Preakness 2021: Early Predictions Post-Kentucky Derby

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMay 1, 2021

John Velazquez, right, rides Medina Spirit ahead of Florent Geroux aboard Mandaloun to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

With a victory in the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Medina Spirit becomes the latest Triple Crown contender to enter the Preakness Stakes looking to capture the second jewel.

That's likely to make the colt trained by Bob Baffert the odds-on favorite heading to Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course when the Preakness kicks off May 15.

Medina Spirit (+1200, bet $100 to win $1,200) cruised to victory after taking an early lead and finishing by half a length. It's a record-breaking seventh Derby win for Baffert and the fourth victory in the Derby for jockey John Velazquez.

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Medina Spirit is the winner of the @KentuckyDerby! πŸ‡πŸ† Watch the full #KyDerby race from start to finish. #DerbyAtHome NBC Sports // @WhiteClaw https://t.co/cHYh3VgXz8

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Kentucky Derby Final Results

1. Medina Spirit (8)

2. Mandaloun (7)

3. Hot Rod Charlie (9)

4. Essential Quality (14)

Results and odds via NBC broadcast.

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"He doesn't know how much he costs. What a little race horse." Medina Spirit was bought for $1,000 as a yearling. Now, he's a winner of the #KYDerby with 7-time winning trainer Bob Baffert. https://t.co/pEvJFsQwBw

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Baffert owns the last two Triple Crowns with American Pharoah accomplishing the feat in 2015, followed by Justify in 2018. He'll try for a third career Triple Crown this year.

Entering Saturday, 23 horses had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes back-to-back before failing to secure the third jewel at the Belmont Stakes. California Chrome was the last Triple Crown near-miss, taking the first two legs in 2014 before finishing fourth in New York.

Saturday gave Medina Spirit his first victory since taking the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park in January.

That win came less than a month after Medina Spirit finished second at Santa Anita's Sham Stakes.

With an even shorter layoff ahead of the Preakness, Baffert will have to rely on that experience to capture the second jewel.

The field won't be any easier, however.

Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun are likely to wind back up in the Preakness field for a rematch against the Derby champion. Considering his trainer's history, it'll be extremely tough to pick against Medina Spirit. He remains the horse to beat until proven otherwise.

One horse that could upset Baffert's latest contender is Rock Your World, whose odds closed at 9-2 on Saturday before he finished in 17th place.

A disappointing result aside, Rock Your World topped Medina Spirit on April 3 in the Santa Anita Derbyβ€”a race in which Medina Spirit held 4-5 odds on the 1 1/8th-mile track, per Daily Racing Form's Steve Andersen. The Preakness Stakes will see the two battle on a 1 3⁄16-mile track and could provide a path for Rock Your World to top Baffert's Derby winner once again.

O Besos is another colt to watch as he took 41-1 odds into the starting gate Saturday and wound up finishing in fifth.

If Rock Your World, Medina Spirit, Essential Quality and O Besos find themselves lining up against each other again in two weeks, the Preakness will turn into the Run for Revenge after Baffert left Louisville with the roses once more.