behind Essential Quality and Highly Motivated, who won’t run here.

Only two of the horses in this race, Medina Spirit and Ram, enter off of victories. Ram is the longest shot on the board because his jump from the allowance level to major-stakes company is large.

Baffert’s situation surrounding Medina’s Kentucky Derby win is ironic. The Hall of Fame trainer has saddled the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018, and yet he’s under scrutiny.

Baffert would become the all-time Preakness training leader with eight victories if Medina Spirit or Concert Tour prevail.

Medina Spirit’s chances in this race come down to the drug test.

The Baffert mystique nonetheless spreads to Concert Tour, who comes off an unimpressive loss in the Arkansas Derby.

Don’t be afraid to pop some longshots. The favorites are good, but not exceptional.

Preakness Stakes betting types

Medina Spirit is close to the right value at 9-5. Concert Tour will keep those odds in that vicinity.

If Medina Spirit drifts down to undesirable odds, say 6-5, he may return more money in a trifecta or superfecta key.

You can put him atop three horses in a $1 trifecta for $6 or four horses for $12. He must win and the others fill the second and third slots in any order.

You have to love some longshots to make this wager.

If Medina Spirit is scratched, think about spreading money amongst more horses, because there won’t be a true favorite.

And if you like any horse with a price of 2-1 or higher, you can always make a win bet, choosing the horse you think will cross the finish line first.

Tennessee bettors have a great vantage point, gaining wagering access via many devices from within the Volunteer State. 

Major racing days like this one accent the convenience of mobile wagering.

A strong wagering undercard unfolds throughout the day. Supporting events follow an emerging industry practice to stack the entire card with big races, hoping to corner the betting market.

Photo by Associated Press
Dave Bontempo Avatar
Written by
Dave Bontempo

View all posts by Dave Bontempo