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Opening Preakness Stakes Odds Favor Medina Spirit at +225 Odds

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing

May 5, 2021 · 10:40 AM PDT

Medina Spirit
John Velazquez riding Medina Spirit crosses the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
  • The Triple Crown continues on May 15 in Baltimore with the Preakness Stakes
  • Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is the early favorite
  • How can you bet now and create value later on in The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans

Bob Baffert is horse racing’s Bill Belichick. When Medina Spirit won Saturday’s Kentucky Derby it was Baffert’s record-setting seventh Run for the Roses triumph. He has done it with big favorites and significant upsets. With pricey horses and some with modest breeding. He has had his fair share of controversy too. Guess what? He is just as good at the Preakness Stakes.

Baffert will send out Medina Spirit, and possibly others, in Baltimore in two Saturdays seeking a record eighth win in the Preakness. The big question at this juncture is who else will run. Frequently horses that lost the Derby opt-out of the Preakness and are then more fresh for the Belmont Stakes on the first Saturday in June.

Several top contenders in Louisville have good reason to be supported if they run at Pimlico. Let’s check the early Preakness Stakes odds and discuss who merits consideration for a wager.

2021 Preakness Stakes Odds

Horse Odds at Bet365
Medina Spirit +225
Concert Tour +300
Mandaloun +300
Caddo River +550
O Besos +800
Rombauer +1000
Tarantino +1600
Crowded Trade +1600
France Go De Ina +2500

Odds as of May 5

In addition to having just beaten many of the top three-year-olds, another reason the Kentucky Derby winner is intriguing in future betting at the Preakness Stakes is the very strong chance he will participate.

We know that the third-place finisher in Louisville, Hot Rod Charlie, will not run in Baltimore. Derby favorite and fourth-place finisher Essential Quality is also out. Several others are on the fence. Will Mandaloun run? What about Midnight Bourbon? Who opts in or out will make a major difference in the odds.

There will be new shooters in Baltimore too. Will Baffert run Concert Tour? He seems to be leaning strongly in that direction, but does he want to compete against himself? Caddo River was headed to the Derby before a change in plans. He is likely to try the Preakness. How does that change the pace of the race?

The Preakness is a-mile-and-three-sixteenths, half a furlong shorter than the Kentucky Derby. Pimlico has always been know for tight corners, which often benefits front runners. That said, those tentatively running seem to have more early speed than in Kentucky.

The last two years the Preakness has produced decent prices. Filly Swiss Skydiver won at +1100 last year, and War of Will triumphed at +600 in 2019. Four of the prior five years the favorite prospered.

Let’s look at some of the top options, and consider if they make for a worthwhile wager.

The Favorite: Medina Spirit

It really is remarkable that a horse who once sold for $1,000 won the Kentucky Derby in an industry where seven figures with dreams of winning the roses are normal. Medina Spirit looked the part consistently in Southern California, but he was far from Baffert’s top Derby choice until injuries and poor performances left him no other choices.

In six career races Medina Spirit has won three and finished second on a trio of occasions. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has won the Derby four times but never finished first in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Top Contenders: Mandaloun, Concert Tour, Caddo River

At a price, Mandaloun was a tremendous value at Churchill Downs. While he just missed the roses, it really only took tossing out his one clunker to give him a legitimate shot.

Trainer Brad Cox thought his best Derby option was Essential Quality, but Mandaloun came even closer to winning at Churchill Downs, only a couple of blocks from where he grew up. A winner of three out of six races he will not be overlooked in Baltimore.

Concert Tour was unbeaten entering the Arkansas Derby but ran a mediocre third and Baffert decided to give him a little time off and point for the Preakness. A son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Concert Tour didn’t debut until January. He won his first three races.

What happened in Arkansas? Did tougher competition trouble him, or was it too much too soon? He has the look of a horse that may benefit from that extra time off. In fact, he looks like Mandaloun. We all have bad days. No reason a rebound isn’t likely.

Caddo River will be Cox’s other entrant at Pimlico. The speedster won January’s Smarty Jones Stakes.

Since that victory Caddo River has finished fifth in the Rebel Stakes and was the runner up in the Arkansas Derby. At the very least he’ll be a pace factor trying to keep Medina Spirit honest early.

Longshot: France Go de Ina

Are you looking for an outside-the-box contender? France Go de Ina was bred in Kentucky, ran the first three races of his career in Japan, and his only start this year came in Dubai.

It is hard to know what to make of that sixth-place performance in a $2.5 million race. He won two of three in Japan, where the racing is generally pretty decent. His father, Will Take Charge, won the Travers Stakes, and grandfather Curlin won the Preakness, Dubai World Cup, and Breeders Cup Classic.

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