How Will The Medina Spirit Kentucky Derby Controversy Impact 2021 Preakness Stakes Betting?

Garden State gamblers who can access Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore via 4NJ Bets powered by TVG assess conflicting scenarios.

Will Kentucky Derby-winning Medina Spirit run, be withdrawn, or disallowed because of recent action aimed at his trainer Bob Baffert?

Horse betting customers will handicap all possibilities. Post time is 6:48 p.m.

Baffert told the media Sunday that Medina Spirit tested positive for an anti-inflammatory drug in a post-Derby test. He denies the drug was administered.

If a follow-up exam provides similar findings, the Kentucky Derby results would be changed, according to Churchill Downs, site of the Derby.

Mandaloun, who finished second, would become the winner.

Baffert has also been suspended by Churchill Downs, pending a hearing.

He said Medina Spirit would enter the Preakness regardless of the findings, but would that still happen if the Derby title was stripped?

And would Preakness officials deny him entry after taking political cover behind the Maryland Jockey Club statement? Basically, they are reviewing evidence and consulting with the Maryland Race Commission before determining his eligibility.

Denying the Derby winner entry would be a throat-slitting exercise by a track that needs the monstrous Preakness handle to exist.

But it might be plausible given the lack of an innocent-before-being-proven guilty sentiment from the Maryland Jockey Club, which operates Pimlico.

Baffert appears teed up for a fall. Preakness officials will likely gauge political pressure from media and possibly animal rights groups before deciding.

Gamblers won’t be affected as Medina Spirit tickets remain good and Mandaloun bettors can’t collect (although they will be angry).

For bettors, what will this news do to the Preakness.?

Handicappers will study the race one way if Medina Spirit is in, another if he’s not.

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Preakness betting if Medina Spirit is in

He’s the sharpshooter versus a field of “new shooters,” who did not run in the Derby.

This angle sharpened when Medina Spirit’s chief Derby rivals, Mandaloun, Essential Quality, and Hot Rod Charlie, were not entered for this storied event that was first run in 1873.

Medina Spirit tries to add the Preakness to his Kentucky Derby victory and then seek a Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. This one will take place on June 5 in New York. The new shooters have become spoilers on the win line and catalysts for lucrative exacta, trifecta, and superfecta payouts in recent years.

Newcomers likely to get money include:

  • Concert Tour
  • Rombauer
  • Crowded Trade
  • Unbridled Honor
  • France Go de Ina
  • Risk Taking

And that is if they all run. So far, Midnight Bourbon, who ran in the Derby, is confirmed.

Tuesday’s draw will finalize the field.

More on Medina Spirit’s Derby performance

Beyer speed figures released from the Derby chronicle Medina Spirit’s sudden improvement. He shot up to a 102 figure, well ahead of Midnight Bourbon’s 96 from the Derby and the 94 of Concert Tour in the Arkansas Derby.

Beyer speed figures measure a horse’s performance against the track conditions on a given day and the track record at the distance, among other factors.  A Beyer figure over 100 is noteworthy.

Medina Spirit and Concert Tour will be the expected early speed in this 1 3–16-mile showcase. Unbridled Honor, Keep Me in Mind, Rombauer, Risk Taking are expected to run late. They will all get some betting attention.

An early look at the Preakness Stakes field

Medina Spirit’s odds plunge with the absence of Mandaloun.

Medina Spirit crossed up handicappers and provided an excellent Derby payout by fitting a rare trend – winning the Run for the Roses after losing his last race.

However, Rock Your World had not only beat Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby but pulled away after Medina Spirit came up to him around the final turn.

The Derby played out differently. Rock Your World bumped with favorite Essential Quality out of the gate, was shuffled back, and never had a chance.

And Medina Spirit, who gained the early lead, outperformed his chief rivals in the Derby stretch.

So it appears logical he will seek the lead again, perhaps with Concert Tour. The Preakness is 1-16 of a mile shorter than the Derby. Speed will be significant.

Preakness winners often run close to the lead early.

Concert Tour baffles his backers.

He was outrun decisively in the homestretch at the Arkansas Derby by Super Stock, whom he’d beaten in the Rebel Stakes. But Medina Spirit has just proven that a horse’s last race can be forgotten.

Concert Tour also comes from the Bob Baffert barn. Will Baffert horses produce a 1-2 result?

Midnight Bourbon is another one to watch. He obtained a reasonable Kentucky Derby sixth-place finish and is looking like the third favorite this week.

What if Medina Spirit is out?

Concert Tour might be, too.

Revert to the depleted 2019 Preakness and elevate the “new shooters.”

Country House won the Derby after disqualification to initial winner Maximum Security but developed a medical problem the week of the Preakness and ended up not racing.

Plus, Maximum Security’s handlers had already removed him from the Preakness.

The race became a veritable Who’s Not Whom but paid very well.

Newcomer Everfast finished second at 22-1, Owendale was third at 7-1, and Warrior’s Charge finished fourth at 12-1. They came in behind War of Will, the 6-1 winner.

The payout was enormous. The $1 superfecta returned $51,924 and the $1 trifecta was $4,700.

A race key was 5-2 favorite Improbable running out of the money.

The ’17 race also provided bettors with a good return.

Newcomer Cloud Computing triumphed at 13-1. Derby graduate Classic Empire was second at 2-1, Senior Investment was third at 30-1 and Lookin at Lee came home fourth at 9-1.

The $1 trifecta paid $1,097 and the $1 superfecta returned $8,162. Derby winner Always Dreaming running out of the money was key.

Last year, newcomer Swiss Skydiver at 11-1 became the sixth filly to win the Preakness.

Favored Derby-winning Authentic was second and 40-1 1 shot Jesus’ Team finished third to complete a $1 trifecta for $1,205. The $1 superfecta with 2-1 choice Art Collector in fourth paid $5,053.

Regardless of the Medina Spirit saga, some longshots will likely run well this year.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.