Preakness Winner Rombauer may contest Belmont Stakes
Before the 146th Preakness Stakes, the hype focused on the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit and his trainer Bob Baffert, casting the rest of the field into the shadows. When the dust settled, Baffert and Medina Spirit were old news.
Dismissed at odds of 11-1, Rombauer settled between horses in the sixth position behind the blistering early pace set by Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon. Jockey Flavien Pratt pushed the “go” button around the turn, and Rombauer picked off tiring runners. Rombauer was impressive and swept by the tiring front runners to win by 3 1/2 lengths.
Midnight Bourbon outlasted Medina Sprit for second place, and it was four lengths back to fourth place finisher Keepmeinmind.
Rombauer paid $25.60 for the victory and traveled the 1 3/16 miles in 1:53.62 on a fast track.
California trainer Michael McCarthy making his first appearance at Pimlico, was emotional while speaking to NBC’s Kenny Rice.
“I’m so proud of this horse, everybody involved,” “It means a lot to be here and participate on a day like this. I’m happy for the Fradkins [owners]. It just goes to show you that small players in this game can be successful, as well. Hats off to everybody. I wish my family could be here. Fantastic.”
Sunday, things returned to normal at Pimlico Race Course as trainers and horses regrouped. Naturally, thoughts turned towards the June 5th Belmont Stakes.
Back in California, McCarthy had this to say to Ed Golden of Santa Anita Park.
“[Rombauer] seems like he’s in good order this morning. The plans are to head to Belmont [Monday], put a soft circle around the Belmont [on June 5th], monitor how he’s doing and go from there. … I had a sneaking suspicion for the last two weeks that he was ready to run a big race. Any time they jump up and surprise you in the fashion in which he did in the Preakness, it’s kind of hard to put into words.
“But he validated what I thought about him all along. I’m very happy for the [Jack and Diane] Fradkin. It obviously goes to show that a small breeder can achieve success at the highest level. Hopefully, there’s more to the story than just Preakness weekend.”
Belmont Stakes Rematch
According to trainer Steve Asmussen, Preakness Stakes runner-up Midnight Bourbon could have a rematch with Rombauer in the Belmont Stakes. Midnight Bourbon pushed Medina Spirit through solid fractions before being passed late by Rombauer. “Proud of his effort,” said Asmussen, “He had every chance yesterday and he ran second. He’s a good horse who needs to continuously get better.” He added, “but, we have a lot of confidence that he will, pedigree-wise, and who he is physically and the fact that he has continuously improved to this point.”
What about the Kentucky Derby winner?
Jimmy Barnes, Bob Baffert’s longtime assistant, was noncommittal about the chances of Medina Spirit and his stablemate, Concert Tour, who finished ninth in the Preakness, contesting the third leg of the Triple Crown. The horses will head back to Churchill Downs. Barns stated, “We will evaluate everything, and Bob will see what direction he wants to go with them.”