News and STORIES
First Preakness Stakes Success For Trainer McCarthy, As Rombauer Storms Home
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Monday May 17, 2021
The 146th Preakness Stakes was the big racing action over this past weekend, and there was an emotional win for Rombauer, trained by Michael McCarthy. Racing was in dire need of a feel-good story after much of the build-up was focused on the training on Bob Baffert and the failed drug test of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit.
Despite all the talk off the track, Medina Spirit remained the heavy favorite in the betting for the Preakness. However, he soon faded when put under pressure by Rombauer at Pimlico.
Rombauer Claims Huge Victory
Rombauer was around an 11/1 chance to win the Preakness on Saturday, with many questioning whether his style would be perfect for the course. It turns out his style was more than perfect for the conditions at Pimlico. The three-year-old sat behind the early pace-setters in the early exchanges before making his move down the final stretch. During the early stages, it was Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon that settled quickest. History looked to have been repeating itself for Medina Spirit, as he started the race in a similar way to the Kentucky Derby.
However, the big difference on Saturday was that he didn't have the legs to get back. He eventually finished back in third after fading during the closing stages. Rombauer was the first to sail past the Kentucky Derby winner before Midnight Bourbon also followed suit in the final furlong. The victory was far more comfortable than many would have predicted, as Rombauer finished in the sixth-fastest time of all time. He eventually finished three and a half lengths clear of Midnight Bourbon. It was certainly an emotional win for connections, and the outpouring could be heard in the post-race interview with McCarthy, who claimed this was the biggest win of his career to date.
Emotional Victory For Connections
McCarthy admitted that this victory was the biggest of his career after the race before it was revealed on Sunday that the Preakness Stakes winner is currently' 50-50' to be heading to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks' time. It was also an emotional afternoon trackside, as fans were in attendance after being forced to miss the race at Pimlico last season. Around 10,000 fans were in attendance for the racing, but face masks were compulsory.
McCarthy refused to give too much away when talking about future plans for the Preakness winner, but it is heavily believed that a trip to Belmont could be on the cards at the start of June. The trainer revealed on Sunday that the winning horse was in 'good order' and was 'pleased with himself.' The owners, John and Diane Fradkin, are still unsure whether the Belmont Stakes will be the target for their new hero.
Connections have also refused to rule out a return to turf in the future, but McCarthy did admit that the short-term plan is to stick with life on the dirt. McCarthy certainly looks keen for the Belmont Stakes, which could see a potential re-match with Medina Spirit, who will also be targeting a second Triple Crown success of the season. Fans won't need to wait much longer before finding out the runners for the race at Belmont, as it is due to take place on June 5th in New York.
Declarations for the final Triple Crown race of the season are set to be made over the coming weeks, as decisions for some of the leading contenders could be made as early as this week.