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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Hallandale Beach, FL, May 14, 2021 — Like all Gaul, the Preakness is divided into three parts: six prime contenders; two live price shots, and two lovable no-hopers.

And given the dynamics and running styles of the serious contenders, expect a lively battle from pillar to post.

Both Bob Baffert favorites are fast and own tactical speed. Johnny Velazquez will try to break as sharply as he did on the Derby winner two weeks ago, and what choice does Mike Smith have but to send Contour Tour for a clear lead or good drop-in position midway of the first turn?

Javier Castellano also is likely to put Crowded Start in the game early, looking for a first-turn tuck or a reasonable stalking spot. And what do you think Irad Ortiz Jr. will be doing astride Midnight Bourbon? He might be aggressive as well.

It’s about a quick, clean, getaway for all.

The term rider’s race is overused and generally refers to an ultra-marathon or some four-horse field. This one’s a rider’s race because five contenders want to be somewhere in the same vicinity at the same time. Unfortunately, nobody will know what happens until it’s too late.

The most probable winner is Medina Spirit. The disputed Derby winner is the demonstrated fastest, has taken no backward steps, and drawn cozily inside and is capable of coming from slightly off the pace. The reason he looked so badly trying that tack in the Santa Anita is because inside-speed was winning everything going long. But he’s no bargain at Saturday’s probable odds.

Concert Tour is either the goods, or he isn’t. I’m taking a position against, especially after the draw. He’ll appreciate being fresh but won’t appreciate the likely ground loss, demanding distance, and the deepest field he’s ever faced.

Our best guess is that Irad Ortiz will find a way to win. Midnight Bourbon was eliminated from serious contention from the first jump in Louisville. He made ground very late, somewhat unexpectedly, and this being his second start in eight weeks makes today’s two weeks timing a good thing.

I believe both Chad Brown horses are coming in with their ‘A’ races. Missing by a head-bob in his second lifetime start, the G3 Gotham Mile, off a single maiden win sprinting was a big ask for Crowded Start. The Gotham was one of the fastest Derby preps this year. He likely regressed but was by no means disgraced.

No one knows what to make of Risk Taking’s Wood, including his trainer. His best guess was the heavy nature of the kickback from which the colt emerged with caked-up gunk all over him, including inside his blinkers, discouraged him from trying his best. I’m willing to draw the same line through his effort.

Like Midnight Bourbon, Keepmeinmind was virtually eliminated at the start of the Derby. The connections had planned to come off the pace but didn’t plan on trouble away from the barrier nor a rally that carried him approximately eight wide into the lane. And, also like ‘Bourbon’, he kept running to the end.

We think the race will go to the best tripper, and see Midnight Bourbon being the most likely to trip out from a projected pocket trip.

Lamentably, we believe he will be a wise-guy underlay. We will bet to win at 4-1 or greater. We also will key box in all multiple pools first and second with the five named contenders above, adding Rombauer and Unbridled Honor third and fourth in the superfecta pool.



EARLY LINE VALUE: 6-Arzak (6-1) to win at 5-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 2.6.8-T D Dance (7-2). Trifecta and Superfecta KEYs: 2 // 3-Kasim[8-1].6.7-Charles Chrome [8-1].8.


DESERVING FAVORITE: 5-Club Wagon (8-5)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 6-Dontletsweetfoolya (6-1) to win at 9-2 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 2-Casual [9-2].5.6. Exacta Box: 5.6.8-French Empire (7-2). Superfecta Wheel: // 1-Club Car [8-1]. // //


DESERVING FAVORITE: 4-The Critical Way (5-2)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 13-Completed Pass (7-2) to win at 7-2 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-Boldor [6-1].4.13. Exacta Box: 4.5-Hollis [6-1].13. Exacta Box: 4.11-Firecrow [10-1].13. Superfecta Wheel: 4.13 // // //


DESERVING FAVORITE: 7-Breezy Guest (6-1)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 10-Lebda (12-1) to win at 10-1 or greater **and/or 6-Threes Over Deuces (20-1) at 15-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-Loki [6-1].7.10. Exacta Box: 2-Yodel E A Who [8-1].7.10. *Exacta Box:


DESERVING FAVORITE: 5-Sacred Life (7-5)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 8-Bye Bye Melvin (10-1) to win at (6-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box: 1-Somelikeithotbrown [4-1].5.8. Exacta Box: 3-Kurumata [6-1].5.8. Exacta Box: 5.6-Talk Or Listen [8-1].8.


DESERVING FAVORITE: 3-Medina Spirit (9-5)

EARLY LINE VALUE: 5-Midnight Bourbon (5-1) to win at 4-1 or greater

EXOTICA: Exacta Key Box: 5 // Exacta Box: 2-Keepmeinmind [8-1]. 4-Crowded Trade [10-1].5.9.

All suggested exotic wagers are at allowable minimums; straight wagers $2

*amended 051521, 8:21 am

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21 Responses

  1. Out of 10 Preakness starters, 3 ran in the Kentucky Derby. (Keepmeinmind, Medina Spirit, Midnight Bourbon).

    Back in 1996, Out of 12 Preakness starters, 6 ran in all 3 Triple Crown races. (Cavonnier, Editor’s Note, In Contention, Louis Quatorze, Prince of Thieves, Skip Away).

    An unfortunate statement about the breeding of North American thoroughbreds in the last 25 years.

  2. Dan, genetics are inescapable, and this also squares with widespread use of Lasix since the 1980s that has made its way into the gene pool ever since…

  3. If the Black eyed Susan is any indication of where Baffert’s head is at. Ut oh. Army Wife got it done and with some racing luck maybe we can sweep the 2 biggest races this weekend.

    Preakness Day

    12th race- #1 Somelikethebrown, Never worst than second at the distance he obviously needed his last. Good works coming into this for Maker/Ortiz. Speed from the rail on turf is all I need to know. Army wife fired for Maker yesterday let’s try for 2. The only horse I think other than the #1 is the #5 Sacred Life. we’ll use the 2,3 to get the exotic cash. This horse like Army wife is live.

    13th race- Most horses who don’t run in the derby and win the Preakness are usually coming off a winning effort in there prep race. Otherwise the winner usually comes out of the derby with a horse that came 4th or worst. That leaves all new players at a disadvantage except Ram who may be at a disadvantage anyway.
    Midnight Bourbon is seriously over bet as I write this right now. Still he has a great pattern and a big excuse for not running better in the derby. Keepmeinmind walked out of the derby gate and still ran faster then anytime he ever raced. Rounding to form.
    Rombauer has 42 days to prepare, ran his last against the best of his generation and came third, has had some serious workouts for a great ship in trainer, is pointed for this as he passed the derby and is coming off a top at a mile and an eighth on dirt. He’s a tad slow but I really like this horse. Has a terrific shot of moving forward. Almost every winner has had 290,000 in lifetime earnings and he just makes it. Prat tabbed to ride and only 2 preps this year. Loaded and ready.
    Medina Spirit has never gone backwards but by Baffert’s own admission is coming off an infection on his hind quarter, Raced once at 2, this will be his 6th race this year and third race in 6 weeks. Over the top ? Concert Tour is dangerous. The distance will suit, the time off will help, has been favored in every race against the best of his generation, gets Mike Smith and should get a good trip.
    I like Concert Tour and Rombauer in the win slot and underneath Keepmeinmind, Crowded Trade, and Risk Taking. Yes I’m taking a big swing but there is so many warts on the top 2 favorite’s in a year when the 2 best horse’s (Greatest Honor, Life is Good) were injured. Which makes this a good grade one with a lot of good horses. No standouts here.

    Let’s get this done. Time to go out and get them bad guys,


    1. P.S. Rombauer skipped the Derby wisely and because his win at Golden Gate was a “win and you’re in the Preakness.”

      A Stronach Group house promotion that paid dividends for all concerned.

  4. Vin, You’ve put yourself in position to make a score. Safe trip to your horses, and all others competing in Baltimore and elsewhere this fine Preakness morning…

    1. Thank you John and if I may add, I have no problem using MB, I just don’t want to use both him and MS together. No value. This looks like a race you can take a stand.

  5. My friend of over 40 years and a member in good standing of NYRA’s Player’s Club says only Rombauer or Midnight Bourbon will win today’s Preakness Stakes down in B-more. This guy knew “Doc,” Tony DeMucci (no relation to Dion), and other notable horseplayers back in the day and is pretty good. He is able to skip races which explains, partly, his success over many years. Not making a fortune, mind you, but enough to pay the bills and occasionally order out. Good luck to all.

    1. C, your main nailed it! Tell him I said good on him and not to be a stranger…

  6. Taking a wager of John’s Midnight Bourbon, “Let’s Go Get ‘Em Vincent’s Loaded & Ready” Rombauer, and adding my personal take a shot price horse Risk Taking. $1 EX BOX, $1 TRI BOX and$2 to WIN on Each of them. #’s 5-6-9. Book ‘Em Dano.

    Safe journey to all runners, and may we today witness a drug free finish.

    1. Two out of three is very good, a win is a win is a win. Happy for all the winners today, regrettably, Midnight Bourbon couldn’t hold Rombauer, but he ran well after doing all the chasing; he had his chance but Rombuear was much the best three-year-old today in Baltimore.

  7. I never considered Preakness day as a card on which to make multiple wagers. But it is great every year to see that Pimlico somehow survives.

    For me this time around, it’s a good old fashioned show bet on Risk Taking.

    1. Chad Brown (see quotes in news column), said neither of his horses ran well. True that…

  8. SPR: 3, 10 // 2, 3, 5, 10 // 2, 3, 5, 10 // 2, 3, 5, 10 (12)

    SPR: 4, 9 // 3, 10 // 2, 3, 5, 10 // 2, 3, 5, 10 (24)

    1. I see what you did there, the two BB, the two CBs. Today the horses did the talking.

      1. John,
        Year’s ago, one early Derby morning, I must have been making some noise because my daughter woke up and whined, “ What’s all the racket, you’d think it was christmas” to which my wife of 41 years( now) replied, “ To your father this is christmas” The triple crown, Traver’s and Breeders Cup are my Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I’m also a fan. Btw- Baffert got me again. I tossed MS out of the top 4 and made a saver 6,10 with the 5 exacta. Two doubles and the win bet set me up for the Belmont. I hope everyone had a great day and all the horses came home safe. Thanks for listening.

  9. Thank you John and Vincent. Tip of my hat to you both for landing me back at the cashiers window once again. Nice call “c says” as well. My nine is still running but two out of three ain’t bad at all.

  10. Vincent nice call on Rombauer, the problem or question now is can Bob win without any help, what happened to Concert Tour, Mike said no horse and the horse did not run in the Derby. A lot of questions that will be answered soon, maybe the lawsuit that was filed by the horse players will lead to drug testing for all before the races so the public can feel protected in their wagers. Kat

    1. A lot of questions will be answered Kat, but don’t know how soon. They are first getting around to Servis and Navarro next month, and who knows when the MS split sample will be completed?
      It will be an agonizing wait and see. Here’s hoping there are no more incidents, on or off track, in the very near future…

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