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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By HRI Foreign Staff — It was a victory that shocked the world back in May as a spry young colt named Rombauer sprinted down the home stretch and captured his first major victory. This year’s Triple Crown was shrouded in controversy after the odds on favorite, Medina Spirit, failed a drug test prior to the race. Perhaps it was a fitting end to the race that nobody wanted to see Medina Spirit win. It was also the coming out party for Rombauer who instantly received national fame for his stunning come from behind victory. But what is next for the three-year old colt from Paris, Kentucky?

The Start of It all for Trainer Mike McCarthy

While Rombauer was a long shot to win the Preakness, perhaps his odds should have been lower. Earlier this year the colt made his three-year old debut at the El Camino Real Derby, a race that is held on a synthetic surface to allow races in all types of weather. In what would now seem like foreshadowing of his famed run a few months later, Rombauer started the race slow but made a late charge into the final stretch, edging out Javanica by a neck. It was an impressive debut for Rombauer especially when you consider that it was a remarkably deep field of 14 experienced horses.

As a two-year-old, Rombauer exhibited the same tendencies, with a come from behind victory at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race. Rombauer entered the race as a long-shot to win with 26 to 1 odds. It is these types of long-shot wins that sports bettors remember, so in retrospect, it should have come as no surprise to anyone that Rombauer performed in the same manner that he did as a two-year-old. One has to understand that bookmakers will continue to hang long odds on a horse that exhibits these patterns since sports bettors will instinctually continue to bet on these performances hoping for a larger payout. Perhaps Rombauer is just one of those horses that performs better as a major underdog in a race, and once his odds to win get lower, bettors will move on to other horses. Given Rombauer’s successes this past year, he just might be a horse that sees the odds in his favor more often than not moving forward.

In some ways, Rombauer’s victory at the Preakness this year was a shot in the arm that the sport desperately needed. The fact that Medina Spirit was still allowed to race did not sit well with fans or bettors. Midnight Bourbon’s second place finish was inches away from giving legendary trainer Steve Asmussen his first win at the Preakness since 2009. A third place finish was not what Medina Spirit envisioned after capturing the Kentucky Derby earlier in the month, but some were surprised the horse was allowed to race at all. The most disappointing finish in this year’s Preakness Stakes certainly goes to Bob Baffert’s other horse, Concert Tour, which entered the race with the third highest odds to win. Concert Tour finished second to last and failed to capture Baffert his first Preakness win since 2018 when Justify took home the purse.

It is a gentle reminder as to why horse racing is such a popular sport to bet on around the world. Any horse can win any race at any time, and long-shot bets can strike frequently, as Rombauer is certainly evidence of. It is one of the most widely represented sports to bet on at online sportsbooks in all parts of the world. Of all of these sites, Twinspires Racebook is one of the best sites for horse racing bets. Twinspires Racebook is actually owned by a company called Churchill Downs. If that name is familiar to you, it might be because Churchill Downs is also the racecourse at which the Kentucky Derby takes place each year. With some of the best odds in the industry as well as mobile app integration, Twinspires Racebook is a clear leader in the online pari-mutuel betting market.

Just weeks after the Preakness Stakes, the third leg of the triple crown was held at Belmont Park in New York. Heading into the Belmont Stakes, the horse racing world knew we would not have a triple crown winner in 2021. We would also not see Medina Spirit in competition as the state of New York had yet to lift its racing ban for Baffert after the horse’s positive test following the Kentucky Derby. This opened the stage for Rombauer to potentially win another jewel in the triple crown, with Midnight Bourbon also not competing in the race. Rombauer was given pre-race odds of 3 to 1, which was unfamiliar territory for the colt who was used to being a longshot in races.

Rombauer ended up coming in third place at the Belmont, trailing Hot Rod Charlie and the odds on favorite to win, Essential Quality. The third place finish capped off a strong season for Rombauer, who emerged from relative obscurity to become a name to watch heading into next season. How Rombauer rebounds from his first season success is up to trainer Michael McCarthy who put the colt on a strict rest regiment this past summer. After a busy season on the track, Rombauer received some much needed rest and is now ready to ramp his training back up in time for the 2022 season.

Rombauer has been steadily increasing his workload and completed his third workout since coming back from his extended time off. His third run was at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, where he ran a half-mile length in 49.60 seconds, a respectable time for a colt that has spent most of the past few months on the sidelines. McCarthy and Rombauer’s owners John and Diane Fradkin have high expectations for the horse but know to keep those expectations in check as well. Not every horse can expect to challenge for a triple crown every year, but it seems like Rombauer already has all of the makings of a champion.

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