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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By MJC Press Release — Gary and Mary West’s Concert Tour worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.40 Sunday morning at Churchill Downs under jockey Martin Garcia, who frequently works horses for Baffert. Mike Smith is scheduled to be aboard in Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, Md.

Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit – the G1 Kentucky Derby winner who Baffert said has tested positive for betamethasone – open galloped at Churchill.

“He worked really well. He’s been training really well,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “I’m happy with the way he went, so he’ll definitely be going to the Preakness. Medina Spirit, we just gave him a stiff open gallop, sort of. We’re happy with how he went. He came out of the race really, really well. So they’ll both be going to the Preakness.”

Maryland Jockey Club released the following statement Sunday afternoon concerning the revelations of Medina Spirit’s failed drug test.

“Integrity in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is the ultimate priority for 1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC). 1/ST Racing has been an industry leader instituting processes and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reform and increased accountability. We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward. 

 “1/ST Racing and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.”

The post-position draw for the Preakness, originally scheduled Monday, will now be held Tuesday at approximately 4 p.m. at Pimlico Race Course. It can be viewed at

Baffert has denied that Medina Spirit was ever treated with betamethasone, a corticosteroid typically injected into joints to relieve inflammation.

Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are scheduled to leave Churchill Downs Monday afternoon to van to Baltimore, arriving at Pimlico about 3 or 4 Tuesday morning.

Crowded Trade, Risk Taking Due at Pimlico TuesdayTrainer Chad Brown reported Sunday that Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Crowded Trade and Risk Taking emerged well from their five-furlong breezes Saturday and are headed to the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 15.

The Brown trainees worked in company at Belmont Park in 1:01.76, the third-fastest clockings of 18 recorded at the distance. Brown’s horses will ship from Belmont Park to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.

Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Cloud Computing, had announced Friday that Risk Taking would join stablemate Crowded Trade in the Preakness. Crowded Trade was third in the Wood Memorial (G2) in his third career start. Risk Taking finished seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the Wood Memorial after winning the Withers (G3) by 3¾ lengths. He was the morning line-favorite for Saturday’s Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont Park, but owner Seth Klarman opted to scratch from the race and try the $1 million Preakness, which is run around two turns.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the mount on Crowded Trade, while Jose Ortiz has the assignment on Risk Taking.

Rombauer Exits Preakness Breeze in Good Order
Trainer Michael McCarthy reported Sunday morning that his Preakness Stakes (G1) candidate Rombauer came out of his workout Saturday morning at Santa Anita in good shape. The Twirling Candy colt is scheduled to ship from McCarthy’s stable at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.

Rombauer, bred and owned by Diane and John Fradkin, earned a guaranteed berth in the Preakness with his victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 13. In his most recent start, the Kentucky-bred was third in the April 3 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, 5 3/4 lengths behind Essential Quality.  His five-furlong work in 59.80 seconds Saturday was his fourth since the Blue Grass.

Jockey Flavien Prat was up for the work Saturday and will ride Rombauer for the first time in the Preakness.

McCarthy, 50, a longtime assistant to recently elected Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, will make his Triple Crown series debut in the Preakness with Rombauer. He saddled his first starter for his public stable in January 2014.

Unbridled Honor Ready to Go following Preakness Tune-up
Whisper Hill Farm’s homebred Unbridled Honor will ship to Pimlico Race Course from Belmont Park in New York Tuesday for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1), trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday.

Pletcher confirmed that Unbridled Honor looked good the morning after his timed half-mile work in 49.75 seconds Saturday. Unbridled Honor broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 6 in his third career start and has since finished fourth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and second in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland on April 10.

The son of Honor Code will be Pletcher’s 10th Preakness starter. The 1 3/16th-mile classic is the only Triple Crown race missing from the resume of the newly elected member of racing’s Hall of Fame.

Jockey Luis Saez will ride Unbridled Honor for the first time in the Preakness. Saez is taking over from Julien Leparoux, who was up for the gray colt’s last two starts.

Midnight Bourbon Seeking Rebound in Preakness with Good Start
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Midnight Bourbon will try to become the sixth horse in 12 years to win the Preakness (G1) after being beaten in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The colt raced on or near the lead in his prior starts, including taking the Fair Grounds’ Lecomte (G3) and finishing second in the Louisiana Derby (G2). But in the Kentucky Derby, he didn’t get out of the gate cleanly and found himself in 12th and well off the pace. Forced to race wide on both turns, Midnight Bourbon closed to finish sixth.

“We weren’t where we wanted to be, that’s for sure,” Scott Blasi, who runs Steve Asmussen’s Churchill Downs division, said of Midnight Bourbon’s Derby. “But just circumstances: the horse slipped behind and didn’t get away well. At the end of the day, he might actually benefit from taking dirt. There’s plenty of speed in this Preakness. Hopefully he gets away cleaner. It probably adds a new dimension to him, the fact that he made up ground in all that traffic. He didn’t do a lot of running early. I think he’s pretty fresh coming out of it. But I think he fits well with those horses.”

The son of Tiznow galloped Sunday morning at Churchill Downs and is scheduled to have an easy half-mile workout Monday morning before shipping to Pimlico Tuesday.

Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Keepmeinmind (seventh in the Derby) and Christina Baker and William Mack’s Ram, an allowance winner last time out, also had routine gallops Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

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